Hello! My name is Rega, it's nice to meet you. About six months ago, I turned off all push notifications on my phone. Like, all. My phone now lights up exclusively when I get a call.
I got rid of notifications for a variety of reasons, most centrally that I was feeling pretty high stress levels, and would feel them spike when my phone lit up. I suspected this could help.
Now, I'm not gonna tell you how to live your life, but I will tell you about a few things that've changed about mine since.
1. I'll be honest: initially, I was checking my phone WAY more often than I did with notifications on.
2. My phone use switched from being reactive to being deliberate.
3. I stopped being app companies' dream consumer. Sorry y'all.
4. I am sad less often.
5. I realised almost nothing is actually urgent and when things are urgent, people call.
6. My stress levels are way, way, way lower than they used to be.
7. I learned which apps I really, truly love.
8. And some apps I've stopped using almost entirely.
9. This is a no-brainer: I get a lot more work done.
10. I realised I am less addicted to my phone than I used to believe.
11. I finish more of the articles I start reading.
12. I sleep better.
13. And I wake up better, too.
14. I'm better at hanging out with people.
15. I've learned that phone-makers have quite a way to go in terms of allowing us to customise our phone experiences.
16. It hasn't miraculously made me a responsible person or anything.
17. Aaaand, finally, I constantly and smugly give everyone I meet unsolicited advice on their phone use and notification settings and I'm sorry.
I'm far from the first person in the world to have done this, or even to have written about it. There was this great piece in Wired last month by someone who turned off most notifications, though not all, and still found it to be super-duper beneficial. Maybe that's the way you'll go, if you want to choose a less extreme phone relationship than I have.
My central advice isn't "turn off all your notifications" as much as: think about how you're using your phone, and whose terms it's on.
Rega Jha is the Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed India and is based in Mumbai.
Contact Rega Jha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.