In March 2013 I turned off all notifications on my phone, tablet, and computer. In May of that year I went one step further and closed most applications that would keep me distracted and only opened them when I wanted to.
To this day the only notifications I get on my devices are for SMS and calendar events. I do not allow any other applications to send notifications.
Jeremy Keith recently wrote “My phone is a tool that I control, not the other way around.”
Many are saying that the Apple Watch was made, in part, to help us be less distracted but in reality it will make it easier for us to be distracted.
It is true that with an Apple Watch you’ll see notifications that you receive much quicker than needing to fumble around with your phone. A quick glance at your watch and you’ll know who is calling you, as an example. Responding to notifications should be easier too. However, if there was any feeling or desire not to be rude that held you back from checking your phone while you were talking to your friend, that feeling or desire may be lessened or altogether removed with the Apple Watch because it will be so quick and easy to check it.
The issue is that any notification, for any reason, will pull your mind and attention away from whomever you’re talking to no matter what device you read it on.
Let’s say you’re talking with a friend and they are pouring their heart out to you about a personal issue. You’re trying to empathize with them and maybe even provide a bit of advice. Suddenly your watch taps you on the wrist and the message on the face is from your significant other and it reads “I can’t believe you.” Whether you pulled out your phone or read that message on your wrist — how much attention will your friend really be getting after reading that message? Your mind will be swirling, you won’t be able to focus.
While I think the Apple Watch is a really cool and useful device I do not see it cutting down on distractions at all. Turning off all notifications does though. I know that for a fact.