Stress from Phone Notifications


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There are multiple notifications coming in on your phone, including ones from a pizza company, social media, and a family WhatsApp group. These notifications can be distracting and disrupt your focus. Even the presence of your phone, whether it is making noise or not, can be enough to divert your attention. It is important to find ways to regain focus and avoid distractions, while still being able to attend to important matters.

Is it a big deal?

The frequency of notifications on your phone can have a significant impact on your attention and productivity. On average, a person checks their phone around 85 times per day, or approximately once every 15 minutes. This means that every 15 minutes, your attention may be pulled away from what you are currently doing. It can take several minutes to fully regain focus after being interrupted by a notification. While distractions may not be a major issue in certain situations, such as while watching TV, they can have serious consequences in other contexts, such as driving, studying, working, or spending time with loved ones.

Notifications on your phone, or “pings,” are external interruptions that come from outside sources. These interruptions can cause a feeling of excitement, similar to the pleasure that gamblers may feel at the sight or sound of a slot machine. This type of conditioning can occur quickly and can be difficult to resist.

Even if your phone is on silent, it can still be a source of distractions. This is known as an internal, or endogenous, interruption. It can be difficult to resist the urge to check your phone, even when you are in the middle of a task, because you may have become conditioned to expect a reward every time you look at it. These impulses can be strong and may even be triggered simply by reading about checking your phone. This is why it can be challenging to avoid distractions, even when your phone is not making noise.

Notifications on your phone can negatively affect productivity, concentration, and well-being. Studies have shown that heavy smartphone users may be more sensitive to push notifications and have more difficulty recovering their concentration after an interruption compared to lighter users. These interruptions can also cause stress and feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out). In addition, if you get distracted by your phone and procrastinate on returning to a task, you may feel guilty or frustrated. Using your phone in unproductive ways for an extended period of time may also lower your overall well-being.

How can we stop this?

Turning your phone to silent may not be enough to eliminate distractions and interruptions. To make lasting changes in your phone usage habits, you may need to make an effort to modify your behavior. This can be challenging, and it may take multiple attempts to see results. To reduce the number of times you check your phone, you can start by turning off nonessential notifications. You can also try the following strategies:

  1. To avoid disruptions to your sleep, you can charge your phone overnight in a room other than your bedroom. Notifications can prevent you from falling asleep and can wake you up repeatedly throughout the night, which can disrupt your sleep and affect your overall health and well-being. By keeping your phone in a different room, you can reduce the likelihood of being awoken by notifications.
  2. One way to reduce the frequency of phone checks is to interrupt the impulse to check and actively consider whether it will be beneficial in the current moment. For example, when you feel the urge to pick up your phone, you can pause and ask yourself if the action serves a purpose other than providing a distraction. This can help you make more mindful decisions about your phone usage and limit unnecessary checks.
  3. To maintain focus on a task, you can try using the Pomodoro method. This involves dividing your concentration time into manageable intervals, such as 25 minutes, and then taking short breaks, during which you can check your phone, between intervals. You can gradually increase the length of time between breaks to help you sustain your attention on a task for longer periods. If you are someone who frequently checks your phone, it may take some time to gradually re-learn how to sustain your attention on a task.
Vic Gonzales III
Vic Gonzales III
Vicente F. Gonzales III is a professional SEO specialist and a digital marketer. He also happens to be an accomplished content writer, website designer and digital strategist. Vicente's clients love him for his unwavering dedication to their success, as well as his witty, intelligent demeanor. When he's not helping businesses achieve their online marketing goals, Vicente can be found reading up on the latest SEO trends or spending time with his wife and two sons.



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