Notifications detox- week 4
Can I cope with not knowing everything, all of the time, Right Now!?!?!?!?!
So I have finally reached the end of this social experiment. And what an array of emotions it has brought up. The reason for wanting to participate in the Great Wake Up! led me into my first task full of enthusiasm and eager to analyse the impact on myself and my family. I have tried to reduce time spent on my phone during my maternity leave so felt that this task would be manageable and easy to accommodate into my life.
Having an all-consuming job normally, my work phone is very firmly a feature of our household. It has the power to impact on our evenings and can affect relationships dependent on what I choose to do with the information. Therefore, being on maternity leave I have made a shift to ensure that I spend all of my time with the new addition to the family and my other two children. My phone is always on silent at home and I answer or make contact when I can or when I choose to. This was liberating in itself and I thought that this challenge wouldn’t impact on my life very much.
However, on my first day of this challenge I encountered my first issue. My eldest son is a teenager. This may seem insignificant to others. But for myself it was a challenge. He doesn’t contact me very often during the day, but sometimes he does if it is an emergency. I suddenly thought there could be a crisis that I wasn’t able to respond to immediately. He could have forgotten his dinner money, he could have cut his finger, a UFO could have landed in his school playground; anything could happen and I would be failing my motherly duties if I was not able to fix it immediately! Interestingly this week taught me that things may happen but checking your phone every five minutes won’t fix it. My son informed me that if there was an emergency he would merely call my phone. Good point. Why did I not think of that in the midst of my panic? He also informed me that I can’t fix everything. Breathe Orlene.
After day one I did have to admit that I couldn’t cope without diary reminders. It is worth pointing out I am definitely trying survive with the ongoing effects of baby brain. I forget everything and have had to resort to putting all appointments into my diary to avoid missing meet- up’s set months in advance. After realising I had missed weighing baby at the health centre I decided this was a feature I could not cope without. First fail.
I also realised that I kept forgetting to check my phone. My Mum rang me one of the days rather annoyed. “Have you seen my missed calls?” No Mum. “Why aren’t you answering my messages?” Sorry Mum. “Why are you not responding?” Oh dear. I tried to explain the experiment and the fact that I was making an attempt to be more present at home. I’m not sure I convinced her. However, I was beginning to convince myself. Convince myself of the fact that not being totally tied to notifications on my phone had some positives. I could engage when it was convenient for me. There was a clear choice by me. I wasn’t responding according to anyone else’s demands/ needs. Surely forgetting to check my phone also showed me that it was not always necessary?
Easy it was not. On day three my younger brother and his wife were going on a life- changing trip travelling around the world. What an amazing opportunity. On the day they were due to leave I suddenly panicked. What if they needed something from me? What if I missed their first updates on their travelling? What if, what if, what if…….. I kept checking my missed calls, I kept messaging him. He politely (or not so politely) asked me to stop harassing him for constant updates. It would be helpful if I allowed them to get on their flight first before asking if they were enjoying every minute! Point taken. I think my biggest issue with this experiment was the delay on information for some situations.
I learnt that I can and will have some of my notifications on and I will respond when I want to. When is convenient for me. Here’s another point: I might not always respond! Radical I know, but this is the beginning of me trying to ensure my notifications do not change the course or outcomes of my day.