In the blog exercise on eliminating noisy distractions from your computer, mobile phone, and other areas around your working environment, I wanted you to remove the things that interfere with your blogging time and space, with your creative energies. I wanted you to identify what is getting in your way that you might not be conscious of, the intrusion of technology and nuisances in our lives.
In today’s blog exercise, I want to talk about how these notifications and alerts help you blog, and how to incorporate them into your blogging life and work.
The process begins by identifying the priorities in your work. These may change from day-to-day or be consistent.
Consistent priorities for me are checking email (from too many email accounts), blog comments (from too many sites), social media channels, and news. Based upon the input, decisions and actions are made to respond, blog, or take action.
Notifications and alerts concerning these priorities come first on my list, though I’ve chosen to regulate the time I spend, and when I take the time, to pay attention to them. I will often write first, focusing on books and blogs, for the first hour or two of the day, then turn to emails and social media, controlling my energies and time.
Inconsistent priorities are often based upon clients and projects. If I’m working on an article or article series based upon research material, I may use Google Alerts or alerts from my feed reader of found or updated information relative to the article. These are alerts I want and need now, and the interruption is appropriate.
These are the highest on my priority list. Next come comments and updated information from my other various websites and client sites.
WordPress includes email notification features by default. I’ve turned off email notification of comments, comments held for moderation, and other notifications on the sites I access most often as part of my top priority list. Other sites are set to notify me by email.
To check and update your notifications for your WordPress site, go to Settings > Discussion.
Go through the list and set the options. Pay close attention to the Email me whenever section. If you need to be notify if someone has commented or a comment is held for moderation, check the box.
In the Before a comment appears section, if you choose to select “comment must be manually approved,” make sure you have selected; the option to be emailed when someone posts a comment or is held for moderation so you may act in a timely manner to approve their comment.
If you are on WordPress.com or using the JetPack WordPress Plugin, they have improved notifications. It links your site’s comments to a WordPress.com account so you can review comments from multiple sites through WordPress.com’s Notification Toolbar menu. When logged into WordPress.com, alerts will appear in the Admin bar alerting you to comments, likes, and other notifications.
If you have a smartphone, get one of the WordPress Mobile Apps to bring notifications from all of your sites and those of your clients to one place. The global notification list makes reviewing and responding to comments mobile, allowing you to work on your schedule wherever you are to keep your site’s interactivity moving.
If you have multiple contributors on the blogs you work with, consider adding Audit Trail Plugin to maintain a list of the activities on the site to notify you about who has done what. Draft Notification WordPress Plugin, Edit Flow WordPress Plugin, and other similar Plugins offer notifications based upon when a post is saved as a Draft or Pending, alerting the Editor or Administrator that an article is in the works or ready for review and publishing.
Subscribe to your site and be notified automatically by email when a new post is published, either by a contributor or by yourself if you use the future posts publishing feature to schedule posts for future release. The Subscription feature in the JetPack WordPress Plugin makes this process easy.
Add your site to your feed reader. This will keep you up to date on the posts you publish. Also consider adding your comment feed to your feed reader, helping you turn your feed reader into a one stop center for not only following the news and information about your industry, but keeping up with your site’s activities in one place.
Many computer and mobile apps may be set to alert you at specific times. Android, for example, introduced the Blocking Mode to turn off notifications, calls, texts, and messages for a specific time period automatically. I have sound alerts and notifications turned off during my sleep hours, but this can be customized for any time period or multiple time periods. It even includes a “white list” to allow certain notifications to ring through.
Your blog exercise today is to review the distracting alerts and notifications and make them work for you, not against.
Begin by identifying a priority list of what is most to least important for you to pay attention to in your blogging work and environment. Then go through the various tips for controlling those notifications.
Make your notifications and alerts conscious, intentionally chose to distract you when necessary. Turn the rest off so you can concentrate on what is most important – sharing your thoughts with your readers.