Humans are social creatures. We like to group together and help each other. Most of our actions have altruistic intentions and consequences. At the same time, selfish pleasure plays a big role in how we approach others. We like knowing that people care about us. We enjoy being validated. It feels good to know that we are not alone. However, managing notifications can become time consuming and distracting.
The internet has given us a way to quantify these feelings. We have notifications, likes, and comments to define how much people enjoy interacting with us. Seeing a notification pop up on our screens gives us our much wanted validation. This is both a blessing and a burden. It is important to interact with those we care about. On the other hand, these notifications are often of low quality and distract us from reaching our goals. Many people relate notifications to spinning the a slot machine, or taking drugs. Every time our phone flashes we get a little hit of pleasure. Notifications are the fast food of the internet, and we should be eating better.
My phone is in a constant state of blowing up. I run many social media accounts and there is always someone interacting with me at any given time. This can become very overwhelming for me, especially on days where I am busy with other tasks. To avoid these stressors, I take a bit of time every week to manage my notifications.
Every social media platform has settings for how and when to show notifications. On top of regular notifications which alert us of interactions, most apps have other forms of notifications sent to our devices. These alerts include recommendations, news, and highlights. I have noticed that I find myself swiping away these extra notifications. I love getting messages from friends, but I don’t really care if the Royal Wedding is a trending hashtag. I have since turned off the extra notifications. If I want an update on something I will take the time to go look for it myself.
Most of our phones have some form of Do Not Disturb settings that will only show important notifications while turned on. These features work great when we are getting things done. I have just started using these settings recently and so far it has worked out well. There was one time where I accidentally left it on for two days and couldn’t figure out why none of my friend wanted to chat, but that is besides the point. Being able to shut down the stream of notifications for a few hours can be very important and can help us stay on track. It can also help us begin to break the habit of checking our phones every few minutes.
I recently opted in for the beta testing for the new Android P. One of my favorite features so far is the ability to manage notifications. If I swipe away a specific notification multiple times, the phone will ask me if I would like to block these notifications from the future. While I haven’t told the phone to do so, the fact that it asks keeps me aware of how many unneeded notifications I truly have. It is important to take a bit of time and look at the notifications we receive on a daily basis.
I love my phone. Fifteen years ago I had an entire room of equipment that was one-tenth as powerful as my smart phone. The big difference is that the room full of equipment was not in my pocket all day. It is not constantly beckoning for me attention. It wasn’t constantly recommending products or tracking my location. This is not all bad, but we should no longer let our phones run rampant. Notifications may make us feel good, but we should be putting more effort into finding a higher level of satisfaction.
How do you feel about the amount of notifications you receive on a daily basis?
What strategies do you use to manage alerts? Let me know on social media!