May 06, 2012, 7:40 AM — Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and other social networks help you stay connected with friends and family, but it's easy to overdo the connecting and end up distracted and unproductive. Worse, many social networks notify you every time someone tries to interact with you, making it even harder to concentrate on productive tasks. Turning these helpful reminders off can be tricky in some instances, but setting up a way to tune out mobile and e-mail notifications is well worthwhile. Here's how to stop your social networks from distracting you, so you can get your working life back on track. And don't worry--you can still peek at your Twitter page once in a while.
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Silence Your Smartphone
The most disruptive and intrusive notifications in my life are the push notifications that my smartphone reports from various apps and social networks. Though I was initially excited to have access to push notifications, I quickly turned them off for almost all of my apps so that I could avoid being pestered by updates that tended to be pretty trivial. The process for turning off mobile notifications varies slightly from OS to OS, but it's usually not too complicated.
Your best bet with an Android phone is to open the offending app, press the Menu key, locate the messaging settings under that menu, and select the apps that you'd like to turn off notifications for. Unfortunately, if you want to kill all of your push notifications, you'll have to do it manually in each app.
Silencing your notifications on an iOS 5 device is both easier and more obtuse, as you'll need to navigate to Settings, Notifications to make the modifications. From there, select an app and set the 'Alert Style' to None. Once again, you'll need to go app by app to turn off all alerts; but they're all in one menu, so it shouldn't take much time--and blocking incessant alerts will help you avoid hours of lost productivity.
Mute Your Inbox
Once you've muffled your mobile devices' alerts, you can turn your attention to removing annoying auto-updates from your email account. Turning off email notifications from Facebook and Twitter is a simple (albeit somewhat time-consuming) matter of finding and editing your notification settings in each service.