Bright Shiny Objects

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Nothing kills business productivity quite like a bright shiny object. If your goal is more focus in 2018, eliminating digital distractions is a great place to start. Here at Leverage Unlimited, we serve as the catalyst to help organizations transform in the face of industry disruption. When it comes to your personal technology, you have the power to eliminate distraction at the source, starting with those annoying notifications on your devices. 

While meeting with a Jacksonville business leader last week our conversation was interrupted by the sound of chimes. Each of us reached for our devices. It was the new smartwatch she received as a gift. Picking up where we left off was a challenge. It took a few moments, but we laughed and carried on with our conversation. It was as if we accepted the interruption as inevitable. So why do we allow digital distraction? If you've been a victim of device disruption, it's time to eliminate the device bright shiny object.

You Have Mail

New devices and Apps each start with a 4-alarm fire notification level. It's by design. Like a roomful of classic cuckoo clocks, they all go off at the same time. You don't know which App or device needs to be silenced. When it happens in a meeting, it's unproductive and unprofessional, but it's an easy fix.  

I discovered two ways to manage notification settings. The first method is to create a comprehensive list of all the Apps on each device, then chose which ones to leave on or turn off. The second method I discovered when I realized just how much time it would take to complete the first method. Here is my recommendation.

Scorched Earth Method

Turn off ALL your device notifications. Yes, all of them. Somewhere in each device is a settings menu with an item for Notifications. Navigate there and set all the options to off. Enjoy the rest of your day in total bliss. You will soon experience a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). If you must, check your device. Congratulations. You have just become the master of your digital domain. 

Slowly over the course of a few days, feel free to reset the notifications that you simply can't do without. Follow up by exploring the various notification options. Choose sound or vibrate if it makes sense in your environment. Set the screen display to flash momentarily or persist until you choose to clear the notification. In no time your associates will be calling you the device-whisperer.

Once you've gained control of your device notifications, explore the options available for each App. Start with your calendar. The default reminder is 10 minutes. Just enough time for you to realize you're going to arrive 10 minutes late. Don't forget to choose how the reminder is delivered. I've found out of office meetings require a 30-minute reminder delivered to my phone with sound and vibrate. The perfect way to ensure NBL (Never be late).

Multi-device Method

Have you ever watched a multi-device user play Wack-a-mole attempting to silence all their devices at once? While you are on your journey to notification nirvana, consider switching the notification settings for your primary device to On, and Off for the rest of your devices. I recommend starting with a smartwatch or smartphone, the device you have with you at all times.

Bonus Round

This final tip is the bomb for increasing your productivity and velocity. Decide in advance your default action when you receive a notification. Eliminate the deer-in-headlights reaction to an alarm. For a calendar reminder, will you simply silence the alarm and arrive late, or will you get up immediately and get to the meeting?

I hope this brings you value. If it does, consider sharing it with those associates who attend the same meetings. Imagine how quickly the meeting would end if no one's phone went off in the middle of the meeting. 

May your day be Just Another Day In Paradise | JADIP