I’ve always been a believer in using technology to assist us and to not become a slave to it, but at some point it got the better of me and sucked me in. I’m not even sure when it happened. It was slowly but surely eating away at my well being and sanity.
With 2 personal email accounts, work email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, my website, Messenger, text messages and many other apps, my phone was constantly buzzing to alert me about the latest and greatest communication that had been received. I was “smart” though, and used technology to change the tones of the various apps, which ones would vibrate, how many vibrations, and even had different coloured LED flashes to differentiate them. It was an engineering masterpiece! It was great the way I utilized technology to bring audible order to my mayhem of social media notifications!
Overtime as I added more apps it became out of control. My stress levels were going up. I’m not talking nervous breakdown levels, but nevertheless, my focus and concentration was constantly being broken and I found I had a heightened level of constant irritation. I didn’t even know it was there really and when I did notice it I didn’t realize the source.
So what did I do?
I simply turned off all the notifications for all my apps, except my phone itself.
For many of you perhaps this is as obvious as your natural instinct to breathe, and for you kudos! I’m happy for you. However, this post is to help the many others that I know and see daily falling slave to our technology. Like me, they likely don’t even realize it nor the negative impact it is having on them.
It is widely accepted that once interrupted, it takes 20 minutes to get back in focus and be productive. Now stop and consider how many alerts you are getting. Even if you don’t open the app, that “ping” is usually enough to snap you out of your train of thought, pause during a conversation, or lose focus on the task at hand, as your eyes sneak a quick peak at the text alert flashing on the display.
Recently, a teacher in the U.S. had her students turn their phones on loud, and every time they received a notification they went up and put a tally mark under the correct category. The flip chart indicates the number of notifications received in one class, one period. Incredible!
Of course we all have responsibilities that we can’t ignore and I’m not suggesting that. Schedule times throughout your day to check and respond to emails and other necessary communications. Request your team and family to call your cell phone if urgent. Establish and communicate a response SLA (Service Level Agreement) to which you will respond and commit to it.
It was shocking to me the difference turning off the notifications made to my state of mind! It truly was amazing! Try it! You’ll like it!
What simple changes have you made to reduce your stress levels?
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