Why do we allow everything to notify us? We're letting devices decide what needs out attention- this is exactly the opposite of how our minds have evolved.
Think about a cave man- there was nothing beeping at them to say the fire was ready to cook on, or to remember to collect some water. In a way life forced you to keep your mind in order and remember things.
These days it feels like the exact opposite it happening. There is a beep, buzz or popup for everything. There is a theory that it all started with the alarm clock. Gone are the days of letting yourself wake up when your body decides it is the right time and I don't think we've looked back since.
These days everything is at war for our attention. Let's talk about some examples:
You're working, maybe even deep in thought about a problem and suddenly, the washing machine starts beeping to say that its done. Is that beep worth the interruption. Did you need to know right then and there that the washing was done? Are you now no longer in deep thought about the problem and wondering how long you can leave the washing in before you need to run it again? Which is more important?
You're busy having a conversation with somebody- in person and you're both really engaged and solving the world's problems. Now your phone starts ringing. Irrespective of if you answer it or now, the flow of conversation is broken. You inevitably have to go back to it and say, what was I saying- you may have even completely lost your train of thought- was it worth it? What if it isn't a call and just a ding about a message- how much of your attention is now on the message and who it is from and what it says?
And finally- you're reading a book. You've carved out the time in your day and intentionally made the decision that it is worthwhile reading. How many devices do you have that are able to take your undivided attention away from the book. Maybe its a light blinking in your periphery telling you it needs to be charged. Maybe its your smart watch that has a icon saying that your phone has unread messages- the list is endless.
I hope that I've made my point. I really think we should give our minds a rest and let our attention wonder to the things it wants to wander to- that is where real creativity happens in my opinion. The fact the silencing notifications and turning them off is often deliberately hard speaks volumes to the fact that they work and affect the usage of the app and hence the company's bottom line.
Put another way- our attention is now monitizable- we should keep tight control over where we choose to spend the valulable comodity and what is able to direct this attention elsewhere.