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“You’ve Got Mail”

This feature, that lives on every social media, is probably the biggest cause of mental disorder in the modern age. Yep, I’m talking about notifications.

So, what’s so special about notifications that would require one to “master the skill” of being notified? Well, we live in the busiest time in the history of humanity. Bells, buzzers, ringers and tones are begging for our attention. Many of my friends have left various social channels because managing the constant barrage of notifications began to feel like it was ruling their lives. This is tragic. Who’s in charge of these notifications anyway?

FOMO

Notifications are often the very first thing we see when we log in. It tells us that someone else is either talking to us, about us or responding to a piece of information that we disseminated at an earlier time. Who doesn’t like knowing that other people are thinking about us?

Employers are working to keep people from checking their notifications throughout the day. However, I think it’s a matter of education and will someday become the new cigarette break – The Social Notification Break, or something like that. I’m sure the college kids will come up with something more catchy.

I can recall one good friend who told me that his wife requires that he puts his phone in another room after 7PM so they can enjoy each other’s company, free from distraction. I have personally been the victim of, “too much information,” and made the choice to place my device out of view. That put me on the path to discover a better option.

How does one go through life without letting these pesky notifications dull the value of living? I’m not sure we do. Not completely of course, but I do have a few suggestions.

To start, I turned to my email activity: I have recently decided that any email subscription that does not get some type of action gets unsubscribed. I am taking this model to my social notifications. If I want to know what’s going on in your Facebook group, and I’m not capable of remembering I’m a member and can’t just go there and check, then I guess it wasn’t that important in the first place.

I’ve turned off every nonessential notification and my life has improved greatly. Recently, I had a situation with my iPhone which forced me to download and re-install every app I’ve ever used. I’m fairly certain that 100% of the apps that I have reinitialized to date have asked permission to send me Push Notifications – I’m happy to say that I have denied them all, and I do not feel as though I am missing out on anything.

Notifications are there to serve a purpose. If you give them a chance, they will ruin your life…do not give them that chance.

Six Shots

This post is part of a series. To read ahead, click here.