‘Would you like to enable push notifications?’
How many of us click yes on that little button when we set up our social apps for the first time? I know I did. How else would I know what was going on? What if I missed someone sending me a message? God forbid I forget to reply to someone. But when you start getting 100+ likes on an Instagram post and multiple retweets on your latest Twitter promo, having notifications enabled can get stressful. I recently turned all my push notifications off, and I thought I’d share with you what changed.
I guess I’ll start at the beginning; I deleted my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram apps for a few days a couple of months ago, and when I re-downloaded them I didn’t enable push notifications. At the time it wasn’t really something I thought was going to make a huge amount of difference, but I knew something needed to change in terms of the habits I’d made when using my phone so I just pressed ‘no’. My mindset when deleting the apps was that I was using them mindlessly and too often, so re-downloading them without the notifications just seemed like the next logical step.
It was only after I did this and realised just how many notifications I’d been getting that I wondered why I’d never turned them off before. It seemed crazy that I’d just lived with endless ‘x liked your photo’ notifications filling up my lock screen and not even really considered turning them off before.
Despite knowing that I was mindlessly opening and scrolling through the likes of Twitter and Instagram multiple times per day, I’d never really thought about why I was doing it. To clear my notifications I tended just to open the apps rather than going through the notifications individually, thus giving myself an excuse to procrastinate for a few minutes. But then of course I’d get a new notification as soon as I put the phone down, and the cycle would continue.
So what did I gain from turning my notifications off?
As I’ve already hinted at, I didn’t really think it was going to make a difference, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. All the notifications I actually care about now take centre stage as I’m no longer filling up my lock screen with useless crap. My phone isn’t buzzing every five minutes causing me to get distracted, and I feel like I’m using my phone because I want to be rather than because I need to be. Obviously I am still prone to a mindless scroll every now and then, but for the most part I’m checking a few bits here and there and interacting with content I love, then going about my day as normal. I’ll return to my phone later on (usually when I see something I want to take a picture of for Instagram) and maybe have another quick scroll.
Turning my notifications off has obviously not cured me of my bad habits completely, but it is something I’m glad I did. This does mean I’m a little slower at replying on Twitter, but I’m no longer obsessing (too much) over likes on Instagram or struggling to find a text I was sent in amongst a sea of other notifications, so I’m pretty happy with my decision!
I would love to know how you feel about notifications. Do you need them to feel connected? Or does the thought of a notification-filled lock screen make you feel a bit sick in your mouth? Let me know!