Why I quit notifications and you should too

Mathilde Collin,

CEO & Co-founder at Front

6 May 20220 min read

No email, instant message, or other dings to distract me. Just my calendar so I know where I need to be.

Here is something that has happened far too often: I’m plugging away at a project — maybe it’s a pitch deck, a proposal, or a Medium post — and I’m feeling super productive when “ding” a notification pops up on my screen or phone.

“Hey Mathilde, this isn’t urgent, but when you get a sec would you mind sending me that report you mentioned in our meeting earlier?”

This message is important to me. I want to make sure this person has the information they need to do their job well. But did they really need my answer immediately? Did the question warrant interrupting me from my deep work? Work that research shows will take me another 25 minutes to get back into?

Unfortunately, this scenario is probably not that hard for you to imagine because it happens to you several times a day. In fact, in a survey Front commissioned, we found that a third of workers were interrupted 10 or more times per day. And these same people reported extremely high levels of stress at work.

This is why I quit notifications. No email, instant message, or other dings to distract me. Just my calendar so I know where I need to be. Taking control of my day in this way has made me far more efficient, helped me focus for longer periods of time, and reduce the stress that comes with feeling like I’m constantly being pulled in different directions.

Over time, I only become more passionate about how profound an impact such a simple change can make on your life. So I challenged my team at Front to quit their notifications for a week. What started as anxiety and FOMO became clear, calm, productivity as people found themselves suddenly able to get so much more done.

I started asking my peers if they did this too and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Dave Morin, Elad Gil, and Laura Behrens-Wu among others have been doing this for years. I also got Alexis Ohanian and Andrew Chen to pledge to disable all their notifications too.

Will you join us in taking the #NoNotifications challenge?

I am obsessed with efficiency. As a founder and CEO, as well as someone that really appreciates the value of sleep 😴, I need to get the most out of every hour in the day. Reducing notifications is just one of the ways I make my days more efficient.

This drive for efficiency is also part of what inspired me to start Front. And as it turns out, Front helps each person on a team save 6 hours a week. You can start thinking about what you would do with 6 more hours in your week 😀

Written by Mathilde Collin

Originally Published: 15 October 2018

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