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Are you bombarded by notifications while you’re on your computer? I know that frequent pings from Outlook, Facebook, Gmail, and others can make it nearly impossible to work. This article will teach you to turn off Windows 10 notifications and eliminate those distractions!

The problems with notifications

Interruptions are a huge pain. It takes forever to get back on track and you face a penalty every time you switch tasks.

Getting back to work

According to research done by Gloria Mark, it takes 23-25 minutes to pick up work where you left off after an interruption. And, when you consider how many times we’re interrupted each day, it’s amazing work gets done at all!

Cognitive switching penalty

From Josh Kaufmann’s book The Personal MBA comes the idea of the cognitive switching penalty. 

Basically, every time you switch from one task to another, your brain takes a mental hit. You have the task “loaded up” in your head, and switching to something else forces your brain to stop what it’s doing and load something new.

Think of it this way: Have you ever gotten to the end of a day totally mentally exhausted, but wondered if you’d done anything productive? Chances are you faced a bunch of cognitive switching penalties without realizing it and it wore you out.

The solution? Turn off Windows 10 notifications

Eliminate as many distractions as possible. The fewer times you’re interrupted, the better.

So, in terms of your Windows 10 computer, here’s the fix: Turn off Windows 10 notifications using Focus Assist.

What is Focus Assist?

Focus Assist is Microsoft’s answer to the do not disturb feature that most devices have now. It’s a way to quickly suppress some/all incoming notifications.

My recommendation is to permanently put Focus Assist in Priority Mode. Instead of blocking all notifications outright (except alarms), Priority Mode will allow only certain important notifications through.

Plus, there’s a handy feature to customize which notifications are allowed.

Using Focus Assist

Enabling Focus Assist to turn off Windows 10 notifications is super easy!

  1. Open the Action Center (aka, the notification area) by clicking the button in the bottom-right corner:
  2. If you see the Expand button, click it. (If you see Collapse, skip this step.)
  3. Locate the Focus Assist tile
  4. Click it once to set it to Priority Mode
  5. If you’d like to block all notifications, click it again to set it to Alarms Only

Customizing Priority Mode

If you want to customize which notifications make it through, you can do that! Microsoft updated Windows 10 with this feature back in April 2018.

  1. Right-click the start menu icon
  2. In the menu, click Settings

  3. Click System

  4. Click Focus Assist

  5. Make sure Priority Mode is selected
  6. Click Customize your priority list
  7. In this window, you can customize which apps can get through

That’s all there is to it!

That’s all you’ve got to do to turn off Windows 10 notifications. You’re on you way to better, more focused work!