My iPhone pings, a flash of light appears and I’m curious “who loves me?” The adrenalin courses through my veins as I anticipate who wants my attention. Suddenly I’m pulled out of my real world, my real conversation and my real experience to service someone’s message, and the need to be reply becomes my priority. Just because I’m accessible doesn’t mean I have to always be available BUT the rules of ONline requires me to be ON as much as possible and I don’t believe it’s a healthy way to live.
I realise more and more that I have become enslaved to my notifications, partially addicted to the next electronic beep , curious about who wanted and needed me and my attention. The amount of times my mind has been distracted by the glowing screen, the shiny banner with a ‘relevant’ message hurled in my direction has stopped me from being present with whatever and whomever I was with.
I don’t want to live my life on call to others. I don’t want to live my life on someone else’s timeline. Sometimes I want to be unavailable and have my own personal version of flight mode. So I’ve taken matter into my own hands and turned off my notifications. I am no longer notified if you message, comment, like, share, request or tag me. You can still do it, but I won’t know about it until I’m ready and willing to throw myself into the social vortex.
Now I’m not going to lie, going into the abyss of no notifications has been a strangely scary prospect. The deafening silence of no beeps and the lack of the enticing notification glows on my phone has resulted in a touch of loneliness. It’s strange to stumble upon a new message as opposed to having an alert. Yet the virtual connection has been replaced by real world relationships where I sit with friends and colleagues completely undistracted by the temptation of others. I have replaced the slot-machine sounds with human company which allows me to be present, peaceful, manageable and mentally necessary and I can honestly say I’m loving it!
Very few things in life require us to be available immediately. I’m not suggesting going off the grid and living in a cave. I’m not recommending you quit social media. I’m simply asking you to consider whether or not the notifications on your phone and computer are enhancing or disrupting your existence. Besides my time, my attention is my most valuable asset and I have decided that I would rather invest my time and attention in the things that matter to me as opposed to the things that matter to other people. So if you want me, message or email but please be aware I’ll get back to you in my own time but at least when I do you’ll know I will be less distracted and more present with you.
Oh and incase of emergencies, you’re always welcome to call.