life, psychology

How to Turn Off Notifications And Reclaim Your Attention

Photo by Oscar Sutton on Unsplash

I find that the time I do most of what I want to do is at night after everyone’s gone to sleep. My theory on why this is the case is that my electronics are notification machines that perpetuate a state of distraction while the world is awake.

I’m not here to prove my theory, except to say that through lots of self-reflection I’m pretty sure it’s true. At some point I’d convinced myself it had something to do with my energy levels through out the day, but sitting here writing this, that’s bull. It’s 3:40 and I’m exhausted.

I’m also not here to make a judgement statement about whether it’s okay for people to live in a constant state of distraction with their phones constantly pulling them out of the moment, but for me that’s not ideal. I don’t want my days dictated by invisible outside influences. Rather, I like to drive my life.

To help further that objective I have been working to change my relationship to my devices:

  • Less is more — rather than be subscribed to 100+ podcasts, just pick the best ones and ditch the rest. Make them earn my time. I try to hold this true for every app on my phone.
  • Things come and go in phases— I don’t need Vine on my phone anymore just as a memory of the old days. Let it go and move on.
  • Reserve notifications for things that I want to distract me — very little meets this threshold
  • Keep the above principles in mind whenever I use my phone — this should be something I think about every time my phone buzzes and pulls me out of the moment.

Since I implemented these rules, my relationship to my devices is way healthier. I resolve to never get a smart watch. If I do, then that means the machines have won. 🤖.

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