A couple of weeks ago, I shared this brilliant idea on Twitter…
Trying something new… Disabled all notifications on my phone except voice & messages in an effort to be less of a slave to the darned thing.
— Jim Mitchell (@jimmitchell) April 13, 2015
I suffered a bit of device withdrawal for the first couple days, but in the long run it was a great idea. Here are the results of my experiment.
- I’ve barely picked up my phone in the last 10 days. I used to check it every time the device made a chirp, ding, whistle or buzz — often times in the middle of a conversation I was having with someone else. Now, it barely comes out of my pocket. Freedom!
- I’m okay leaving my phone sitting on my desk when I walk away. I was using it to track my activity, so every time I got up to walk away, I had to be sure the thing was in my pocket to count steps. Last week, I picked up a Fitbit Flex on Craigslist, so the phone isn’t tracking that stuff anymore. This means I can get up, walk to the other room without having to know where my phone is at all times. Freedom!
- I’m actually using my phone as a phone. I’ve called more people in the last couple of weeks than I think I have in the last three months. I used to hate phone calls. Now, not so much. Freedom!
- I have this odd sense of calm when I don’t have my phone in-hand. In fact, I feel more liberated the farther I walk away from it. I might even be able to go a day leaving the thing at home by mistake and not have a panic attack. Freedom!
If you’re feeling like a slave to your device, try turning off all but the most critical notifications, and then just check it on your own time. After a while you’ll find the darned thing isn’t nearly as important as you thought it was, and there’s a whole lot more going on in life around you.