In late 2018, I switched off WhatsApp notifications on my phone. I wanted to start living less in my workaholic mode and more in the present. I’ve never been a fan of notifications, I don’t want my time dictated to me by a beep or a red icon on my cellphone. I don’t want to be controlled by the comforting familiarity of distraction.
I’m almost certain that you’re part of a bunch of WhatsApp groups too because we live in an era of grouped together messages and convenience of mass communication. It’s okay, everyone has a family group, mommy group, work group on WhatsApp – we just don’t all need to live like we’re group admins.
Let me explain. I have a lot of work groups that have numerous colleagues in them – at any given point in my day, I would have 100+ WhatsApp messages come through. Do you know how much time you waste unlocking your phone, sifting through messages and seeing where your input is needed when you get 100+ messages? Guys, it’s bonkers!
I can think of a million different things that I’d be doing instead. Filing my nails, root canal, actually getting my work done. It’s amazing how much time we waste being “productive” just because your work colleagues have you in a WhatsApp group.
I understand that I must sound like the Grinch who stole WhatsApp GIFS, but when you actually want to make the most of your time – it’s a time waster. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like that we have an easy way to stay connected, but when did staying connected become the leash you tied yourself to during the day? Call it dramatic, but I started getting anxiety over how often the little green icon would light up. A constant stream of snippets that get sent, that could really have been a one line email.
So, what did I learn about switching off these notifications? How to reclaim my time, that’s what.
I no longer obsess over the number of messages piling up in my inbox, nor do I care who I leave on read. If it really is very urgent, you can call me! This was another big thing that 2018 left me with, the art of making calls. I made a lot of calls in 2018, and I feel like I’m a better person for it. I’m in traffic for a while during the day, thanks to advanced technology, I am able to drive and make calls while having a crystal clear conversation through my cars sound system.
It’s pretty wonderful.
In 2019, I urge you to switch off your WhatsApp notifications too. You can start small if you are anxious about being disconnected or if your FOMO is overpowering (I get it, I had that too). Start with muting a few hours, then move on to a weekend until you can finally switch them off entirely. I can’t tell you the relief that I feel knowing that I am not ruled by a beeping noise.
I check my phone twice a day, sometimes more if I’ve initiated a quick conversation that didn’t warrant a phone call. My WhatsApp status even says Notifications off, call me instead, and if I could set an out of office for WhatsApp, I would. I go hours without realizing that I need to check my phone and take comfort in knowing that if it was an emergency, someone would call instead.
Better still, I now tell people no to working after hours. If it can wait, it will wait.
Will you be switching off notifications in 2019? Tell me about it below!
Until next time.