About 2 years ago, I decided that I was going to turn notifications off for all social media (except messenger). The reason for this is our lives revolve around social media and we are addicted to our smartphones because of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). A study from the Telegraph found that we spend more than a day a week online and 1 in 5 adults admitted to spending over 40 hours a week on their phones The number of people using their phones has increased massively within the last decade and seeing the numbers is scary. People are now looking at their phones within 5 minutes of waking up and it’s the last thing they look at before they go to sleep.
On average we receive 45.9 notifications a day. Most of these notifications are from social media apps, that would grab my attention and cause me to spend hours mindlessly scrolling through the feeds of my various accounts.
The main platforms that I use are Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and very rarely Twitter. The reason for only keeping my notifications on for facebook messenger is because the only time that I receive a message on Facebook is if it’s important, so I keep them on just in case. Everything else is not important or urgent.
When first turning my notifications off I told myself that I would do it for a week and see how things go. I must admit the first few days were difficult. I found myself unnecessarily checking my phone more than I did before. It would usually go like this… open Snapchat to check messages (realise nothing was there), scroll through Instagram for a couple of minutes, scroll through facebook and then finally lock my phone. Where I would leave it for 5 minutes before repeating it all over again. However, over that week I got progressively better. I would only check my phone when I wasn’t doing anything and I had some spare time.
The end of that week came and went and I had completely forgotten that I had turned my notifications off. They were disabled for about 7 months before I realised that I didn’t have them on. Two years ago I would never have thought that I would be able to disable my notifications for a long period without falling back into the FOMO mindset
Being able to check social media when I wanted to check social media rather than when I got a notification has changed my life massively. I must admit, every now and again I still find myself checking social media for hours on end and not actually being productive but I have found that since disabling notifications I have got a lot more work done.
Below I have included screenshots of what my current screen time for my phone looks like. One thing to take into consideration is that I use Waze (btw highly recommend) on my phone as a satnav and because of this I rack up a lot of hours a week just from that. So my average weekly time is 28 hours, not 35.
I know that I still use my phone a lot, however, I am trying to bring this down. For me, the ideal weekly time spent on my phone would be 15/20 hours a week with social media only making up half of this total time.
For anyone that finds themselves addicted to their phones and is thinking about going notification free, I 100% recommend trying it. The idea of permanently turning notifications off may seem too scary. Try doing it for a week and see how it goes.