Originally Posted by JKT
I'll provide the counter argument - why not? Because being constantly interrupted by on screen pop-ups is very annoying when you are actually trying to do something ;-)
Outlook on the PC has a similar feature and I had to turn it off as it was just far too distracting and ended up getting in my way of doing work rather than aiding it.
Excellent counter argument. Allow me to retort. :)
The more efficient way of working is to allow collection boxes like inboxes, email or paper, and voice mail to gather stuff and then process them. The less efficient way of working is to constantly be processing the inbox, with the exception of certain jobs that require this. Example: a customer service rep or EMT.
I am in agreement with the outlook notifications. I do not want to be notified of every email I get because any one of those emails could have meaning and require me to do something. However, some emails I have set up to alert me when some system has broken and needs attention no matter what I am doing.
I think there are two main types of notifications: one notification has attached meaning or something that I am required to do, and the other notification is feedback from the program.
A notice for every email that comes in is in the first category. I turn this off because I want to segment my email processing into a time slot. Otherwise, at any moment, I may get derailed from what I am trying to accomplish.
I imagine there are some jobs where those notifications are used as a first level screening. They may need to instantly reply to an email that has just come in. Or may need to get up and do something when/if that email comes in. While there may be some jobs that require this, I believe most do not require this level of notification and it is abused by people.
A notice when my OmniFocus data has been backed up is program feedback notification. A notice when I do a clipping that the item has made it's way to the inbox also fits into this category. These are more like status messages. Feedback from the application.
Within this category are further delineations.
If I am in deep focus, I don't want any kind of interruption, including the application telling me that it has performed a backup.
However, a notice when I do a clipping, that it has made it's way to the inbox is directly related to an action that I just did, and falls into the category of UI feedback. Just like I can see a box when using the mouse to select a group of items. And the items I have selected become highlighted.
To sum up. There are three types of notifications:
1. Those which I may need to do something about.
2. Those which I do not need to do something about and are usually the program informing me when an automated process has completed.
3. Those which are feedback from the program based on some interaction that I am doing with the program.