Phones seem to be a very central part of most of our lives these days. Even the old fogies who used to moan at us for having our eyes glued to our screens are playing Candy Crush and sharing mildly offensive posts about Brexit on their Facebook feeds. These little machines that are capable of so much have such a tight grip on us. Often when I leave my house, the first thing I check I have is my phone. Not my purse which I need to purchase anything. Or my keys which I need to get back into my house. So I decided to turn my notifications off and see how it impacted my life.
I spend a lot of time on my phone, more than I would like to admit. Apple’s ‘Screen Time’ feature has really shown me just how much time I spend with my phone in my hand. Before I really get into this post I want to add a little disclaimer – I am not demonising phones. My phone is my lifeline. It’s how I talk to my loved ones when I’m not with them, how I connect with like-minded people from all over the world and how I see how I would look like as a man on Snapchat. The point of this post is to see what I can do when my phone is in my hand for less time during the day.
On Sunday the 12th of May, I went through my settings and turned all notifications off. The only ones I kept turned on where my calendar, text and phone calls because these are essential to me. Other than those three, everything was completely turned off. At first, this was hard because I’m used to my phone buzzing every few minutes. Now, writing this post on Monday the 20th of May, I am going to tell you what happened during this week without any notifications.
My phone usage was considerably less
No surprise here really. According to my Screen Time data, I used my phone a whole 10% less than the week before. While this number isn’t really huge, it is still a decrease which made me happy. I’ve been off university for the last few weeks so I haven’t used my phone that much.
I used my phone for a total of 48 hours and 20 minutes. 18 hours of that was on entertainment which is unsurprising. Most nights I go to sleep listening to podcasts. 17 hours of that was on social media which again, makes sense. Then the rest of the hour’s count as ‘Other’ which could be games, productivity apps, health apps, etc. My time on my phone felt like it was more productive and positive.
I felt a little more positive
I’m not going to pretend that me using my phone less changed my life and made me my bestest ever self but it did help me be a little more positive and optimistic. Of course with world news being on every platform you go on, there is no escape from the constant doom and gloom that consumes the world so having not reading the chronicle of how terrible the world is every day just made me feel lighter. These things happen whether I look at them or not, this I know but not being bombarded with it kinda helped me focus more on my own progress and change.
My social media engagement plummeted
Now, I didn’t cry when my Pinterest MUV went from 99k to 84k but there was a tear there. Being a blogger, this was the only con about turning all notifications off because engagement is important. I’ve been trying to make an effort to communicate with other bloggers recently and this really blew that out of the window. I wasn’t being active on social media myself or being interactive with others. If I wasn’t a blogger then this wouldn’t mean anything to me. But because I am this is the only thing that put a downer on the experience.
Will I be keeping my notifications turned off?
Yes! I think that I might turn Twitter notifications back on but put an hour limit on the app. This is because Twitter is my main way of communication when it comes to my blog and I can tell the difference between when I’m active and when I’m not. It’s done wonders for my productivity and I feel like I actually do have time to do stuff. I know that hours weren’t added onto my day but with my phone in my hand less, I got loads more done. With no notifications, I check my social media maybe three or four times a day which is a huge decrease. The quote “out of sight, out of mind” really fits this situation.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you got something from this post! I am thinking of turning this into a series where I try things recommended for better well-being and tell you whether or not they help. How does that sound?
♡ Have you got all your notifications on? If not, what benefits do you think that has?
“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives” – Steven Spielberg.
Until next time,