I just had to do it. I did. I turned my notifications off. My phone doesn’t ring. It doesn’t “ding” when I get a text message. I check my phone when I’m ready and available to turn my focus.
Did you know social media and mobile phones are the top leading distractions for people? I’m sure you aren’t surprised…you might be reading this now on your phone. But even Joshua Becker from Living Minimalist states: Our smart phones have quickly become one of the greatest sources of distraction in our lives. The average person now checks their mobile phone 150 times every day (just short of every 6 waking minutes).
My bold move didn’t happen overnight. It started with just talking on the phone. I can remember when I had my first daughter, phones didn’t have cameras yet but texting was definitely a new thing. Pre-kids I was available for people, parties and more parties. But post-kids, I couldn’t even call my mama back. And that was HARD for my family back in Chicago & Reno. They wanted to hear about everything happening in my new baby world. But honestly, I. Was. Freaking. Out. And if you weren’t walking in front of me within my one block radius, I didn’t have time. It wasn’t personal more so survival.
Now that’s not ideal. I know a ton of mothers who did a better job than me when they had kids. But once I had my children, I stopped talking on the phone significantly. I wanted to be present with my children and honestly I couldn’t attend to my caller’s needs and my children’s at the same time. I was on stress overload.
But even recently, after what felt like 6 years of drowning, I’m finally coming up for air and I am being even more intentional with what I do with my newly felt free time. I evaluated all distractions in my life and my smart phone was one of them. So, over the summer I turned my notifications off for my text messages because I found myself always running away from my kids to check my phone. And even if I didn’t immediately see who sent me a message, the “ding” noise alone had my mind curious and taking up mental space away from my present moment. Texting notifications off.
Lastly, I decided to turn my ringer off. I know, I know…that doesn’t make sense. What if someone is trying to call me right? Well, I’m being a little revolutionary here and betting that if it’s important, they will leave a message, call back or text me. It’s not like I go days without checking my phone…we all used to not have cell phones, remember? But this is my way of limiting my distractions and not being interrupted throughout the day in my life of wonderful.
And even beyond the technology invasion, I want you to also consider the people who you allow to have notification buttons ON in your life. Recently, an old friend reached out and asked if we could speak immediately over the phone. He was in a tough situation and needed help. Hmmmm…I was at work and as you might guess, I don’t make time to talk to people unless I have to. So I asked for clarification on the type of help the friend needed. None was given. Thus, I kept the notification button I had previously assigned him on OFF status. I have NO time for handling other people’s drama. I’m already raising two girls on my own and staying focused on living our best lives. I will NOT be distracted. And if people can’t recognize themselves as contributors to my best life, then I’m “unavailable”. Sounds harsh, right? But not really: how many people are trying to make their emergencies your priority today? How distracted are you right now?
The point is to live your best life. Technology, I’ve noticed, over the past 6-7 years has really invaded our spaces. We are now curving our necks down to view our smartphones more than we are looking up at the people we are with or even the glorious clouds in the sky. We might be missing moments. Additionally, in our everyday interactions with people, we have too many people’s notification buttons ON…turn them OFF! Let’s stay focused on our best lives. And that means cutting out the distractions.
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