Skip to content

Don't Fall Victim to a False Sense of Urgency

Undoubtedly, you spend a lot of the day in the presence of your laptop and mobile phone; you may also have a tablet to hand. However, many of our apps today can introduce a false sense of urgency and increase anxiety levels for no legitimate reason - I'm talking about notifications.

Take messaging apps, like Slack, Teams, and WhatsApp. These apps do a great job of alerting you to new direct and group messages. You've all been in the zone when suddenly your laptop, phone, and tablet all begin to sing with the harmony of Stellenbosch University Choir (FYI - #1 ranked choir in the world), causing you to spring to attention. The perception of urgency has snared you, resulting from leaving app notifications at their default settings. You break from what you are doing, thinking it must be something critical; you get that spike of anxiety, only to find out it's an old cat meme from Simon in IT.

Your apps' simultaneous nudging builds a false sense of urgency that can disrupt your productivity and time management and sway your mental health.

So, do yourself a huge favor. Turn off notifications on phones and tablets when you don't need them; if you're getting them while working on your laptop, you really don't need them. If you extend this rule beyond work apps, you'll find that you have many app notifications that you instantly dismiss, so why not turn them off, or why not delete the app altogether?

Remember, apps (and notifications) are supposed to be helpful to the user - nothing more.