Imagine living in a huge room where you could listen to everyone no matter how far away they are. The room is filled with your boss, your colleagues, your extended family, your college friends, your school friends, the salesperson who got your number somehow. Basically, as long as someone has your phone number or your email-id, is present in this room. Now to make the situation worse, the residents of this imaginary room cannot find out what you are doing. And you have to live in this room all the time.
You have to eat, sleep, work, study, play, read, write, listen to music, watch a movie, have sex, shit, even drive(don’t ask me how I’m just trying my best to give an analogy here) - literally do everything in the same room. How long will it take before you go crazy and just want to leave the room at any cost?
Believe it or not, all of us are living in similar virtual rooms and hardly notice the side-effects it has on us.
The least these notifications do is to distract us for a few minutes and the worst is to completely give up the task at hand. We might not notice it, but the few minutes distraction has some after-effects that take more time to recover from and get the same level of focus back.
If we dare to avoid the one short and cute ring of a single notification, the sender who is unaware of the gravity of our assignment, sends few more within a minute, just as he keeps getting more thoughts in absence of our participation; util it gets too hard to avoid. Not to mention the annoyance of half the group of more than twenty people sending various expressions whenever someone sends something interesting.
Now I understand we can mute the groups, put the phone on silent while doing something important. But we do not always remember to put the phone on silent every time we start doing something important. We can make a habit of putting the phone on silent while studying, while writing a blog post, or while doing any task we know requires focus. But there are many other tasks we do not realize we had to be turn-off distractions before starting.
At least once a month, one of my teacher who taught me 10 years ago and managed to get my number adds me to a group of about 100 strangers and starts discussing exam results and things he taught in class.
Every time there is an activity involving more than two people a new group is created, but never deleted, to keep everyone informed.
I personally, being impolite, do leave the groups I can. But still, I am part of at least three groups on WhatsApp.
The solution I could think of and am practicing since yesterday is: I turn off the wifi and phone-internet, turn it on only when I am free and ready to respond to the messages. I have uninstalled all the apps that send me notifications, except WhatsApp and the text message app, from my phone. I keep the office-email and office-chat-app close while at work.
If you think you are too busy and have too many important text notifications to receive, remember this:
If it is not worth a phone call, it can wait for thirty minutes.
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