Ditching alerts that aren't actionable

I try to practice inbox zero and am arguably obsessed with productivity. At the very least, you can say I hate wasting time.

At odds is the fact that I like to stay abreast of a lot of things, e.g. what people are saying about our company, what's going on in startup land, what's going on with our servers, what people are working on inside DuckDuckGo, etc. For the most part, I'm notified of developments via alerts -- most via email, but some via txt and chat as well.
The problem is that can add up to a lot of alerts. The most annoying are false-positive txt messages about server outages in the middle of the night :).

What I've taken away from this is to ditch all alerts that aren't actionable. If I'm never going to act as a result of a given alert than it shouldn't be an alert at all.

Of course there are less clear cut cases with less obvious solutions. Reducing frequency is one. Sending at particular times is another. Aggregation is another. These bring non-actionable alerts in some cases into the actionable category.

The most pernicious case seems to be alerts that seem like they could be actionable but you really never take action on them. A lot of news falls into this category. Consequently, I'm often trying out newsletters (and twitter friends) and then ditching them after a week or two. 


If you have comments, hit me up on Twitter.
I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get customer growth. More about me.