Giving Notice to Notifications

notificationsA few weeks ago, Debbie and I went with our family (including two sets of grandparents) on a Disney cruise to Alaska. Additionally, we spent a few extra days enjoying Vancouver, British Columbia. Our trip was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and to say I enjoyed it would be an incredible understatement.

While traveling, I decided to take a break from social media, my iPhone, and my RSS subscriptions. I turned off all notifications including my email. (I will confess I did check messages a couple of times during the trip just to make sure I didn’t miss anything time sensitive, but my phone hardly if ever chimed.) We returned a week ago. I dipped my toe back into everything briefly when we first got home, but then I retreated again. I haven’t turned the notifications back on, and I’m thinking I might not do it ever. I don’t want my email and subscriptions being pushed to me every fifteen minutes any more. I want to leave my devices in another room and continue to forget about them for a few more days. I want to ride bikes around the park some more with Eric and Sam. I want to play more soccer with Andrew. (We dominated the sports deck one evening.) I want to watch more Pixar movies and talk about princesses with Evelyn. I want to take more holding-hands-and daydreaming walks with Debbie. Yes, I’m still clinging to my vacation, but maybe something has changed, too.

I appreciate technology. I find it immensely useful. I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made through social media and the opportunity to read and learn with people all over the world. It’s important and it’s worthwhile to be able to get access to information. I’m grateful for my iPhone, for Twitter, and for RSS feeds, but I’ve allowed the notifications too much power and control over me. I’ve become a dog salivating at the sound of the bell, but I’ve decided to stop. So, I’m giving notice to notifications. I’m taking charge again. If you need me, feel free to call, text, email, tweet or Facebook me. I’ll get back to you, it just may not be right away…

You may guess from this post that I’m way behind in my reading for the month of July, and you’d be right. I’ll get around to reading and catching up, but I think Im going to postpone my July “Supremes” post and combine it with August. Thanks for reading.

6 comments

  1. John T. Spencer

    I’m glad you’re back and I’m really intrigued by the whole “no notifications” concept. I wonder if, like the no-metrics concept, it takes the gamification element out of social media.

    • Philip

      I’m not sure whether it removes the element or not, but I don’t feel as pulled to check my phone and iPad constantly. I’m more present with the people around me and that’s a good thing.

  2. Jeremy Macdonald

    I turned off email notifications a long time ago. I check my email just a couple times a day. As for other notifications, I turn off my notifications during the day (only leaving my phone ringer and text message tone on). I miss a few things here and there, but I’m far more focused and less worried about “what’s going on without me.” I’ve done it a lot during the summer too. It’s been nice, I have to say. I am making an effort to be as disconnected as possible nowadays. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not yet. Time will tell. I’m glad you enjoyed the cruise. I’m still waiting for your visit to Oregon 🙂

    • Philip

      I would love to visit Oregon. I thought of you as we were flying that direction, although we never flew into Oregon airspace. I don’t necessarily want to be disconnected, but I do want to be focused on the people and matters right in front of me as much as possible. My phone ringer is also on, but I’m trying to keep it on vibrate as much as possible. I’ve turned the sound off on text messages, too, but I do have them showing up on the lock screen. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to get away with my plan. During the school day, I’ll probably have to modify my approach somewhat. We’ll see. Thanks for commenting, Jeremy. By the way – go B.C. Lions! (I have a Lions T-shirt now.)

  3. Sheila Stewart

    I like that you shared this and are doing this, Philip. Your “want to do more of…” list is very heartwarming 🙂 Great to hear how positive your trip was! Here’s to more good summer memories!