Fewer Notifications Equals More Focused And Less Stressed

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Phone notifications started taking over my life…

  • Notifications from Instagram with photos of Person A’s Pumpkin Latte, Person B’s cat, and Person C’s bathroom-mirror-selfie.
  • Email notifications with news alerts, advertisements for all kinds of things claiming they’ll make me grow thinner, get smarter, and live longer.
  • Notifications from Facebook about Person D’s new Loose Parts, Person E’s weird rash, and Person F’s adventure at the grocery store.

I’ve got no problem with any of this content– B’s cat is super cute and F’s grocery store story was funny. My problem revolved around how these things had me reaching for my phone every 3 1/2 minutes to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything.

I was constantly interrupting myself to check the damn phone.

So, I decided to do an experiment: I turned the notifications off.

Not all at once. I thought doing so would give me panic attacks. After all, FOMO is A Thing.

My plan was to wean myself off the constant notifications–checking in with the cat photos and emails as my schedule allowed.

It was hard going for the first week.

After about 2 1/2 weeks I took inventory and realized I had greater focus, less stress, and was generally feeling more present in my own life. That felt good.

After a month it’s turning into the new normal.

Social media and our electronic devices are designed to stimulate our brain’s pleasure centers so we keep coming back for more. Phone notifications exist to remind you to pop on over to Pinterest for a fix or take a hit of Facebook.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff zipping around the social media platforms and the rest of the interwebs, you might want to give shutting off notifications a try.

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

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