Quiet Time: Turning off the smartphone notifications

smartphoneAt the beginning of the year, I changed all of the notification settings on my iPhone. Now, if I change the ring/silent switch to silent, my phone does nothing if I get a call or text message or any other notification. This change has been really nice.

Like most people, I used to have my phone set to vibrate if it was on the silent setting; however, I figured if I was some place where an audible ring was going to be a nuisance, then I probably shouldn’t be taking a phone call. So then, if I couldn’t take the call and had to wait to even check the voicemail, then I probably didn’t need to be alerted the instant it was received.

I’m sure you have been in a work meeting and have heard smartphones “silently” vibrating in pockets or on the table. It’s actually distracting. Not so much to you, but to the person who is receiving the alert. That person is no longer present. All of the sudden, with one silent vibration, his or her attention is no longer on the person speaking or the subject. His/her attention is now on the phone.

Who called me?
Should I reply with a text message and let them know I’m busy?
This will only take a second.

Of course, if you have all notifications on, your phone may also vibrate when it’s your turn to play games such as Candy Crush and Words with Friends. Then, there is a notification for each social media app. And another notification for emails… Is this disruption necessary?

I recently read an article that said smartphone users check their phones 150 times a day. WOW!!! Can you imagine doing anything else 150 times a day where it is not called an addiction?

  • Imagine smoking 150 cigarettes a day.
  • Imagine eating 150 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups a day.

I recognize not all addictions are unhealthy. So…

  • Imagine randomly dropping to the floor and doing one sit-up or push-up 150 times a day.
  • Imagine stopping to take 150 random pictures a day.

Anything else you can think of would probably be pretty disruptive. So why is it okay to check your smartphone and interrupt face-to-face time with your family, friends, or other humans, in general?

Is it okay to disrupt your time, your thoughts, and your interactions with others every 9.6 minutes to check your phone? (If you sleep 7 hours a night, your smartphone is disrupting your life every 6.8 minutes of the day.)

I like having my smartphone on silent – meaning there are no vibrations if a notification is received. I am less distracted. I am more present. And, I can focus on whoever or whatever is in front of me.

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2 thoughts on “Quiet Time: Turning off the smartphone notifications

  1. I’ve made it a point to always have my phone on “silent”. If someone calls me that is important or something that is urgent. The caller can leave a brief voicemail describing what’s going on. If they don’t leave one then the conversation would’ve probably been unimportant to begin with. I don’t like wasting money, but I REALLY don’t like wasting time.

    Great Post!

  2. I have a slightly different approach. My default for the phone sound, all of it, is off, and I don’t have it with me except when I want to use it. For example, it’s in the guest bathroom charging at night. That’s convenient because I weigh in there in the morning and record my weight on a phone app. It also stays in there while I go about doing whatever I have to do, breakfast, chores, etc. Later, I might check it or get it out to use some apps, the clock, the weather, etc. On rare occasions, I might have to wait for a phone call in order to respond. Then I have to carry it with me and how that is annoying!! After a few hours of juggling it while I’m trying to work or keeping track of it if I set it down, I’m quickly cured of wanting it on my person!

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