Although I didn’t go so far as to remove Twitter and Facebook from my phone, I did make a major change that has now become the standard for me immediately after removing a new phone from the box.
The second thing I do, after signing in to the Google account necessary to make the phone functional, is shut off all notifications of any kind except the ringer. I leave that on, but low.
This came about after a particularly hectic day had me grabbing the phone off my belt every 30 seconds. Or 20 minutes probably, but it seemed like 30 seconds. When I couldn’t stand it anymore I turned off the notifications and spent the rest of the day in peace.
Peace indeed. Bliss even. I discovered that I still check for texts and email, but I do it on my time and not in response to every beep and bloop and bing the latest technological advancement at my hip makes.
The results were immediate and surprising. Productivity went up, focus went up, and frustration went down. There were only positive outcomes once I realized that 90% of the incoming requests for my attention were things that could wait until I was ready to respond.
I still check my phone often enough to appear completely connected. When I lean back for a minute I’ll take a quick look. When I walk back to my desk from the bathroom I take a peek to see if I missed a text.
But that’s it.
I don’t jump every time the phone beckons anymore. I stay connected on my own terms now. I have not removed Twitter and Facebook, but I don’t have notification turned on either. I seem to have the willpower to ignore their existence until I leave work for the day, which I’m thankful for.
This one little adjustment has made all the difference in my mental state and my focus. I’m not as frustrated or edgy after work, or as tired. I’m not as distracted or feel like I’m being rude to others. I still watch for important info, and I still respond in a timely fashion.
However, I do it on my terms and my time, and not at the beck and call of some electronic squawk box.