My iPhone used to be a very attention demanding device. It used to buzz, beep, and alert me for all sorts of things, most of which I didn’t need or want to know about. My iPhone was sending me too many notifications.
When I was participating in a meeting, sitting through church, or enjoying a quiet dinner with my wife, my iPhone would distract me about things I didn’t care about. It didn’t bother me just when I was in meetings or otherwise trying to focus on something, though. My phone distracted me when I was shopping at Home Depot buying stuff for my house, or when I was cleaning said house, while I was watching TV, and when I was driving to work. I really didn’t care that someone re-tweeted something I wrote, or that a stock I was watching hit a certain price, or even that I got a few emails in my inbox, but my iPhone alerted me nonetheless.
The iPhone was alerting me to all sorts of things. Even when it wasn’t buzzing and flashing an alert, it was putting red numbers on top of app icons, and that was distracting. I’d open my phone to look something up, and I’d notice that a game had an alert bubble on it. And down the rabbit trail of distraction I would go.
It was incessant.
Instead of my life being dictated by my phone, and the alerts and reminders that it tells me I need to know about, I prefer to set my phone to not bother me. I want to focus on what I’m doing, and not be distracted by things that I likely don’t need to know. There are a few exceptions, such as the burglar alarm app for my office, my to do list, and my calendar. Other than this small handful of apps, I don’t want to be bothered by my phone. I don’t like feeling like I’m at the mercy of my device.
To combat this, I disabled almost all notifications on my phone. I no longer get alerts about incoming email (except from a handful of “VIP” people, like my wife and my employees), Facebook notifications don’t interrupt me (instead, I open Facebook when I want to look at it), and random games don’t remind me that my friends are getting more points than I am.
Now, my phone is mostly still and quiet.
With my phone set to be mostly quiet, the alerts that I do receive actually get my attention. When my phone buzzes, beeps, or adds a red number to an app, I pay attention to it as something that I specifically asked to be alerted about.
I’m now a few months in, and let me just tell you … it’s wonderful. I’m still able to keep up on everything I need to keep up on, but my phone isn’t bothering me all day long. I wish I would have figured this out years ago!
If you’d like to set your phone to not alert you to things that don’t matter, follow these steps:
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