Am working on an important presentation and Outlook shows me a small pop-up to notify me of an email that has just come in. I glance at it and decide not to answer it at the moment, the presentation is far more important. Three minutes later, the phone chimes to tell me someone has replied to my tweet – once again breaking my chain of thought.
Disturbingly enough, if this sounds like your life, don’t worry. Possibly all of us digital natives are facing this problem. Our lives are rushing past us and our gadgets are increasingly increasingly getting more and more of our attention! Its not just our Push-enabled phones and applications that are to blame, even websites are becoming major time-sinks! Even going to Google these days shows you a big red notification in the top-right corner!
While there is no running away from this (the tech pundits say that in 2yrs time, we will all be watching Friends* and messaging friends from the TV), here are some things I did to improve the situation:
Switched-off Push notifications – Whatever the apps are notifying me about, it was not important. Facebook updates, Tweets, Path updates, LinkedIn updates, and Gmail. I didn’t stop using these apps. I just use them when I want to. So far, no one’s died because I replied to them 6 hours later.
Put all messages on silent – Now my phone only rings when someone calls. Yes, I do feel the urge to keep checking my phone for messages I may have missed, but that is waning.
Switched off notification emails – I didn’t need those “ABC has written on your wall” type of messages! Seriously!! Switched those emails off for practically every social service I am a member of.
Delayed email/ social media websites checking – I now check Gmail, Facebook and Twitter only after the most important task of the day is completed. This way, there is incentive to complete tasks sooner too!
Is there anything else that can be added to this list? What are your Ninja skills to take back your life?
*I hate Friends on multiple levels. I hate it from the core of my being and yet, I believe that for generations to come, Friends will remain popular. I will never understand why.