Week 4 - turn off all of your usual digital notifications...
Disaster! I seriously couldn't do this one...
I could talk about being self-employed and needing to be available to pick up the phone to potential work. I could tell you about the day I forgot to turn them off and was glad because my brother texted to see if he could call round (so glad I didn't miss that!). I could tell you I have a schedule for when I check my e-mails and I'm pretty good about sticking to it because I know the value of concentrating on a task (yep, I schedule those blocks, too). I could tell you I don't take my phone to yoga at all, so I have my buzz-free time.
But here's the truth - I like my digital connectivity. I like knowing something exciting could come in any moment, or something funny. When I worked in the corporate world I loved the e-mails that came in that kept me connected to colleagues around the world. (Well, most of the time I loved them...) I loved checking my phone each morning (never took it to bed...) to see what had come in overnight, giving myself my commute to chew on a response or solution so that the team in China could have an answer before they went home. I really miss that now, and the tiny amount of connectivity I have now is precious to me.
I like knowing when my sister is on Facebook so we can have spontaneous messenger chats If I've got a free minute. I like getting the mails that keep me up to date with what's happening in my industry and spark new ideas. I love seeing when my blog has struck a chord with someone.
So I don't want to turn off the flow; you may miss interruptions but you also lose serendipity.
Trying to turn off my notifications left me feeling disconnected and isolated - I work from home, on my own. I rely on the virtual world as my colleagues. So I turned my notifications back on and carried on as I've learned to do over the years. I ignored them when I was doing something more important or didn't want to be interrupted because I knew they'd be there when I checked after finishing..
Incidentally, this approach drove my colleagues nuts back in corporate life - if I was busy with something I didn't answer the phone or e-mail. And busy means thinking just as much as it means talking to someone.
And, reading back over this, I guess mine is a kind of turning off, too, because I choose when and whether I answer the buzz. But I want to be able to hear it and make that decision.