When we really need to focus it would be ideal if we could seal ourselves in a bubble and work distraction free. In the real world however distractions abound. Cut down on lost productivity by switching off visual alerts.
At the University of Cardiff researchers have been studying the effects of workplace distractions. They found that when a visual alert indicated a change to the user—an instant message blinking, an email notice box popping up, etc.—the user took longer to refocus on the task at hand because they cause you to divert your gaze from your work to the alert. The solution for notifications you need or want to receive but would prefer to not be distracted by? Use an audio alert instead of a visual one:
"Auditory stimuli tend to be processed relatively automatically, allowing the worker to continue and consolidate [their]place in the current activity before switching to the interrupting task," she told TopTenREVIEWS.
If you have to use a visual notification, then keep it as small and discreet and possible, Hodgetts added. And if possible, set it to disappear after a few seconds if you don't respond to it.
Have your own tips or tricks for receiving information and alerts without being driven to distraction by them? Let's hear about it in the comments.