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Published on April 9, 2013, by in Technology.

What is death by push notification? It is when you go to speak to anyone and {bing!} your phone goes off. Text message. Then, you check that text and {Bing!!} Facebook notifies you that So-and-so isn’t in a relationship. You comment to find out what happened and {BING!}….tweet from your favorite store on the next sale. With a BING here and a WOOSH there, soon you’re drowning in notifications that you feel you need to respond to. Guess what? You don’t have to!

My techy rant

<rant>
In my single life, I wanted to be notified of just about everything. Let me know when the next get together is, let me know if you got home safe, blah, blah, blah. In my office job days, I looved email notifications! I was very good at responding quickly while still getting my other tasks done. Multi-tasking was one of my special talents. I was hoping to bring that with me into motherhood.

You know what motherhood has taught me? Notifications are annoying! Even as I write this very post I will get notified of different calendar events, new emails, a new facebook post or tweet. I am very easily distracted. Not good for someone who is trying to concentrate on writing or stay engaged with a preschooler.

I just can’t do it anymore. I cannot continue to get notifications on things that {in the grand scheme of things} don’t matter enough to have them interrupt and sometimes dictate the flow of my day. As much a I enjoy technology, I need to take control of it. Are you feeling the same way? Take a look at how I’m taking control.

</rant>

Put first things first

There was a considerable shift in my mind that changed the way I use technology. What was that shift? My thoughts shifted from things seen to things unseen.

Did I need to be constantly kept up to date with status updates? No.
Do I want my son to know that he is more important than social media? Yes.
Did I need know the instant an email came through? No.
Do I set boundaries for myself and teach my son to honor them? Yes.

My priorities are as follows: Seek God, love my family, serve others.

How those priorities play out in my life can make or break my day. It is up to me to be in control of what goes in my head and out of my mouth. Some days are better than others. The point is let your technology reflect your priorities so that you are in control of the stream.

Avoid Death by Push Notification

I touched on this subject in my post on Taming Technology, but I wanted to give you more practical ways of avoid what I call Death by Push Notification.

Carve out tech time in chunks spread out through the day.

Turn off all sounds and notifications, except the ones that matter. Your spouse, core family members, and 3-5 key friends. That’s it. Everyone else can wait until you’ve got time to catch your breath.

On my notifications, I have the option to…
Turn notification on or off
Alert Style {none, banner or alert}
Badge App Icon
Text Tone
View in Lock Screen

These options mean that you are in control of how much or how little your device interrupts your day. Most have not taken the time to adjust these settings. If you haven’t, do it today. Decide what is important to you and what you will allow.

When I allowed my devices to control the flow of my day by distracting me from playing with my son or doing my chores, before I knew it, I’ve wasted two hours catching up on the latest gossip or chain-letter-type social share. On top of that, I probably blew up at my son for trying to get my attention. Sound familiar?

The thought of technology helping me to stay organized sends butterflies straight to my stomach. Nerd alert! I know, sorry. Having said that, make sure you know how exactly you are using technology. It is a tool. Treat it that way. This is part of my our journey to a clutter free life.

In the coming weeks, I will continue this series on taking control of technology so keep it close!

Do you have a specific question on how to adjust your notifications? Are there other tips that you have worked to help you control the technology in your life? Share them in the comments!

Have you read the entire series? Catch up right here and comment as you feel lead.
Take Control of Technology:

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Ferly Tangonan

Wife, mom and blogger on a journey to a clutter free house and life. With her passion for keeping families organized, she strives to inspire you to use your own gifts to grow, love and serve.

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