Stop and think. How many times a day does your phone beep or buzz? Too many? I think that’s the answer for most people these days.
Take a step back. Does your phone really need to alert you every 5 seconds because there’s a new message in a “group chat” you’re a part of? Or do you really need to know what your favourite celebrity just Tweeted? Is is that important to get an update EVERY time someone “likes” a post of your on Instagram? The answer to all of those questions is NO. If you stop and truly think about it, you’ll agree with me.
These are not important notifications, and we do not need to see them. All of that information is still well and good, and can be sought out by you when and if you choose. But the difference with having to “pull” information as opposed to having it “pushed” to you is that YOU’RE the one in control. Not your friends, and certainly not the slab of metal and plastic that is your phone. You can see how many “likes” you got, or who Tweeted what in your own time, and when you’re ready to see it. Don’t let your attention be taken up by small slabs of text.
Our lives are constantly interrupted by notifications. And now, with the popularity of wearable technology such as Watches taking off… we’re going to be interrupted more than ever. I’ve worn a smart watch for nearly 18 months now, and I’ve had a lot of time to think about the importance of notifications. It’s also made me get rather annoyed whenever I get notifications. I feel my wrist vibrate and find myself thinking, “Oh, this had better be good.”
I, like many people who are reading this, am a part of a group chat (sometimes multiple) and would often get frustrated when my phone just. would. not. stop. vibrating. every. five. seconds. Whenever I felt my smart watch vibrate, I would think “Oh not again, it’s just the group going at it.” Often that would result in 5 minutes worth of vibrating notifications which I would just ignore. But when I took my phone out of my pocket an hour later, I’d missed an important message from someone else (outside of the group chat). The useless notifications had drowned out the one that was really the most important to me. But I’ve learnt to turn notifications off for things which truly aren’t important, and it works great. I now check my group chat messages when I have time to, not when my phone or smart watch tells me to do so. I can check my “replies” on Twitter when I’ve got a spare minute, and not because my wrist vibrated and demanded my attention.
I’ve left notifications turned on for a very small amount of applications, including messages. But only from people who are in my contacts. That way, when I feel my wrist vibrate and I glance down at my wrist, I know it’s for something worthwhile… from someone worth while. And the beauty of having a smart watch is, that if the notification doesn’t require any immediate action, once I’ve glanced at my wrist I can casually look away and resume the task I was consumed in before the notification interrupted.
I urge you to think about how notifications from your phone are interrupting your life, and what you can do to make your phone a little less intrusive.