Let's face it: gadgets are wicked cool these days. There are thousands—nay, millions—of apps, and each one is usually clever, useful, or fun. Is that a good thing? I think so, but as I'm sure you've been told—with great power comes great responsibility.

With a smartphone in hand, you or I could go almost anywhere—and do almost anything—while keeping in touch with family, colleagues, and friends.

With few exceptions, I could run my entire business from my Samsung Galaxy S4.

I like my gadgets as much as the next guy, but with each app, widget, and feature comes a new array of buzzes, rings, and flashing lights.

I didn't realize this for months—and you may not realize it even now—but the cost of those notifications is high.

Loss of Focus

As long as notifications are enabled, and your phone is kept nearby, there's no guarantee you can focus on a given project or task at one time.

It's easy to fall into the habit of multitasking or lose your train of thought while responding to a Facebook alert.

Loss of Priorities

When your notifications are on, that's a message to the world that their needs will come before yours.

No matter how intentional you are about priorities and routine, those can quickly be derailed by distracting updates, emails, and tweets.

“When your actions are reactive—rather than proactive—is when your task lists never get done.”

The Alternative

For a couple of months now, I've been living with (almost) no notifications on my phone.

I keep notifications on for calls and texts from those close to me, but everything else is set to silent.

Joel Gascione did the same, and his experience has been a lot like mine. At first, I checked my phone almost constantly, ensuring I hadn't missed anything important. In time, I realized it all could wait and read email, Facebook posts, and tweets when worked best for me.

“Tangible freedom from the online world allows you to direct how your time is spent.”

You can benefit from the use and freedom of a mobile phone, without subjecting yourself to bombardment from each app that you install.

You have a choice here, you control the stimulants in your life.

I encourage you to give this a try—disable notifications in each app on your phone, and enjoy the silence and focus that comes with that decision.

Can you think of a time when notifications have disrupted your life?

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