I am downsizing my digital world.
It’s part of my pursuit of a simpler life.
I’ve closed multiple accounts, syndicated social media for my business, and uninstalled the games. Yet I was still on my phone too often; checking notifications, answering texts, etc. I wanted to do better.
Always “ON” Turned OFF
So I did a little Google, and found tons on how much we use our phones, including a controlled study which used a tracking app. On average, we are on our phones five hours a day, or about one-third of the time we are awake. We check our phones/notifications about 85 times a day! I had to get a handle on this; I refuse to be a slave to a mindless conglomeration of chips and wires.
So I did the unthinkable: I turned OFF notifications. What a game changer! I get notes from notes from text voicemail, and messenger. And those notifications are silent. I look at notes when I have the time, not when my phone is demanding that I do so. It’s been very liberating, and I feel a lot less “busy,” which is great.
So great in fact, that I also started using the “Do Not Disturb” mode on my phone from 7p-6a. So unless someone is on my exceptions list, they go to voicemail, and all notifications are silent. I can watch a movie or read a book without being pestered to death by beeps and buzzes.
So, now that I’m not always “ON” and no longer get notifications of every post, snap, tweet, and game update, do I feel out of touch? No, no I don’t. I actually feel less stressed out, because I’m no longer obligated to keep up with all that stuff. I will confess that it took some intentional effort to NOT constantly look at my phone for the first week or so. I thought about it often, then told myself it was OK. I could check my phone later, when I wasn’t working, or in the middle of a project or task.
I’ve had a few of the “WHY DON’T YOU ANSWER YOUR TEXTS!?” sort of phone calls. I’ve responded, “If it’s really important, call and TALK to me.” In the meantime, I’m not constantly interrupted. I can get more done. Hold on to a train of thought without a buzzing phone breaking my concentration. Less interruptions means I’m productive, not just busy. I am actually getting tasks done more quickly, which frees me up for other things. I’m striving to have more time to do what I love, spend time with the people who are important to me, and have some time and space to just breathe. Now I’ve got a few more hours a day to do those things.
Flip the Switch
Did you know it can take up to 15 minutes to get back on task after doing something like answering an email or sending a text, or reading your notifications? Now multiply that by the number of times you’ve picked up your phone today, and you will have the answer to why you never have enough time in your day. If you really want to know how much time you’re losing, try “Moment” for iPhone, or “QualityTime” for Android. They will track your phone usage by minutes instead of data, and have some nifty tools to help break the addiction.
So, give it a try, and turn off those notifications. What have you got to lose, other than wasted time?