As someone who loves to network and stay engaged with others, it may come as a surprise that I have my notifications switched off for Facebook (+ Messenger), Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Look how long it took you read through that list! Imagine all the notifications from 5 different platforms on top of emails – how am I supposed to switch off if there is always something requiring my attention?
For someone who is involved in a range of activities, I have had to develop myself to become more selfish to have
better control of my time.
I consider myself to be a generous person and love to offer my time to be of benefit to others when I can. However, in recent times, I realised that I was not carving out enough time for myself to decide what I want to do with my free time, rather than trying to slot breaks in between everything, which links in with my last reflection on self-care.
You might be thinking so how do you stay in contact with friends and family? I’ve actually found that it has helped me to be more
intentional with relationships.
If I am having a conversation with a friend or family member, I know that I need to be more alert to continue the conversation or reply inbetween breaks in my work. It means that I have to go out of my way to check in on people because I am not always up-to-date with social media updates and actually pick up the phone to have actual real-time conversations.
Furthermore, I have found that this has been easier by
separating the uses of my social platforms.
My Twitter and LinkedIn are for my “professional uses”; for societies/activities mostly Facebook groups, Messenger and Whatsapp group chats; for personal uses, Whatsapp /Snapchat for messaging friends/family and then Instagram and FB for entertainment/ staying up to date with others and acquaintances. This may sound complicated but for me it just works! It helps me use my time on my phone wisely and when I am posting, I try as much as possible not to cross-post across platforms, unless wanting to reach a range of audiences. I always say to people I could never be a “full-time influencer” because in my opinion, I would find it tiring, having to keep up appearances.
Also, those who are closest to me, understand that if they need my immediate attention to just call me or Whatsapp, which I don’t have notifications turned off as that is the main way I stay in contact with Mum and Dad (though I have switched off read receipts).
So I’ve spoken about how it has benefited me, but let’s take a moment for me to explore what have been some of the cons?
Delayed responsesFor someone who likes to be in the loop 24/7, I have surprised myself sometimes when I respond late sometimes and miss out on what could have been fruitful conversations or opportunities! Also, for me it is a courtesy to reply at least within the same day as much as I am able to, but I find because I spend less time on my phone so individual conversations get buried beneath group chats and don’t always scroll down to check.
However, saying that, I think I have begun to find the right balance in replying in my own time, in an acceptable period; rather than before where I was very much an “on-demand” person. This sounds great but actually there is a danger of being overused if there is an expectation of quick reply in some circles I’ve found in my experience.
Spending more time on my emails!I have yet to go to the extent of switching off email notifications – let alone not having an email app on my phone. It’s actually a running joke that I email a lot more than I text; and often this backfires because I am more likely to get distracted seeing an email. When I have 30+ unread emails, I get stressed out and can actually waste a lot of time doing admin to clear out my inbox into respective folders, so I recognise this is something that I need to work on.
In summary, I think it is a practice that I will stick at for a while, as my way of organising myself and my activities. Of course, there are other platforms that I haven’t discussed such as Slack which I will keep on notifications on my laptop but not always on my phone, but to repeat the question I have to ask myself always is:
At this moment in time, what TRULY requires my attention?
Thanks for reading my insight – feel free to comment or message any thoughts!
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