Whether we like to admit it or not, tasks and notifications at work will not stop. However, according to one University, they’ve found a way to manage our horror.



Often, when I work too much (which is often), I seek respite. An oasis, or a particularly dense part of the forest within. Anywhere where the ceaseless barrage of notifications, jobs and pointless tasks that suddenly need doing cannot reach me. It is, for all intents and purposes, Chinese water torture, dressed in an oxford shirt soundtracked to the call of a harmless bell.

Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Stopppp.

Slight departure here, but I believe on-job tasks should come with some sort of bonus, much in the same way a sandwich shop rewards you for your loyalty. Doesn’t even need to be that big, something like thirty joined seconds of peace in honour of the 45th task you’ve completed today. Something has to give. They give rodents cheese for completing tasks. Where’s our cheese? Where?

Until that social seismic shift occurs, I’ll just do what I’ve been doing, and switch my phone over to aeroplane mode to soar in the rarified air of sweet sweet peaceful procrastination. Taste it. Mmm. Cloudy.

However, according to one study, I’m no longer allowed to do that, as it believes (and I believe my boss may have written it) that managing stress by ignoring the source (i.e. turning off your notifications), is very bad indeed.

What Duke University believes we need re-education. Re-education in notification management, which both sounds like a meeting that should be an email/something you’d pad a resume with. Nevertheless, we should pay attention because the high waves of fragmental notifications will drown us if our mental stroke is lacking.

Nick Fitz, representative of the Duke boys promoted an alternate theory, believing that the same amount of notifications is manageable, but releasing them at regimented hours of the day would better benefit everyone.

To prove it, Fitz put together a study.

Over the duration, they tested a control group (who could check their phones normally) against one group who received their notifications at the top of each hour versus another that received three batches of notifications over the workday.

Prior to the test, everyone felt that report that phone notifications make them feel stressed, unhappy, interrupted, and non-productive.

That held true for the study control group, as did those who received notifications once an hour. However, it seems the group that received three batches of notifications seemed to be the group to be in, with people feeling more productive, positive, and in control. It was the porridge that was jussst right.

Which, and let’s be real here. Lower your hand at the monthly meeting, mister. Everyone’s business moves at a rapid clip whatever it happens to be, so getting notifications every eight hours will not do. However, if the absolutely critical messages get their own VIP line, and the rest of the everyday dreck falls into the other, I think we might be onto something here…something that doesn’t leave you dreaming of the ledge that overlooks that courtyard you are no longer allowed to smoke in.



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