I’ll admit it: One of my biggest fears about collaborating with co-workers is what might happen if I forget to silence my on-screen notifications. This isn’t to say that my computer is riddled with private or embarrassing information, but there’s also no predicting what my no-boundaries friend might decide to text me in the middle of the workday.
Presentation matters. That’s true in any professional setting, be it the office, a conference, or any other group-work session. You probably don’t want your colleagues knowing about every incoming email, much less getting a glimpse of the occasional text from your bff.
But if you’re like me, you probably don’t always remember to silence your notifications. Personally I tend to lean over to the person next to me if I want a second pair of eyes on an important email. It would be far too tedious to mute every little thing for a 30-second interaction.
As a result, you risk appearing unprofessional for something you could’ve completely avoided. For PCs running Windows 10, there’s already a built-in computer function to silence notifications when presenting. But if you’re a Mac user like me, your system preferences aren’t as automatically-equipped.
The good news? There’s a super simple fix that allows you to cut down on the distractions and focus on the matter at hand.
Enter Muzzle, a free app that silences incoming notifications during presentations and screen-sharing.
With permission from the Mac user, Muzzle automatically turns on the “Do Not Disturb” setting for you when you’re screen sharing. Programs it supports include: Slack, Join Me, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and BlueJeans.
Once you download and install the program online, it’ll ask you for permission to change the DND setting on your laptop. After that, a small version of the logo stays on the left side of your menu bar whenever the program’s running. In your preferences, there are options to start Muzzle upon login, as well as automatically check off updates.
Simply put, it provides a basic function that everyone wants: silence and freedom from disruption during important workplace interactions. And as a larger practice, it can serve as an entry to incorporating DND into your workflow as a whole. A little-known shortcut to toggle that setting is to hold the Option key while clicking the Notification Center button on the top right of the screen.
Here’s how you can tell if it’s working:
My favorite thing is just how little upkeep is required post-setup. Once it’s installed and the settings are enabled, you’ll never really have to interact with the platform again—you can trust that it’ll always be doing its job.
And the next time you check your iMessages or private chats after a presentation where your screen was front and center and discover that a friend from college was texting you pictures from back in the day, you’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief that you dodged that bullet. Muzzle ensures that the focus is on you and your work—not your squabble with your roommate over who did the dishes last.
Photo of two people talking courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.
Caroline Liu is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and computer programmer studying at Wesleyan University. She is pursuing majors in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Computer Science in order to bridge her passions for tech, design, and social justice. Learn more about Caroline on her website or follow her on Twitter.More from this Author