Monday Notes: Notifications

One of the best decisions I’ve made this year is to turn off my notifications. This has been life changing for me. Warning: What follows is not satire.

I first had the idea to turn off my notifications when I began preparing for the new academic year. You see, every year on August 1st, I spend between six and eight hours creating new videos, revising my syllabi, and updating documents. Usually, I place my phone face down on the desk, set my timer, work for an hour, and then check social media on a break.

But this year, I’d read that even if you place your phone face down, then it’s still a distraction. It’s better if it’s completely out of sight (full article here). I wasn’t willing to leave my phone in another room, even if the other room was in my house, but it did occur to me that I could silence it a bit more.

img_7597That’s when I turned off all of my social media and email notifications.

The brain is a funny thing. When I took my break, I looked at my phone as usual, but not seeing the little red dots made me not want to click on any of the icons. Don’t laugh. I’m being pretty transparent here. I couldn’t believe I had been a slave to those dots and associated numbers all…these…years!

The week that I turned off my notifications brought on a new sense of focus and discipline. Although my new routine only lasted seven days, it did shift the way I use my phone when I’m supposed to be working. I still post primarily in the morning, but during the remainder of the day (if I’m busy), I check social media less frequently. Instead of popping in every hour, I typically wait until the end of the day to read, scroll, and comment on any and everything.

img_7579I was so excited I thought I’d share this with the social media community and my youngest daughter. Her response? Uh, yeah. Your notifications go off like every two seconds so I’m sure that would be helpful.

Teenagers. I’m hoping you all won’t be as dismissive.

Let me know how you function with your devices. For example, Kat, over at Maybe Mindful participates in #SocialMediaFreeSunday, which might be more do-able because it’s only a 24-hour period. How about you? Are you a slave to those red dots like I used to be? Do you take breaks?

45 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Notifications

  1. I agree with that strategy. I’ve done the same thing especially when I was working because those dings and pings are distracting. Then if I want to get a good night’s sleep I turn the sound off.

    Like you I can’t totally disconnect because my brother Stephen Group Home or Training Center might be calling me. So I periodically check my messages just in case.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. True. For the longest those beeps had me trained to look. I felt obligated to answer. Not good! Especially on the job, creating art or working on a poem or short story. Those sounds can be annoying. Turning them off during work hours or while sleeping is a great idea.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a good suggestion. I’ve tried putting my phone on Do Not Disturb or in Airplane mode. After a disastrous emergency incident — hubby locked his keys in the car on his way to the airport & was trying to call from Walmart but it wouldn’t ring through — I’ve had a hard time doing this. Maybe that means I need to bite the bullet and change the social media settings themselves…
    Something to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could certainly use this Kathy. As a teacher, my phone stays out of sight for the majority of my workday. It’s when I get home and I feel I have to catch up on all I missed that things are not as clear cut. I am getting better with time blocking though. I will make sure my phone it out of sight during the time block periods.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never been too interested in anything email-like, social media-like or anything like that. I do check my phone when I hear beeps, so whenever I am working on something important I turn the sound off.

    I think what you’re doing is great! Especially in a time like this, when a lot of people feel the necessity of being available 24/7. You’re only human. you need time for yourself, too. And when you need to focus, it’s easy for your brains to find distractions. So I say: good for you! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I turned on my notifications last year – except for the direct likes and comments on wp, all else is turned off. Like you, i felt disorganized and i kept scrambling to get everything done and when i couldn’t, i’d feel like i failed. I remember when i cleaned my social folder, i had around 19k notifications to still go over. I deleted them all without looking. Now the only notifications that i feel obliged to comply are the direct likes and comments i receive on wp. I go over twitter once a week, and my fb account, well, that’s a disaster.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I meant i turned it off, not on. and i realized there was no way i’d go over 19k notifications one by one – as i’d need to do with screen readers. i was way behind and no miracle was shining up ahead. it was either delete or let them leave them there.. the guilt would have always nagged at me, so ….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I turned of the sound notifications and schedule times during the day, for social media. Indeed, one gets so much more done this way.
    My family and friends know I won’t answer my mobile phone after 10.00 o’clock, because I will be at sleep and I will not respond to messages via email or social media platforms after that time. In an emergency they know to call our landline.
    During the day, nobody calls my husband on his mobile, because everyone knows he is at work. If needed, they call me.
    However, I will not eliminate social media. Had a conversation about this with my husband the other day and we concluded: Social media is part of life. Not virtual (that are games to me), but just life. I think we are at an age, Katherin, we do remember the world without it, that’s why we are more conscious about it. We saw it develop, evolve. We also know the value of honest true (thus not fake) relationships. To me, social media can be that too. It’s just a shift of the mind, a choice, how to view social media. How to use it. It doesn’t have to be fake, it doesn’t have to annoying, or feel unreal. I think it can be used as another beautiful form of communication.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kathy, I’m so glad you discovered the off button for notifications. It makes such a difference. When I started my blog I had them on … for a month or so until I was driven to distraction by the notifications! For my sanity and that of my family I turned them off! When my son helped me set up Twitter he said no to notifications for the same reason! Phew! Only calls and texts come through immediately… the latter often from said son needing a lift/letting me know where he’s going next etc! Happy quiet phone time and enjoy the new term! X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes! I am becoming more Dr. G-like on a daily! These simple life tweaks make a world of difference.

    I used to be a slave to the notifications, responding promptly too. But now I’m liiiike call me if it’s that serious. My phone used to notify me with texts and new messages in several apps. I turned one off and kinda liked it so I turned them all off..halfway. There is no visual notification and no sound or vibration unless I pick up my phone (it’ll vibrate if I have new notifications). And it will only light up for notifications if it’s on the charger. And no numbers, just a dot to tell me which apps. I like it! Makes me feel in control.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lol or I’m becoming like you 😉 These small adjustments really do matter. It’s like we’ve learned there’s no in between. Either we’re running to check each message, or we’re deleting and deactivating accounts lol

      And yes to being in control!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Good for you for turning them off! I refuse to have Facebook on my phone, but I do get email and text notifications…the dings as well as the little numbers to show me just how many. But every once in a while, I make a resolution not to sit down in front of my computer or look at my cell phone. I leave it in my purse, upstairs in my bedroom. And you wouldn’t believe how much more I accomplish on those days, and how much calmer I feel. Cell phones are such a mixed blessing…..

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I love this post because it’s right along the lines of what I’ve been feeling and striving to implement in my own life.  This is how addictive social media is: I’ve never had my notifications on. Ever. I don’t use the Facebook app (if I get likes or comments on a post, the only way of knowing this is if I log in via my mobile browser. I made the decision not to use the Facebook app long ago and have found it helps me in not being a slave to notifications there) and I don’t leave my Twitter and IG apps open. But, the thing is even though I never had notifications turned on I still find myself picking up the phone and logging in every five seconds just to see what’s going on (as if something profound happened in the ten seconds since I’ve been logged off 😩). So I made myself a pact last month (motivated by my starting school). I will only check my socials 3x or less a day. If I miss the early morning, I’ll wait until the afternoon (during lunch) to check in or post. I won’t check in again until the end of the day. I also don’t feel obligated to post the same thing across all platforms. My social accounts aren’t linked so that’s a lot of work if I did. I don’t have time to make sure what I post to IG is also posted to Facebook AND Twitter. I don’t have that kind of time lol. So sometimes, like this past week, I was only active on Twitter and had not posted to Facebook or IG in five days. Now, I was checking in but even not posting was liberating in a way. From now on I told myself I will not feel obligated to post daily or to spread myself thin. I will post when I really feel it’s necessary (when I want to post something inspiration or if something is funny. You know I love laughing 😂) I even stopped posting to my blog every day.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know you said a whole lot, but did you say that your social media accounts are linked??? Now that takes some resolve.

      And I understand about being in school and having to find a system. I didn’t join FB until my last grad year, and I can’t imagine if I would’ve joined sooner. I’d probably still be in school lol

      Liked by 1 person

  11. 😂”Warning: What follows is not satire”
    I can’t do notifications, Kathy – I’d never get anything done!😂 I’ve been meaning to REGULARLY incorporate “digital detox” days into my schedule but it is so easy to cheat! However, when I do commit, I enjoy the peace of being less distracted; and it also gives me a “reset” so when I resume I feel less compulsive about “needing to check” things via the internet (including research, emails, and social media).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I had to make sure you all knew this was a serious matter lol

      So, apparently, I’m the only one running around with these notifications going off every five minutes. The key to a digital detox (for me) is to deactivate and remove the apps from all my devices.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi. I’m less-connected than many people. Don’t have Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, etc.
    I do have WordPress, though, which is a form of social media I guess. And I do have email and text messages, though I try not to check them too often.

    Anyway, have a good week. See ya’ —
    Neil

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I won’t be as dismissive as your teen, but I will be a bit smug because I turned off my notifications (except text and messenger) years ago. I also belong to some group chats and have some friends that I mute when I really want to get work done. I deleted Twitter from my phone (also years ago) because I found that even though I have a love/hate relationship with the site, I would check it when I had the app.

    I need to get better about putting parameters on my online time when I use my computer, though. That’s the tricky one for me.

    Congrats on finding something that works for you! It’s hard work, isn’t it?

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Seriously, right? So many constant distractions…I’ve had days or times of the day when I leave the laptop with the calendar on, but everything else off. Email, teamsnap, fb or social media…OFF. So I can focus and be determined at reaching my goal instead of walking away to check a thing and then fall down the rabbit hole…Then, I walk away from the laptop to go do whatever elsewhere and people will just have to get past a few hours without me somehow. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

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