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Why Notifications are Killing Your Vibe & Productivity

Jul 08, 2019

Did you know the constant activity from your phone can not only keep you from being present in conversation but really affect your overall quality of life?

In the age of technology there is constant access to vast amounts of information. The basket overflows; people get overwhelmed; the eye of the storm is not so much what goes on in the world, it is the confusion of how to think, feel, digest, and react to what goes on.

— Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

For myself, like most things, this habit hadn't started overnight. Two years ago I started turning off almost all of my notifications, and it was a game changer. All notifications were turned off, except for texts and calls. The other day I realized the notifications had slowly started creeping back in. Maybe I was monitoring a specific Instagram post for a client, or I was waiting for a reply on messenger, or I downloaded a new app that automatically has the notifications turned on. Seemingly overnight I was finding myself constantly distracted from the constant visual and audible interruptions from my phone.

Socially, there is a certain fascination that comes with 'busyness', and it's worn as a badge of honor. That is a whole other conversation, in which we should value the merit of efficiency instead of over booked schedules, but let's save that... for now, let's note that yes, technology is amazing and with it we can accomplish things never imagined possible. BUT. As individuals, the constant connectedness is forcing us to sacrifice some beautiful things, and we aren't aware we even doing it...

So what we are giving up by having the notifications turned ON?

1. People + Being Present: Time with people, whether loved ones or building business relationships, people really do remember how we made them feel. Building these solid interactions are vital not only for our businesses and careers but for our own personal fulfillment, and if you are constantly distracted by your smart watch or phone going off, you giving the other person the impression that they are simply not worth your attention.

2. Efficiency: It's called 'switch cost' and that's the valuable time and mental clarity you give up while you read that text message or notification and then attempt to switch back to what you were originally doing. People will claim to be ‘excellent’ multitaskers’ but some also claim to be really great ‘drunk drivers’ — we know it simply isn’t physiologically true. Every time an alert pops up, we have to process what it is, whether it is a positive or negative event, and then whether or not an action or response is required.

3. Your Mental State: Constant notifications can equate to higher levels of anxiety. Above, we outlined the processes that happen every time a notification goes off, so here I just want to acknowledge that a text or message that is received as negative can really break up our flow, or with productive work or conversation.

How do we do better?

1. Look At Your Usage, The Data Doesn’t Lie: For iPhone users, go to settings and then select 'screen time'. Take a nice hard look at how much time you are really spending on your phone. Even better, how many times do you pick up your phone in a day? How many notifications went off? What could we do with all those hours? First step in recovery, be aware of the problem.

2. Turn Off Notifications: Turn off email notifications. News. Social media. Fitness trackers. Whatever is going off that you don't need to see. I leave on calls and texts, but I turn off the preview for texts. I am already distracted by certain people texting me (clients primarily), but it helps not to get stuck by reading the message. This allows me to answers texts, emails, answer phone calls during blocked off times during the day. When all else fails, put your phone in airplane mode and put it away.

3. Unsubscribe From Anything You Don't LOVE: I mean, I know you love me already, but let's imagine you didn't... you can end filling up that spam-filled inbox with newsletters from restaurants, shopping and social media. It took me almost 3 months, but whenever I get an email from a company I don't particularly care for or am actively shopping from, I unsubscribe. This hack alone has saved me over an hour a day of sorting through emails or getting distracted.

On A Personal Note…

Real talk. My life is full from building empires and connecting with some badass inspiring people. Being able to focus and get things done is my superpower, but I simply cannot do that with constant distractions.

Today, I would love to challenge you to turn off some of the notifications, put your phone away during that conversation with a friend, put away the smart watch… clear the mind clutter from technology and let me know how you feel.

You never know, you may find yourself being just a bit more present, peaceful and productive.

Besos, Sharon

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