Today, I’d like you to pay attention to the notifications you get while you read this post. If you don’t get any, consider yourself lucky. In the time it’s taken me to write these sentences, my phone has already vibrated twice. You might not think much of it, but the interruptions add up and can have a negative impact on your life. Oh, and there’s a name for it too: Notification Overload.

What can we do about notification overload?

Luckily, modern devices allow us a lot more control over notifications than you might be aware of. Here are a couple of examples of steps you can take to avoid notification overload:

1. Limit the apps that send you notifications

We all have a multitude of apps on our devices, but let’s be honest, do you really need those notifications from Candy Crush? Identify which apps you absolutely need notifications from and disallow all others. This way you can ensure that you’re only notified when it’s something important.

2. Use “Do Not Disturb” to set a window for notifications

Another trick is to limit when you can receive notifications. That way, during your “do not disturb” hours, you can do whatever it is you need to without getting distracted. When exactly this time frame is, is entirely up to you. Maybe you want to receive notifications only during work hours, or perhaps the exact opposite. Try it out and see what works for you.

3. Leverage notification batching

One problem a lot of people have with the “do not disturb” feature mentioned above is that they feel like they’re missing out on notifications. There is a best of both worlds solution to this problem. It’s called notification batching.

There are apps available on both iOS and Android that can be configured to send you notifications on a set schedule. They intercept all of the notifications that you would have received during a certain time frame and send them all at once as soon as they’re allowed to.

Numerous studies like this one have been done around notification batching. Participants of these studies have been found to be happier, more productive, and less stressed than the control groups. Try it out and see the benefits for yourself.

4. Get the right tools for the job

Notification batching apps aren’t the only apps that can ease your cognitive load. Here are a couple more options:

  • Shift – Shift connects all of your email accounts and apps in one place, so you don’t have to go looking for notifications anymore.
  • Spark – Spark reduces the noise by only notifying you about emails from people that you know. Reclaim your space for creativity and get peace of mind. I currently use Spark as my go-to email client and I love it.

5. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read

We’ve all found ourselves subscribed to too many newsletters we never read. If you find yourself frequently dismissing notifications from a newsletter but not actually taking the team to read it, it’d be better to unsubscribe instead. It takes more time in the short term to go unsubscribe, but in the long term you save on never having to get notified needlessly again.

Take back control

Notifications are a double-edged sword. They keep you informed, but too many can have a negative effect on your well-being. Most people suffer in silence or don’t realize the effect notification overload has on them. I hope the tips provided above will help you take back control over your notifications so you can enjoy a happier, more stress-free life.