The iPad is a fantastic distraction tool.  If you’re not being careful, hours can disappear into Netflix as episode after episode rolls on, or through a game that forces you to play just one more level.  Time can fly by and before you know it, the time you intended for chores, grading, homework is gone.

Fortunately, it is just as powerful as a tool of concentration.  The iPad allows you to do only one thing at a time, which means you’re less likely to be distracted by incoming mail or those exciting alerts on Facebook.   The makes unitasking not only possible, but almost mandatory.

Unfortunately, Apple has also rolled in the capability for most apps to distract you with pointless notifications (“Your dragons need more gold!”) or sounds for any incoming message.  To reach perfect unitasking, you’ll need to mute these distractions.

Apps that send alerts have three options: None, Banners, and Alerts.  None is the least distracting – you have to open the app to see new content.  Banners are almost as good – a brief message appears at the top of the screen then fades away into the Notification Center.  Alerts.  Alerts are evil and kill productivity.  They block all other action until they are dismissed.  Only use alerts for things you cannot afford to miss.

Badges are passive distraction, an icon that shows what is new, but without interrupting you work.

Now in System Settings, tap on Notifications and set everything Badges or Badges and Banners.

Look back to the left and click on Sounds.  Set all of them to “None” unless you absolutely have to be  notified.

Brilliant!  You’ve now laid the groundwork for a productive iPad experience.