Digital Distraction Overdrive

Robert Plotkin, guest blogger, will be giving a workshop as part of Radius's "Hack Your Mind" series on Thursday, March 12 at 12noon in 66-168.

According to a recent study, the average person gets about 63 notifications a day. That’s a lot of distractions.

When it comes to tech, notifications are the #1 culprit for distractions. That pleasing little ping sound that chimes from your phone is difficult to resist, but when it goes off once every few minutes it becomes a dangerous barrier between you and your goals and happiness.

So, what do you do about it?

There are several things you can do to better manage the notifications you’re getting across all your devices.

Here’s a 4-step process for managing your notifications effectively:

  1. Review your notifications: Start by deleting any apps you don’t need that are pushing out notifications, both on your phone and computer.
  2. Cut back on unnecessary notifications: What other apps exist that are sending notifications you really don’t need? Maybe you want to keep the app, but the notifications are nothing but distractions. Turn off notifications for these.
  3. Centralize notifications: Are you getting notifications for one app/program/platform on multiple devices? Choose which device you’d prefer to receive the notifications on and turn off notifications on the other.
  4. Pause notifications during work or important personal/family hours: For the remaining notifications you’d like to keep, turn them off during important times in the day when you don’t want to be interrupted, such as the first several hours of each workday and in the evening when you’re with family.

Try these out and see what works best for you.  Even following one of these steps can significantly cut down on distractions from your smartphone and help improve your focus throughout your day.


Robert is a patent attorney specializing in software patents for over 20 years and is the founder of Technology for Mindfulness, an organization that helps people to be less distracted by technology in order to be more focused, productive, creative, and happy.  Robert is also a member of the Radius Steering Committee.