iPhone settings for maximum productivity and flow

Busy busy busy busy. And that phone keeps vibrating and making noise. You get out of Flow.

Don’t know what flow is?

Ever had an experience of time just flowing by without you noticing. When it feels like you’ve been doing something for 5 minutes and all of a sudden 2 hours have passed?

That is Flow.

Flow is a state of mind where we are fully absorbed in the present activity.

Research has shown that people who experience flow more often live longer. It’s also a great way to be more productive and be more mindful.

Sadly, our phones and their notifications keep interrupting.

In this short article, we’ll show you how to set up your iPhone to make sure you don’t get disturbed when you don’t want to. The goal is to achieve and sustain your state of flow more often and to ultimately be more productive.

We will explain 2 things

  1. How to use Do Not Disturb
  2. How to tweak Notifications so they don’t bother you.

Do not disturb

iPhones have a Do Not Disturb function. Toggle it on from the control centre (swipe up from the bottom of your screen) or from the settings app.


If I really want to get shit done, this is how I do it. Sadly, this isn’t always an option in a fast paced environment like my job. People need to be able to reach me sometimes so some calls have to be able to get through.

You can add people to a group (via the Contacts app) and allow this group to bypass Do Not Disturb or let people who call you twice within 3 minutes to come through:


Another option is Emergency bypass which is reached from the contacts or phone app by clicking on the Ringtone menu:


It also helps in conditioning other people to value your time. Teach the people around you not to call for things that can be done via email. Simply asking them to “shoot you a quick email to remind you” might help.

Using iOS’ built in sms replies for incoming calls is an easy way to do this. Among others I have one that says “cant pick up, please sms or email”. This changes a long distraction (phone call) to a brief one (tap respond with text and choose this reply).


A screen lighting up, a sound or the vibration of your phone. Each on its own is enough to take your mind off of your task and out of flow. Simply turning off the notifications is something I don’t recommend because sometimes you want to know what’s up.

Here is how I set up the notifications of apps like Messages, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram for maximum flow:


This way you can still unlock your phone and see what’s going on (the red badge numbers will still be there)  but you won’t get disturbed by the light, sound and vibration 🙂

How do you tweak your phone’s settings to help flow or productivity? Let us know, we might learn a thing or two and might even update this article!

By the way, did you know flow is a mindfulness technique? 😉

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