I was born in 1995, so my first smartphone was a BlackBerry Pearl, which had a physical keyboard. (Remember those?) I grew up at a time when social media was first starting to make waves, but not everyone was using it quite yet. My phone didn't even have a Facebook app; you had to use the phone's browser to check it. Over time, I've learned to love social media and use it frequently. But recently, I've found it to be a distraction. I turned off my social media notifications on my phone, and it's honestly one of the best decisions I've ever made.
That's not to say I don't love social media anymore. Trust me: I will always gladly post a good #TBT pic, and I regularly update my humble following in real time via my Instagram stories. However, I work from home, and my work requires me to constantly be on my computer and phone. I'm always plugged into my emails and notifications, and it seems like I never get a break from looking at my screen.
Earlier this year, I made the executive decision to turn off all of my notifications. Yes, all of them — including ones I personally don't use as much, my professional ones (like LinkedIn), and even general ones (like my Apple News updates). The only notifications that I get now are from my texts, emails, and calls. To be honest, I've even considered turning off my emails as well, but unfortunately, I need those on for work purposes.
The notifications were distracting me from more important things.
While I love being plugged in and "in the know," my notifications were getting to the point where I was constantly picking up my phone to look at it. Any time it lit up or buzzed, I immediately ran to check it out, especially if I had just posted something. (Who doesn't want to keep track of their likes?)
But because I was always picking up my phone, I got easily distracted from the work I was doing, and always seemed to be looking at my phone. Turning off the notifications has made it easier for me to focus on the things that I'm working on.
I've customized my phone's productivity features so I can keep track of everything.
When I tell people that I don't have notifications turned on, they always ask me how I'm able to keep track of everything. I have an iPhone, and the phone's productivity features and notification settings have made it easy for me to monitor my social media without real-time notifications.
I turn on the red "badges" so that I know if there are new notifications sitting in an app. I also use Screen Time to monitor how much time I'm spending on any given app, and I have time limits set to some of my most time-intensive apps, too.
Turning off my notifications has improved my overall productivity, as well as my relationship with social media.
I didn't get that many notifications to begin with, but when I turned them off, I found my productivity instantly increased. I don't pick up my phone as much as I used to, and it really allows me to plug in and finish my work.
I also feel like I have a healthier relationship with social media now that the notifications are off. I used to internally panic if I saw that a post wasn't getting too many likes, or if someone didn't respond to my comment. But now, it's the furthest thing from my mind, and I can always be pleasantly surprised if a post has decent engagement.
Turning off my notifications has overall made me a happier person. I no longer feel pressured for instant gratification or validation from my social media profiles, and I can still enjoy the time that I spend on the apps. I recommend it to anyone who's looking to improve their productivity and build a healthier relationship with their phone.