How to turn on "Do Not Disturb" mode on a Mac

Enabling Do Not Disturb on a Mac can be a great way to get on with some work, when you don't want to be bombarded with a constant stream of notifications and other updates. 

When you are busy — and let’s face it, who isn't busy? — one notification after another can be an annoying distraction. Especially if they're not important. And even if they are, do you really need to respond to this email or that message straight away? Probably not. Plus, most of us have dozens of notifications coming through via our phones and tablets too. 

So it can be really useful to know how to turn on do not disturb on a Mac. We cover that in this article, and how to stay more productive while working on a Mac — which is something we all need help with, from time-to-time. 

Why enable Do Not Disturb? 

If you wanted, your Mac is set-up to accept notifications from dozens of sources. From breaking news, to the weather, global stock markets, and every app you have — that comes with a messaging or push notification feature (which can be everything from email to Spotify) — is designed to send us notifications and seamlessly integrate with with Mac operating system. 

Every time you click “Allow Notifications”, or something similar, you have opened the door to an app pining you every time someone sends a message, or when that app has an update. Some of these are going to be important and useful. Most of them probably aren't going to be that useful. 

So to avoid notification overload, it helps to know how to avoid distractions and switch these off on a Mac. You can also do this on an iPhone and iPad, and other devices, too, guaranteeing an undisturbed time to focus on work, or a game or TV series you’ve been looking forward to. 

enable Do Not Disturb

How to enable Do Not Disturb? 

There are a couple of simple ways to put do not disturb on Mac. 

#1: Hold down the Option/Alt key, then click on the list icon in the top-right hand corner of the upper menu bar. If this results in the list icon being dimmed, it means that notifications are temporarily switched off. 

#2: Another way is through System Preferences > Notifications (which can also be reached through the same list icon on the top-right hand corner of the screen) > And now check the box that allows you to set Do Not Disturb for however many hours you want. 

Whichever way you choose, it’s quick and easy to switch on do not disturb on a Mac. 

Why Do Not Disturb Matters?

According to a recent Udemy survey, nearly 3 out of 4 workers (70 percent) admit they feel distracted when they're supposed to be working (and constant notifications play a big part in that), with 16 percent asserting that they're almost always distracted. The problem is biggest for Millennials and Gen Z employees, with 74 percent reporting feeling distracted.

Now, you might be wondering in this age of distractions, how exactly do people stay productive? 

We've shown you how to switch off notifications. Here are a few other ways that you can become more productive when busy. 

Ways to stay more productive on your Mac

Apart from switching off notifications, there are numerous ways to stay more productive on a Mac. 

  1. Turn off automatic updates and notifications
  2. Minimize login items
  3. Use Screen Time (in new macOS Catalina)
  4. Delete clutter on your drive — try the free version of CleanMyMac X
  5. Speed up your Mac (and lessen the load on memory)

One way is to improve the overall speed of the Mac, and to remove programs and systems that consume too much memory and RAM. 

There are two ways you can do this. Either searching through the Mac manually, which will take time, for heavy memory consumers and slow apps, and even trying to hunt down macOS programs that need maintenance. 

Or you can do this with a little help from CleanMyMac X, a useful Mac performance improvement app. 

  1. Download CleanMyMac X (for free, here)
  2. Click on the Speed module
  3. This should fix programs that are running slowly, and free up RAM. 
  4. Other features, such as Maintenance Scripts can improve performance with a wider range of native and third-party apps, and remove programs that are taking up too much memory. 
Ways to stay more productive on your Mac

CleanMyMac X is an invaluable tool for getting your Mac back up to peak performance. Making you more efficient at the same time. Alongside switching off notifications, you will notice how much more you can get done everyday. 

CleanMyMac X
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.