The Small Change I Made this Week that has Made the Biggest Difference | FAQ Friday

Hi Friends! IT’S FRIDAY!!! And I’m taking the day OFF {After teaching a FlyBarre class, of course!}, which is why this post is coming to you later than normal! I think my last real day off was before Labor Day, so I am welcoming this day of self care with open arms, a massage, and all of the praise hand emoji’s!

I am giving you a warning right now…I am going to try my best not to sound like I am screaming from a soapbox, but I truly didn’t realize how passionate I was about this until I started writing! Can we talk about something that is slowly but surely sucking all of your time and productivity away? You may not even realize that it is doing it, but once you do, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it! There is a good chance you are reading this very post on what I am talking about. It sits in your pocket, on your desk, next to your bed, in your purse, and even on your wrist! You’ve probably guessed by now…YES, I am talking about your smart phone!

More specifically? I want to talk about push notifications…those little banners that flash up on your screen, every time you receive a text message, email, Snapchat, SportsCenter update, Facebook friend request, Instagram comment…you get the point! There are A LOT of apps that want to pull for your attention at all hours of the day. I don’t know about you, but, I find them to be incredibly distracting! Your time is precious and is worth much more than a PING on a touchscreen.

Before we get too deep in this…I want you to think about it. How many times does your phone light up or buzz in an hour? Each time it does, you notice, right? Your mind starts to wander to who may have texted you or that email you have been waiting to receive all week. Even if you’re not interacting with the notification, it still grabs your attention. It still takes you away from the moment that you are living in.

These notifications have been designed by marketers and app developers to capture your attention–to pull you right back into their app. In 2013 (YES 2013…this was FOUR years ago), Apple released that they had pushed out 7.4 trillion notifications. I don’t even want to know what the number looks like now! That is 7.4 trillion intentional distractions from consumers’ daily work, life, and time with family & friends!

OK…so, what did I do this week? I was feeling ruled by my phones and my email and by that constant pinging in my back pocket. Being connected to work at the touch of a button is great, but it is also really exhausting! Just the other night, I woke up in the middle of the night and checked the time on my phone. On my screen, I saw three emails and a few text messages. From there, I fell back asleep, but I actually had a dream about answering the emails and woke up again, tossing and turning. That was when I knew things had gone too far!

So…I finally made the jump and I turned off all of my push notifications. (Ok, most of them–I will let myself receive notifications from ride share apps because girl’s gotta be on time for her Ubers!)

I have long since turned off push notifications for Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, but I had notifications turned for select priority messages in Gmail and all text messages. The “important things.” With group texts and wedding season and the craziness of life in general, my phone had pretty much become a vortex of distraction. Every ping had me wondering something different and made my mind start to race. And, after taking a long look at what each notification was actually telling me, I realized that 99.9% of them were not urgent!

The reality of my life right now is that I work anywhere between 75 and 85 hours a week, and I have a really hard time turning off my work. Each and every moment I have to be productive and focused is treasured, and on the other end of the spectrum? The very rare time that I have to spend with family, friends, or relaxing on the couch is so precious! I don’t need my phone interrupting that time.

So, what did I learn? First, I love knowing that I am able to respond to messages and emails when I am ready, when I am not distracted and when I am at a good stopping point in my work. I am much less likely to skip over messages this way and can answer with thought and care, rather than whatever comes to mind as an emotional response to the notification. Second, does that little red notification bubble with a number in it drive anyone else nuts? (Maybe this is just me, but they drive me absolutely bonkers!) By turning off your push notifications, they also disappear too–praise be!

How many times have you been in the middle of an email, only to get a ping from a text message, check it, and then completely forget the premise of the email you were drafting? It can’t just be me, guys! A quiet screen has helped me quiet my mind AND has helped me be more productive when it is time to sit down to crank out work.

Though I will be turning text notifications back on for wedding days and during emergencies when tending to messages immediately is important, I have so been enjoying these few days of a quiet phone screen and intentionally choosing when I am on my screen and when I am taking care of the task at hand.

If you have made it to the end of this post, first…congratulations & thank you! Now, I want to give you a challenge! Take a look at your phone’s activity over the next day or so. How many times do you notice it light up, and what are these notifications really telling you? Is it urgent? How many of these messages and notifications need to be tended to within the next 5 minutes? You’ll be really surprised at how many of these messages can wait! From there, I want you to take just one app and turn the notifications off! See if you miss it. From there, keep ticking off apps, until you are only receiving notifications from the apps that you truly feel are worthy of your immediate attention. For me, I’ve kept Uber, Mobile Parking & banking apps on. They don’t bump onto my phone screen often, and usually, I know when the notifications are coming!

If you work on a Mac (and even some models of PC!), you may also receive push notifications on your computer too! You can also turn these notifications off under your settings, and I highly recommend doing so! After all, if you’re cranking out work on your computer or enjoying an episode or 10 on Netflix, who really needs to know they received another Facebook Friend request from a random acquaintance from high school?

Thanks for hearing me rant today, friends! Your life is waiting Cheers to more productivity & uninterrupted time with the people you love most!

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