It seems everything digital wants to notify us, and it’s easy to gather a whole host of tiresome notifications accidentally. My advice is to default to turning off all notifications, with a few exceptions.


I do allow those notifications that are consistently useful and not made redundant by other habits or reminders. For instance, I check my email at least once a day, and do not need to be notified of each email as it comes in. When my job required closer attention, I set up my work email to notify me and kept my personal email silent.


I also recommend keeping only the recreational notifications that consistently make you happy. If a notification tends to bring you frustration, disappointment, or boredom, even the good things from that notification will bring less joy. (For a more detailed discussion of this topic, I recommend this excellent article.)


You may feel guilty about turning off notifications, or you may feel guilty about needing notifications. Perhaps someone else wakes without an alarm or doesn’t need a reminder to eat lunch. But there is nothing to be ashamed of in using notifications. Perhaps, like myself, you have ADHD and therefore have trouble sensing the passage of time. Perhaps your schedule varies due to fluctuating health, making it difficult to settle into a routine. Or perhaps it’s simply easier to be reminded. This is not cheating: it’s using a powerful tool wisely. Make your phone your ally, not your burden.

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