We all know about the effect notifications have on us.
We hear the beep or chime or buzz and get this feeling of urgency that there is something we need to attend to.
No matter where you are, if you hear or see that notification you immediately want to see what it is.
It’s kind of fun not knowing what it is, is it an email or a text? Who is it from? I wonder if it’s important?
All of a sudden, you were working on something or talking to someone but now your brain is thinking about that notification and what it could be.
It’s as if you’re sitting at a dinner table and someone drops a present off and places it in front of you.
You were just having a nice chat over dinner but all you want to do now is open that present and find out what it is.
I fell victim to this way too many times. At first I tried to dim my reaction and sense of urgency by placing the phone on vibrate. But now when I feel that little buzz I instinctively reach my hand in my pocket to see what it is.
Over the past month, I’ve turned the phone on silent and flip it over so I can’t see any blinking lights.
Emails, texts, phone calls come through and I can’t see any of it and my brain just keeps working.
It’s a relief.
I like the feeling of not being tethered to my phone or a slave to it.
I check it when I have time for it. If I’m working hard on something, I don’t want to stop in the middle of it because Pizza Hut decided to email me about their new special.
I feel much more productive when I am not having to check my phone due to constant notifications.
I know this is something that not everyone can do. There are people with kids who feel the need to have notifications on for that “just in case” moment.
Try turning off the emails, tweets, and other app notifications. Leave just the phone and text notifications on.
For someone who works remote, you turn into a slave to Slack and email. You see 10 unread messages and already feel a sense of dread about more work that is getting piled onto your already huge load.
I admit, I do check my work email a lot. Because I get emails were someone wants something done in 30 minutes (no idea why it’s so last minute they almost never say). But when I get emails asking for something vague, or if it’s a question, or something that can wait, I mark it as unread and get to it later.
If you keep stopping what you’re doing to put out one fire and another and another, you forget about the fire you were just tackling and it becomes a huge mess.
It’s stressful to constantly be plugged in. Your boss feels like they can email you at 9pm asking about something or your coworker can ask for help proofreading something they worked on over the weekend. I won’t respond to work emails after 5pm and not on the weekends.
It’s not that I won’t work on the weekends, it’s that I spend all week being tied to my email for 8 hours a day that I need a chance to cool off and not be bothered with it.
During the week, usually around 12 or 1pm, I head to the gym to clear my head after working all morning. Then I come back to working and feel ready to go. That little break where my head is able to clear out and I can listen to a podcast or read a book is really helpful. Even if you can’t work out during the day, try taking a walk during lunch to get outside. Just spend a little time not thinking about working.
I’m just about to write another blog on separating work from home, especially working remotely. Check it out in a bit!