Social media, shopping and chat – are you controlling your smartphone or is your smartphone controlling you?
From a student who wants to clear his or her entrance exam, a man who wants to buy a house for their family, a sports enthusiast who wants to wake up at 5 am to practice to the millennials working hard to get their career settled, everyone wants to grow.
For that, we all know, we need to go about things with full attention and focus. Only that can give us the desired results.
Now take a look at your diary, journal or sticky note, whenever you might have your to-do list for 2018. Done? Yes, I am serious! If you are somewhere outside, go home, and follow the steps along with reading this article. This is not the first article you are reading on productivity; we all read a ton of articles/books and watch inspirational videos. Why doesn’t the motivation last forever? It's not the fault of the writer or speaker; it's because we get used to our routine life and forget about the change we want to bring in our life. Let’s not let that happen with this article so keep a pen and notepad handy.
Note down all the apps which you use the most and frequently get notifications from. Now for at least 10 minutes analyse how much time you are spending on smart devices and how many times do push notifications to grab your attention, leading to you losing your focus from your actual work.
Done? So now let’s discuss how these app notifications are affecting our progress and how to use them efficiently to take care of our time, money and productivity.
Time and productivity
Whenever you are busy with your work and get notifications from any messaging apps, social media websites or shopping apps, you leave your work to read that notification.
That notification does not only waste your 5-10 minutes, but when you return to your original task, you waste more time in thinking about that comment on Facebook, Whatsapp, or that 50 percent off sale. It’s only after some time that you can focus completely on the work at hand.
Let’s say you are reading a book. You get a chat notification or a “You have a New Match” notification. That is sure to distract you; you end up convincing yourself that “I have read so much, let me take a 20-minute break” and you will leave everything to impress that stranger. Nothing wrong in that, but this lack of focus means you will need double you actually need to complete the work.
You come home from work and are having a conversation with your family. Then be with them and don’t let chat notifications divert your attention from family time. If you are with your better half, don't let that email notification ruin your personal time.
Exceptions are always there so don't tell me that you are the CEO/Head of Department and work depends on your reply. It's not that all notifications are a waste of time and don't add any value in your life.
But if at work you get a notification from a tech startup/media site that someone raised X million dollars, someone is shutting down their startup, or bitcoin prices dropped by 10%, chances are you spend a significant amount of time reading that article along with other reference articles. This diverts your attention into other stories, taking you away from your actual work.
Reading this article when you are supposed to complete other important tasks? Then I would suggest you bookmark this or note down in your to-do list that you will read it later.
Are you one of those people who only shops when the need arises? Or are you a shopaholic who is always ready to purchase with one push notification which goes “Hurry Up, grab this deal right now. 60% off on…” All these shopping notifications take money away from you, but could lead you to sharing this information with your colleague. So it turns out that your notification does not only affect your time and money, but also that of others.
Everyone from investors Warren Buffet and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala to entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Richard Branson have reached their position because of their money management skills. Memorise this quote for your long-term financial freedom:
“If you buy things you don't need, you will soon sell things you need”. - Warren Buffett
Useful if used wisely
When I figured out that these push notifications were affecting me in some way or the other, I decided to turn off all notifications of social media, chat app, and every other app that could divert my focus during work hours. When I was discussing the same topic with my other friends, one of them told me that turning off the social media/chat app notifications led to the mind wondering about things (FOMO), leading to more clicks on the apps. One of them said that their company doesn’t allow smartphones so people used to go to the washroom to use a smartphone.
No one will ever get stuck because of your one reply; If it’s that important, they can always call you. Now think: are you controlling your smartphone or is your smartphone controlling you?
For fashion designers, shopping app notifications are very important. There are many business owners who run their business through social media or chat applications, and notifications are important for them as well. There is no golden rule of productivity and no single app can be blamed. So have a look at your app list and turn off app notifications impeding your progress.
I agree that throughout the day different apps do bring in value but:
1) The first thing we do in the morning affects our whole day.
2) The last thing we do before sleeping affects our subconscious mind throughout the night.
So try to avoid your smartphone for half an hour before you hit the bed and after you wake up. Instead, read a book or magazine and try to adopt a good habit such as yoga, exercise, spiritual reading, walking or whatever suits you.
There are still 11 months in 2018, so if you missed January, don't let other 11 months go in the same way.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)