Here they are:
They didn’t always look that way. Like most smartphone users, I used to set all my alerts to interrupt my life the second anything came in. Voice calls. Emails. Texts. Software alerts. Website comments. RSS updates. (Keep in mind this was before social media, so things have gotten worse.)
These distractions understandably drove my wife crazy because I was, in essence, having an affair with my phone. White lies were told when asked, “Blake, what were you doing?” Often times I’d leave the room – or wherever it was we were vacationing – for “a quickie” to avoid sideways glances that accurately accused me of being elsewhere in thought, priority, and identity.
I did this for a couple of years until it drove me crazy. I had formed a love/hate disorder with my phone. I liked it for the conveniences it did then (and now), but I knew I was unable to have a personal life with my leash-phone around. So I began purposefully leaving it behind on nights and weekends.
And then I had a brilliant idea: Why not turn off all alerts except for voice calls? No text alerts. No app notices. No status updates. Nothin’.
The moment I flipped the switch, my personal, love, and social life did this:
And although seemingly counter-intuitive, my professional life did the same. An upward spiral to be exact (it’s true!) Self-absorbed work-a-holics won’t believe me – I know the feeling; I used to be one – but after making the switch to alert-free phone settings, I’ve had three consecutive years of record income. Even better, my thousandaire coffers are still trending upward. (Yeah, baby. Envy me. I drive a Dodge!)
Admittedly, not everyone has the same psychological wiring as I do. And I don’t presume to speak for every working professional, although I think my lifehacks apply to most white collar workers, including executives and entrepreneurs.
Consequently, your alert-free mileage will vary. But millions (if not billions globally) are susceptible to the same kinds of unhealthy behavior as I am. Pavlov proved this with his popular dog experiment. Which explains why unexpected alerts or “rewards” of the Internet and smartphones lead many of us to compulsion disorders and offline imbalance. Which is why I’m writing a book.
In that regard, my phone settings are better than yours. I speak from experience.