Deliberate Distraction

I’ve unsubscribed from ten newsletters today. Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to free ourselves from the endless consumer behavior we’ve been indulging for the last decade. We’ve been shaped to become consumers since we were kids. The result we face is the endless amount of emails that arrives in the form of notifications.

Although we have the best technology to talk with people thousand miles away, we rarely use it to give a warm video call to a friend or a family member. Instead, what we receive are unread badge icon that sits on the Home screen and Dock, or the notifications that stream like a busy river in Today View.

If you’re reading this on your iPhone, please take a moment to open Settings and turn off notifications that don’t help you to become a better person. If you’re reading this on a Mac, please remove notifications and badge icons that distract you from focusing on your works.

Eliminate numbers. They cause distress — you don’t need to know the number of unread emails or articles in Dock.

I bought Things for Mac recently, and the first thing I do was turning off the badge icon. I like having the idea to deliberately open Things, searching for tasks I want to complete instead of being distracted by a red badge icon. This is not the first time I practice numberless Dock icon — I did the same with ReadKit and Unibox.

Deliberate action. That’s the main point to turn off these notifications. It’s fine to check out Facebook feeds, it’s great to check off the to-do list, and it’s wonderful to tweet how you feel today. When we do these actions deliberately, we become alive. We’re no longer following the cue from notifications.

We have a supercomputer in our pocket. We can do anything with it nowadays. Without notifications — at least the one that tells you to become consumer — you begin to think deeply about what you can create with this supercomputer. There are popular iPhone photographers out there sharing their works every day. There are writers out there writing their books on iPhone. Perhaps, you’re also one of the producers who haven’t discovered what you can do with this super computer.

I’m not telling you that being a consumer is bad. It’s okay to become consumer during Black Friday, but remember, shop deliberately: buy only the things you need, read only the things you want to read.