Ping. Ding. Chirp. Notifications Driving Us Crazy…

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Wait, what was that one?

J.J. Cooper has become fluent in interpreting the cacophony of notifications emitted by his phone and computer each workday. But this ding was different.

“It was that needle-scratching-on-a-record kind of sound where it’s like, wait a minute,” says the 49-year-old, who edits a baseball magazine and website in North Carolina. “I was like, no, I have to find out what this thing is.”

He trawled through 20 open tabs. But it took him a while to find the culprit.

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“Another notification distracted me,” he says.

We’re on alert overload. Stray comments and offhand requests once shouted across the office now blink and buzz at us from Microsoft Teams and Slack. Our communication has grown fragmented, spread across myriad apps we have to learn, conform to, remember to check…

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