Cut the Notifications
Notifications overwhelm our devices and cut into our train of thought. The best part about them is that we can turn them off.
This Spring when I started embracing the idea of minimalism in my everyday life - not just my business - I started realizing how many notifications cut into my focus all day long. They never stop. When you answer them, more come. They are so persistent, and if you’re like me, you feel like you should answer right away or else you’ll forget to circle back. Also, it’s often a pretty quick answer so why not just text back right away? I muted several group texts and some individual contacts but I had this crazy idea one day…
I should just mute everyone.
Remember when we were growing up and we would just get in the car, go out running errands all day with Mom and come back later to listen to the answering machine? We got back to everyone when we had time. And that was acceptable. We didn’t live our life like an emergency 24-7. And heck, even if there was an emergency, we’d just hear about it when we got home.
Here’s the checklist of everything I ended up doing:
I turned off my email notifications for Slack, the ones that say “hey we’re emailing you because you have new Slack messages and you haven’t read them yet!”
I also turned off the banner badges on my laptop for Slack. I just see new messages when I open it now.
I silenced my iPhone from all alert tones. I only see that I have a new text when I open my phone at my leisure, not when it alerts me to open it.
I continued to keep my phone on silent about 99% of the time anyway. I find every alert option to be fairly annoying anyway and it distracts everyone in the room when it goes off.
Guess who noticed? Nobody.
The result of this shift was a less distracted mind and the exact same communication with everyone else that I always have, it’s just a little slower. I look at my phone quite a bit, but I found that when I’m in the zone writing or getting work done, I’m not being pulled away - and I get it done quite a bit faster that way. Instead of breaking up tasks between texting and working, I’m working working working and then taking a break to catch up on texts. Not a single person has asked me where I am, why I take longer to respond, or what I’m up to.
A few little setting changes can make for a BIG difference in your everyday stress level.