Turn off your smartphone notifications and start living in the moment

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I don’t know about you, but my smartphone used to rule my life. It would pull me out of engaging conversations. It would distract me from a gorgeous day at the beach. It generally needed my constant attention.

In light of the announcement of future changes to Instagram and the resulting uproar, I wanted to write a post encouraging you to ignore all of it.

I’ve since turned off all notifications on my phone and I’ll never go back.

Turn off smartphone notifications and live in the moment

Have you heard that Instagram is changing it’s algorithm and photos will not show up in your feed in chronological order? Has your feed been flooded with accounts pleading for you to turn on post notifications so you can “continue to see their posts”? You don’t have to do it, and I actually recommend that you don’t.

Take a sec to think about the number of accounts you follow. If you turn post notifications on for every account that you care about, your smartphone will notify you every time they post something. And that’s in addition to your regular Instagram notifications for your own posts. I love Instagram but not enough to have it need my attention every few minutes.

I really can’t figure out what all of the fuss is about, and honestly I feel like the ones telling me to turn on post notifications need to take a seat. Fear not, my friends. All of the posts by the accounts you follow will still show up in your feed, they will just be in a different order. NBD, you just might need to scroll a little more to see them. And you were probably going to scroll that far anyway, if we’re being honest.

“[…] all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.” – Instagram’s blog

Here are a couple of solutions that are better than turning your smartphone into a needy little thing.

  1. Go through the accounts that you follow and unfollow any that you don’t really need to be following. When I first decided to embrace minimalism, I unfollowed most of the shopping accounts I used to follow to avoid temptation to shop online. But when I heard about this change I went through again and unfollowed some more. When you weed out the accounts you no longer wish to follow, the content you want to see will naturally be more visible.
  2. Interact with the accounts and content you love. This will tell Instagram what you want to see and it’s little algorithm will get to work making that content even more visible to you. So get over there and start double-tapping!

Instagram aside, you would be surprised how freeing it is to silence your phone in all ways. No more phantom buzzing, no more twitchy phone-checking. I’m no longer controlled by the thing, the thing is a tool for me to use when I need it.

I challenge you to:

Turn off all sounds: The only sound my phone ever makes is the alarm!

Turn off vibrate: Keeping my phone on silent was not enough for me. The buzzing still distracted me. It still woke me up at night. And feeling phantom buzzing made me think I was losing it!

Turn off notifications: Honestly, no app notification is ever an emergency. Don’t let Facebook or Twitter or whatever else tell you when you need to check on your smartphone. Be a rebel and check it whenever you damn well please!

Unfollow and unsubscribe: Remove content from your info streams that you don’t get any value from to make room for the good stuff.

Delete unused apps: If you don’t remember why you downloaded it, you probably don’t need it. I still have to do this one. I have so many apps that I couldn’t tell you from looking at them what they’re even for.

Don’t worry about missing anything. Trust me, you will still check your phone more than is probably healthy, but at least it will be on your own free will and not at the beck and call of the device itself.

Give this a shot for a week and let me know how it goes!


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