Smart phones can do wonders for productivity. You can tweet, check pinterest, update your Facebook status….oh wait, most people probably think those are productivity killers!
I guess you can also work via your smart phone. Of course, “work” for most people is code for “checking email.” It seems silly just writing that but you know it’s true!
Anyway, if you work from home or bring work home from the office, it’s tempting to constantly check your phone to see if there’s a new email. But every time you pick up your phone to check it, you could be doing one of two things:
- Breaking your train of thought because you’re moving from one unrelated task to another. That means you’re probably taking longer than necessary to do each task.
- Ignoring those around you. Do either of these scenarios sound familiar?
- As someone is speaking to you, you check your phone and say, “Go ahead” to indicate they can go on with their story. You continue to type on your phone. They talk. You finish typing and say, “Wait, what did you say?”
- You check your phone for the umpteenth time as one of your kids say “mom” over and over. You respond each time with, “Hang on a second” as you keep reading.
If you’ve ever been on the other side of this equation as an adult, you know it can be slighly annoying. But, I often wonder what kind of message this is sending to our children.
It saddens me beyond measure when I see parents ignoring their children to stare at their phone. It saddens me even more when I do it! I’m no parenting expert, but I have an inkling that habitual phone checking is making a bigger impact on them than we think.
I, like you I’m sure, certainly don’t want my kids to think my phone is more important than they are. So I recently tried a tip I’ve heard repeatedly from productivity experts: I turned off push notifications to my phone.
From a productivity standpoint, this one tip has transformed the way I work. Instead of checking, and not answering, email throughout the day, I check email when I actually have time to answer. The same is true for Facebook messages, DM’s, etc. No more reading messages more than once, or worse, forgetting to answer them because they are already marked unread.
From a parenting perspective, however, this tip can help a deliberate parent be even more intentional with their children. When I’m playing with the boys, I’m actually playing. I sync up and work if they’re busy, don’t need me, or aren’t around. I think they’re happier. I know I am.
Turn off “push” for one day.
You’ve probably heard that changing this one setting on your phone could help your productivity skyrocket. But, if you’re like me, you may have purposefully ignored the advise. Let me challenge you to try it for one day.
How to turn off push notifications on your phone:
Every phone is different, but here are some general instructions for turning off push notifications:
- iPhone: Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data and set Push to Off.
- Android: Go to Settings > Accounts & sync > Uncheck Auto-sync
Turning off push notifications was initially a difficult thing for me to do. I mean, what if someone needed me? I suppose they could text or even call if it was that urgent. I told myself I’d try it for a day. After the initial 24 hour trial period was up, I thought I’d give it a little longer. Now, I’m used to it and don’t plan on going back to my old habits anytime soon.
So, what about you? Do you turn off push notifications on your phone? If not, would you try it for 24 hours?