Monday, January 21, 2019

!Notifications

A week ago I disabled all notifications across all of my devices. Life is better this way. It's been an interesting experience that reminds me of life before mobile devices. How did we ever think it would be a good idea to sound that little email "ding," and put a message count graphic on everything?!? The other day I wrote a post called "Taking Charge Of My Attention", about leaving my phone at home thanks to my Apple Watch. This post is kind of a continuation of that thought. I believe multitasking is a fallacy; the human mind does not function well with interrupts.

Observations

  • Surprisingly, others are generally offended or upset when they learn that my notifications are disabled. I'm curious as to where this comes from. Is it rooted in envy? Disgust? Concern for me in that I might miss out on something?
  • Disabling notifications is actually quite difficult as the OS builders do NOT want us doing this. Fewer notifications means less engagement with their products. The list of features I would like to see around better supporting notifications control is long, and I can't see any of it getting prioritized anytime soon. The most important use case around notification handling that I'd like to see solved would be supporting a white-list of contacts that I want communications apps to notify me about when I receive messages from those designated people. Sounds simple and intuitive right? Turns out it's actually impossible to do with Apple products.
  • You can't disable the Phone app or its notifications. I use an app called Hiya to impede calls I don't want.

I find I'm much calmer, and in control now. I engage with apps and communication when I want to, not when they want me to. It takes awhile to get off the dopamine drip, but it feels great.

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