You guys, wow. Remember how I mentioned sleeping in airplane mode a few weeks ago? And how it helps to not wake up bombarded with notifications? Well, I can now one-up that and I think you should, too.
I’d been seeing and hearing a lot about the notion of turning off iPhone notifications for a while, but for some reason last week, I finally did it. It’s some life-changing magic, but let’s back up shall we? Even when my phone is on Do Not Disturb (which it often is during the day), I still come back to a plethora of notifications when I check my phone. The DND time is great while it lasts, but inevitably I will have to check something on my phone and then be derailed by distractions. Missed calls (both work and personal), texts (both work and personal), Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter notifications (all work-related), app notifications (personal, like a meditation reminder, dating app messages, etc), and then the dreaded email notifications (mostly all for work, for multiple inboxes). Even when re-reading that, my head starts to spin and I instantly feel pulled in a million different directions. And it all just hits me at once, like a brick wall. Should I call my dad back, text back the guy I kind of like, or respond to that important work email? I feel overwhelmed by all of the different avenues of communication, things I need to do, and different facets of life and get to that paralyzed place where I don’t know where to begin and just put my phone down and walk away. (Sorry friends and family, but that’s why I’m so bad at texting you back. I promise I’m trying to be better.)
Last week was a little bit of a shitshow in terms of workload. With Q2 ending, a lot of projects needing to be wrapped by end of June, and people trying to get ahead before the holiday weekend, I felt like I was just dodging bullets, putting out fires, and trying to clean up a tornado zone. But no matter how hard I tried, I just could not fucking focus to get it done, which made it even worse because I started to be so hard on myself.
I had to take a step back and ask myself, how can we start to fix this most immediately? When I think of what would make my life easier in the long run, having someone else on my team would be such a game changer. But while I do need to bring someone else on, finding and training that person is obviously not a quick or easy process. So I sat outside and came up with a list of ways I could delegate some of the things on my list, get help with some of the tasks I’ve been struggling to finish in a timely manner, and I decided that this little phone of mine HAS TO GO. Well, thats dramatic. Clearly I need a phone, but I just turned all of the notifications OFF. Turned them off entirely. I control the phone, the phone doesn’t control me. Does that make sense? I realized that my phone cannot dictate my stress level… I can’t look at it and be instantly overwhelmed because it carries over into other aspects of my life and business. Instead, I now *choose* when I tackle the tasks. Obviously I will still check my email, but it’s when I’ve dedicated the time to sit and go through my inbox, not while I’m doing something else that requires my undivided attention. Obviously I will still scroll through Instagram, but I don’t need a notification that so-and-so has started a live video. Thanks, but no thanks.
So how has it been so far? Well, it’s only been a little over a week (and over a holiday weekend), but it’s been a game-changer. The first two days were REALLY weird. I’d actually kind of forgot about them being off and when I’d check my notifications while waiting in line somewhere or in the elevator, I almost felt ‘unimportant’ because I didn’t have a bazillion notifications people trying to get a hold of me. (Deep AF and something I think all of us now struggle with in this age of instant gratification and definitely something worth exploring on your own.) It’s kind of like the whole “busy syndrome,” where most of us are addicted to feeling busy. It took me a second to be okay with not feeling like I had a million things to respond to, but let me just say, I got over it real fucking quick. It’s amazing! Sure, its a bit more overwhelming when you sit down with your inbox because you haven’t even glanced at it, but I think it’s actually making me better at email because I’m only handling the email once, versus reading it in transit, seeing it later in my inbox, and actually responding when I’m able. It seems to be much more efficient so far!
Have you tried turning notifications off entirely? Would love to hear your experience and any tips/tricks of what works best for you!