Skip to content
field guide

Notifications are high-interest debt.

It’s 2PM on Wednesday. You have 42 unread email alerts from various apps your team uses. You have six Slack channels with unread notifications. Your phone is buzzing. You just got an invite to a Zoom meeting with 28 other people about something that doesn’t concern you.

Nobody can get anything done in this environment.

Nagging interruptions like these are poison for deep work and creative endeavors like software development, product strategy, writing, and design. Worse, the notifications compound to make you want to check them less and less as they build up. This is communication debt and the interest rate is very, very high.

Getting in “the zone” for this work is hard and takes time. Even a quick question or shoulder tap often means grinding deep work to a halt and having to get into the zone all over again.

Your role as a team lead includes limiting these interruptions for your team. Every “bother” should have a purpose that can’t be avoided any other way.

NEXT: Don’t kill your daily standup.

Sign up for our newsletter to get pleasantly infrequent actionable tips on building and leading teams. 100% zero spam guarantee.