New Productivity Study Suggests Ditching Visual Alerts

Growl notifications, alert add-ons for Firefox and for the desktop, and other tools can all help you keep on top of goings-on in your digital world by displaying visual cues whenever new activity appears on your social networks, email, or other web apps. A new study, however, indicates that these tools might not be helping you at all. In fact, they could be seriously hamstringing your productivity.

The intrusive things that can affect your ability to get work done include instant message alerts, according to the study, which was conducted by Helen Hodgetts at the University of Cardiff in the UK. Even, apparently, if you only give these things a moment of your attention before returning to your primary task, you still lose a fairly significant amount of potentially productive time over the course of a day. Read More about New Productivity Study Suggests Ditching Visual Alerts

Work Smarter Using iPhone Push Notifications

iPhone OS 3.0 brings a lot of new features to the table, but I could’ve easily gone on living without all of them, copy and paste included, except for push notifications. Push is the killer feature that elevates the iPhone platform to a whole new level of usability, both as a standalone device, and as a piece of companion hardware to your existing workstation setup.

The iPhone has taken the place of an entire screen in my current home office configuration, freeing up a whole display for more productive use. Here’s a breakdown of the apps that make this possible, and how I use them.