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Linked – How I stopped checking my phone and started using it with intention

There’s a lot of interesting things in this article, you should read it. This one, however, is one that I want to specifically mention:

“Notifications are unnecessary and they’re poison. If we enable them, we are asking our phones to interrupt us. Don’t do it.”

This is true. It’s also hard to get people to turn them off because of all of the “what ifs” involved. (What if it’s an emergency, what if my kid needs me, etc.) So here’s a few thoughts, from an iPhone user. (Android users, feel free to chime in)

1. This is one of the reasons I like my Apple Watch. It let’s me quickly look at a text message, email, etc. and decide whether it’s worth pulling out my phone. Nine times out of 10, it’s not.

2. You can set different levels, and types, of notifications for different contacts. If you’re afraid of missing a call or text from your spouse or kid and that’s why you have notifications turned on, you can set their stuff to at least be different than the default. For example, my wife’s texts and calls are a different sound than others. If I’m busy and don’t want to be bothered unless it’s her, that’s pretty easy just based on the different tones.

3. Go through your apps and decide which ones you actually want to be notified of, and how. Do you want Facebook messages, but not notifications if someone comments on a post? Go to your Settings/Notifications and look at each app listed in there. Mostly, think about whether you need to know someone liked your tweet or your Instagram post right away. Hint – You don’t.

4. One thing I have done is set many of those apps to not make a sound, but to display on the lock screen. Then, when I pick up my phone and just want to make sure there’s nothing highly important, I see all the notifications on the screen and skim them there.

Everyone of these tips has one thing in common though. They let me decide what’s important, and they offer me the information I want, without me having to unlock my phone to get it. That’s really the big key, because we all know that once you unlock the phone, you’re going to lose 15-20 minutes easy. If I can avoid unlocking my phone until I’m ready to do so, I’m already down the path of using it intentionally. By carefully setting my notifications, I can also deal with all of those “what ifs” too.

It might be worth taking some time to set up your own system instead of letting Apple decide for you.


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