I heard someone complain about how the kids keep on disturbing her peace of mind. The kids wouldn't make a play without destroying something. In my mind, I thanked my stars I don't have any kids yet but then, here's what I've got.
"Ping pong", my social media notification sounds beep out loud one second. The next second, another rings out, followed by another and so on. Messages were coming from everywhere, WhatsApp was a major culprit, Facebook, Messenger, Telegram, etc, were not left out.
These social media notifications are supposed to prompt me to open up my social media, read them up and possibly reply to a few pressing ones but they had gotten on my nerves. I had been wearied beyond what I am able to bear, and this is what I had to go through every day.
Why Social Media Notifications in the First Place?
By "how much I gained" by turning off all my social media notifications, I mean some of the benefits and advantages you derive when you turn off your social media notification on your mobile devices. In other words, I will give you reasons why you should turn of your notifications this very instant.
But we cannot look at that without taking a glimpse of why social media notifications were invented in the first place. Why were they invented?
With the onset of mobile phones and social media came the need to introduce a more reliable way to get the attention of users and increase social media interactions. The last ten to fifteen years have witnessed an upsurge in the use of social media by mobile phone users and these values are still on the increase.
To support this claim, Kim and Baek in 2018 found the primary reason why smartphone social media apps, as well as non-social media apps, use push notifications is to create a smarter and more intrusive way to communicate to the user and create greater engagement.
Why Turn Off Social Media Notifications
To the app developers, this was a successful feat but according to a study done by Okoshi et. al, 2016, these push notifications were considered to be too intrusive and did not consider the psychological state of the user in certain situations. Even if the notifications were perceived as passive and not compulsive to the user, they might be a serious cause of distraction to the user at certain times.
Because of these, it becomes important that you, as the smartphone user, find a way to control your social media notifications or totally turn them off as the case may be. In my own case, I will tell you what I have done to my social media notifications for more than a year now, and how much better I have felt.
Why You Should Turn Off Your Social Media Notifications
Here, you are going to see some important reasons why you should turn off your social media notifications.
1. Gives you fewer distractions
Social media notifications were created to keep you always on the media interacting with friends and followers. This is what the developers want but is it what you truly want?
You are trying to focus on your work task and the next thing you hear is an annoying ring from your phone signalling that you have a new notification from any of the social media apps installed. This can distract you from your line of thoughts, especially when it has become habitual for you to check your phone at every notification.
Turning off push notifications and notification alerts in your phone keeps you less distracted and more focused on your tasks at hand.
2. Makes you more productive
With fewer distractions and more focus on your specific tasks, you are sure to have increased productivity.
From my personal experience from turning off my social media notifications for over two years now, I have noticed a significant increase in my productivity level measured by my efficiency in accomplishing productive tasks on my mobile phone, for example, reading for school or general knowledge on the internet, doing research, watching to a productive video, etc.
If your social media notifications are on, they might interrupt you when you are trying to study with your mobile device and analyze some critical productivity information on your phone.
Turning off your social media notifications also frees you from distractions when you engage in productive tasks outside your mobile phone. That sense of discipline and focus makes you more productive at your workplace, school and personal projects than when your notifications were allowed to pop in at any time possible.
3. Puts you in control
There is nothing more important in anyone's life than being in control of their lives and endeavours. Push notifications come to take that away from you. They are intrusive and enslaving. Social media notifications always make you want to check your mobile phone even when you have promised to stay away for some time.
It is sometimes difficult to turn off your social media notifications perpetually. You turn them off today and the next day they are on again. It's not as if your phone turns them off itself but because of how enslaved social media notifications may have made you, you find yourself turning them on again because you don't want to miss out on the important updates. Wait right here, I will tell you what the important updates are very soon.
4. Keeps you focused on the priorities
What are the priorities? What are the important updates? These are what every one of us should focus on and trust me, these priorities are not those social media updates that come in every other second.
When you are doing some work, this work becomes your priority at the moment. Every other thing should be considered secondary. By turning off your social media notifications, you become more focused on the priorities at hand.
How do you know important updates? When someone truly wants to contact me for something truly important or urgent, they should call me or text me. That way you consciously filter important updates from the unimportant ones.
5. Makes you more attentive to your friends and loved ones
Spending quality time with your friends and loved ones is a priority. You do not always have the time to be with them but whenever you are with them, you should make the moment count.
Someone can be physically present but not actually present. Social media notifications take away your presence even though you are physically present with them. This has to change and it begins by turning off your social media notifications.
6. It teaches you to be more deliberate about your decisions
One important lesson you will learn from turning off your social media notifications is that you will have more control over your decisions. You realise that you are responsible for the things that you allow into your life and the things you let go of. This is a simple lesson but it cuts across all areas of your life, even beyond mobile phone and social media use.
7. Reduces your anxiety
You are not always in a relaxed mood all the time. Sometimes, you may have a lot of work in your hand already and you might not be in for any more. At such times, distractions increase your anxiety and make you less efficient in your jobs.
Imagine you are an office worker who is expected to submit volumes of works the next day to your boss. You are anxious about how to complete the job so as to get a good review or a promotion from your boss, or to avoid being suspended or fired in the worst-case scenario. Then, someone who you know as annoying and distracting walks into your house and asks to sit. How do you feel, especially if it might be a little difficult to drive them out immediately?
You become more anxious because you now have a new problem to attend to, further compounding those you are already wrestling with. This is exactly what social media notifications do, they add new problems to those you already have on the table.
Which Notifications Can You Allow On Your Phone For More Productivity?
Certainly, I didn't mean you should turn off all notifications from your phone. There are some notifications I have found useful and beneficial over the years and I think you should allow them on your phone too. Here is a list of these notification alerts you should allow on your phone;
- Notifications from your work email app: You don't want to miss out on important updates at work or some contracts or business offers. Do you? I always anticipate email updates from my email apps (Gmail, Yahoo!, etc) because I always find them useful, motivating or profitable.
- Of course, you should leave your SMS and call alerts on except if you are in another important meeting.
- LinkedIn: Not all social media are counter-productive. LinkedIn is a professional social media that opens you to a world of amazing opportunities. You should leave the notifications on except if you have some other pressing thing(s) to attend to at the moment.
- If there are any great reasons, you can consider leaving the notifications for some of your social media apps. For example, if you receive updates about your schoolwork or job from WhatsApp, you might want to consider leaving the notifications from WhatsApp on.
How Do You Turn off Your Social Media Notifications?
- For Android users, follow these steps to turn off your social media notifications. Make sure you do that for the social media apps you want to mute.
- For iPhone users, this guide will help you turn off your social media notifications.
There is a lot you have to gain by turning off your social media notifications. It is not everything you should attend to. This helps you to stay focused on the things that matter most to you and get more productive. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.