I turned off all notifications on my phone and it has been a liberating experience. I turned off all notifications on my phone except calls, sms and between (an app for couples). I do not even have facebook. I am that guy with zero unread emails and I hate it when I see a red dot or a number of the many notifications that I need to check. I realized that I was held hostage by the notifications.
When I am working, a message will pop up and my focus will shift to checking it then replying to every message. It does not matter if it is important or not. All it wants is my attention. Then, the whole deep work of x number of minutes is gone. I am already playing quizarium at telegram, mindlessly reading posts on twitter, or checking kindle books at amazon. It is as if these notifications could not wait.
Three weeks ago, I turned it all off. I checked it at random times or during lunchtime. I could only count 4-5 important and urgent messages and mostly are given through a direct text message or call. And yes, if a message is urgent and important, you will get a lot of missed calls.
The only exception here is the messages from my wife in ‘between’. And it is okay because random messages by me or from her is something that I enjoy.
“Here though, there are no oppressors. No one’s forcing you to do this. You willingly tie yourself to these leashes. And you willingly become utterly socially autistic. You no longer pick up on basic human communication clues. You’re at a table with three humans, all of whom are looking at you and trying to talk to you, and you’re staring at a screen! Searching for strangers in… Dubai!”
― Dave Eggers, The Circle
Two nights ago, we watched Black Mirror’s Smitheerin. It was revealed that Christopher’s dead fiancée lost her life in a car crash owing to his carelessness. “I killed her over a dog photo.” I do not drive a car but should be a strong message about the bigger consequence of being hostage to notifications.
This year though is yet to end is also about my relationships with phone. I changed to a prepaid number because what use is a postpaid when everywhere I go, there is a wifi connection. More than that I used to be on the phone while commuting. For a while, I am using it to read at kindle but mostly I am observing and noticing so many things in the metro from the commuters to the unapologetic billboards and ads everywhere.
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash