How to Snooze Notifications and Avoid App Overload
Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and email. After walking my dogs this morning, I counted back to see exactly how many apps I used whilst I was “clearing my head.”
Taking a break from work is important. Once I counted past these 4, I decided that I was suffering from notification overload.
Allan Kohll in Forbes suggested we’ve forgotten the importance of the long lost break. Some stats that he shares include:
- 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular breaks
- 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take a break
- 22% of North American bosses say that employees who take regular breaks are less hardworking
The importance of breaks, downtime and genuinely having time off – not booking a holiday and working through it – is crucial to productivity and work-life balance.
Here are some methods that work for me. You should try them over the holiday break if you think you are suffering from app overload.
Snooze Slack notifications
At Mio, it’s really important to use Slack’s snooze feature.
We have people in the US, UK, and Russia so we often work in different time zones.
By turning on snooze notifications, everybody is able to get a good night’s sleep without being disrupted by Slack channel messages and DMs. To have an uninterrupted holiday, give it a try.
Set your Slack status
An accurate Slack status can lead to a peaceful holiday period. Just because you are vacationing, doesn’t mean everyone in your organization is.
By setting your Slack status to reflect your true status, people are less like to send you a message or mention you in a channel.
Turn on Cisco Webex preset DND
Cisco Webex enables you to turn on Do Not Disturb for a preset amount of time.
DND is a massively underused feature because people are wary they might leave it on for too long.
Using the preset DND for the holiday period means your status becomes available at the time you preset.
Cisco Webex notifications filter
Cisco Webex allows you to create set criteria for specific notifications to be enabled.
This allows you to only be notified for your own personally curated content.
Switch to the notifications filter to see just the spaces with a new activity that match your notifications criteria.
Sign out of guest Microsoft Teams accounts
It’s not just colleagues that message us at unwanted times.
Even if the expectation of your customer or supplier is for you to respond when you are back in the office, often the guilt of an unread message means you check it and reply anyway.
This is completely the wrong thing to do.
Once you respond, that is the signal that you are available and working. If you are a guest on other Microsoft Teams accounts, try signing out of all the guest accounts this holiday season.
This shows clear intent that you are not available until you sign back in on Monday morning.
Turn off banners and emails in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams has a neat notifications settings area.
Here, you can turn off all, none or selected notifications.
If you are waiting for a specific reply in chat, you can choose to keep chat notifications on but mute everything else while you enjoy your time off.
Just sign out
With every messaging app, you have the ability to sign out. This is your cue to start your vacation and enjoy some downtime.
If you choose to leave notifications on via email, you don’t need to be signed into apps like Microsoft Teams to know if anything important is happening or you’ve been messaged.
Through customization of settings, clear statuses and perfecting your DND options, you can just sign out.
Use Gmail snooze for less email interruptions
If you’re a heavy Gmail user, this feature might come in handy.
Launched in 2018, Gmail Snooze allows users to delay the time at which emails appear in their inbox, which means you can stagger the flow of your incoming mail to a rate that suits you.
You can manage incoming messages so when your inbox is filling up fast, a defined amount of messages can be set to “snooze” and appear later.
rightinbox does highlight one disadvantage, however…
“The only danger of the Snooze feature is that if it’s overused, the problem of a busy inbox isn’t necessarily solved. Instead, users could wind up creating a never-ending build-up of messages that are never attended to.”David Campbell, rightinbox
You can read more about Gmail snooze below.
Remove email from your phone
I do this daily as I have multiple email accounts. If there is a better way to do this then please leave a comment.
I often need to check back at my calendars for non-work events.
It’s still handy to see the events I have in my work life so I don’t double book.
By removing just the mail and keeping my contacts and calendars, I can manage my calendar without being distracted by work emails.
Often, we find ourselves dealing with multiple messaging apps.
This can be both the source and solution to our app overload problem.
The cause of app overload is usually down to having to install all these apps to please everybody.
If your developers use Slack, your sales team prefers Microsoft Teams and you opt for Cisco Webex then you probably have them all on your laptop and your phone. And who doesn’t still use email?
As Slack CTO, Cal Henderson pointed out at Web Summit, email is never going to die completely.
“Email is never going to die completely. Long-term, it is the cockroach of the internet. Nobody likes it but it is impossible to eradicate. Email addresses will be around indefinitely.”
Just counting these few messaging apps, we’re up to eight interruptions during a time that should be spent with your loved ones.
As you don’t have time to make any changes to your technology stack, utilize these tips and enjoy some downtime.