Thursday, March 6, 2014

How to make technology a little less intrusive

In my quest to be more mindful, I try to limit the amount of time I spend on my devices. If you're not quite ready to give up social media for Lent, here is an idea that helps me to minimize my time spent on devices.

I hate all the alerting, dinging, ringing, and beeping of notifications from Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It's push marketing, and I'm a much bigger fan of pull marketing. I prefer to check in with my various networks on my own terms, not theirs. On my iPhone, I found the constant noises and numbers so intrusive that, with the help of my brother the Mac expert, I turned off the sounds and the Badge App Icon. That's the little number in the corner of your app, and it ticks upward incessantly, quickly inducing panic (at least to me). I'll provide detailed instructions here in case you want to turn yours off, too. It works similarly on an iPad.

First, go to the Settings app. Click on Notification Center.

Go to mail (or gmail, or whatever app for which you do not want to see the Badge App Icon. Turn off whatever problematic alerts you want to stop seeing, including Badge App Icon, Sounds, and Show in Notifications Center. I've included a screenshot of turning these off of my LinkedIn app.

I hope this tip helps you dictate your usage of social media on your own terms and reduces your in-person interruptions.

Edited to add: here's a great incentive to put down your phone! The UNICEF clean water project will donate clean water to people in need for every 10 minutes you go without touching your phone.

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