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9 - The Ultimate Time Vampire - Health Fit Biz


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Digital notifications are the ultimate time vampire. They literally suck the lifeblood out of your day.

Imagine these 2 typical scenarios.

Scenario 1

You are busy doing some important work, thinking hard, working with intention and then bam. You get a notification that someone e-mailed you. Or a notification from Facebook that someone commented on a post and mentioned you.

The struggle is real and the urge is strong. How can you resist now entering into the lair of the digital notification vampire. You go in your phone to check the email or check the Facebook notification.

25 minutes later, after browsing through your newsfeed, it’s time to start working again. Oh wait, a new notification!

Scenario 2

You wake up in the morning by the sound of your alarm in the morning, but wait, there’s a whole list of notifications you have to take care of before getting out of bed! Some people commented on your Instagram photo, you have 7 emails, and 3 Facebook mentions.

Better check all of those before getting out of bed.

20 minutes later it’s time to actually get out of bed. The structure of your day is ruined before even getting out of bed. You have already become a slave to your phone and let it dictate your day.

Who is really dictating your day and time?

Your phone should not dictate what you do throughout the day. Someone commenting on a photo of you on Facebook should not have immediate access to disrupt what you are currently doing. Your time is way too valuable for that. You have way too many important things to do than let your phone control your actions.

If you really think about it, every time a notification on your phone gets you to take an action, you are not the owner of your day. Whims of other people across the world control your day.

Who really is the boss?

Digital notifications are draining the lifeblood from your day. They’re literally killing it.

This Week’s Challenge

We challenge you this week to do 1 of 2 things:

Option 1: Turn off all notifications on your phone for 1 week except phone calls and text messages (unless tons of people text you, then turn that off too)

Option 2: Turn your phone to airplane mode at night and don’t turn it off that mode until you’ve started your day off with some productive tasks

You should control when you look at your email or your Facebook, not some notification. Someone’s comment on a picture of a cat isn’t more important than you getting done what you want to get done and having ownership of your time.

Own your day and cut off the vampire. Use the two silver bullet options above to become the boss of your time once again.


Podcast Transcript

Ryan: I’m Dr. Ryan Debell. Thanks for tuning in once again to the Health Fit Business podcast. This is episode 9. On this episode, what we’re going to be talking about is why notifications on your phone are killing you. Notifications on your phone are probably the worst thing you could be doing and the most ineffective and time wasting thing you could be doing. As soon as you let an app notify you on your phone, you’re giving it access to the most delicate or private parts of your life. This episode is going to really challenge you because these things are very addictive. But once you can break the addition of those phone notifications, it literally will change your life. So, without further ado let’s listen in to this episode of the podcast.

Anthony: Are you ready?

Ryan: I’m all ready Anthony.

Anthony: Welcome everybody to an episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. I’m your co-host Dr. Anthony Gustin.

Ryan: And I’m Dr. Ryan Debell.

Anthony: He’s the main host.

Ryan: No.  Co-host. What are we going to talk about on this episode Anthony?

Anthony: So, on this episode we’re talking about why notifications are killing you.

Ryan: What kind of notifications are we talking about?

Anthony: All notifications.

Ryan: Phone notifications?

Anthony: Digital notifications.

Ryan: Digital notifications are what we want to address this episode.

Anthony: They’re so terrible we’re going to make sure that says “notifications are the new you smoking.”

Ryan: Are we actually going to make that?

Anthony:  I think so.

Ryan: Okay.

Anthony: Well, where’s your eight copies for your eight listeners out there? Every week, we can have two.

Ryan: We don’t know what size shirt people would wear. I have to get them in different sizes.

Anthony: The reason why we decided to do this is because…

Ryan: What’s the issue with notifications. Why they are so bad? What problems do they create for you?

Anthony: When I was running my clinic and I was super super busy and I would come to my phone and I would see there would be a hundred notifications of all random stuff – some good, some bad. I had to react to it, completely distracting. If I then had actual time away and answer it doing time blocking, and then every time I was trying to get some work done, some deep work ding ding ding ding. Red little box thing. Circle? Is it? Thing in the iPhone where pops up and it’s red.

Ryan: What?

Anthony: The counter that says how many new…?

Ryan: Oh, the badge!

Anthony: Yeah. The badge! So, all these badges popping up. Time is the most valuable thing when you’re running a small business and you’re trying to do bigger things. So, notifications are the biggest vampire of time that I could imagine.

Ryan: Suck the blood out of your day.

Anthony: It’s awful!  That was one of the biggest things for me when I was trying to transition more towards larger projects. Wiping notifications from my phone enabled me to do so much more work. It was insane.

Ryan: One of the issues I ran into would be, let’s say, it was the weekend and I wanted to actually relax, right? Because once in a while you have to like not work and…

Anthony: What?! What kind of business podcast is this? Don’t work!

Ryan: What?

Anthony: I’m kidding.

Ryan: You’ve got a rest day, a rest hour. What would happen was that my rest time, whether that’s a certain amount of time per week you put aside or a day of the weekend, it would be interrupted by these notifications of either emails or Facebook message or Instagram or something and then it would put me in to work mode. So, it was interrupting my ability, in this case, to be able to actually clear my head. But as you kind of said to like if you’re in the middle of doing stuff or you’re trying to work deeply and your phone’s buzzing notifying you, the temptation is so large to go look at what it is that it will interrupt the bigger things that you are actually trying to work on. So, it’s a huge issue because it breaks your concentration and really nothing or very few things have the right to disrupt that in my opinion.

Anthony: Right. And so, I guess if we’re going break it down in to three different categories and why notifications are killing you and they are trust me.

Ryan: Yeah. I know it!

Anthony:  It will be distracting or interrupting you from big tasks that you should be doing. It is taking you out of relaxation, rejuvenation mode back in to work mode. Back and forth, back and forth.

Ryan: Which is exhausting.

Anthony: It’s giving people access to you and train them that you’re going to be available at every second of the day whenever they want.

Ryan: Which you shouldn’t be.

Anthony: Huge huge time sucker. Interruption phase. I urge everyone, at least, when they’re working on their deep work stuff, we’ll talk about that on another episode, but when you’re dedicated to some task and you’re trying to get a project done, very minimally you can put your phone in to airplane mode or Do Not Disturb mode for that time being.

Ryan: That’s what I used to do at night.

Anthony: One down?

Ryan: Like overnight I would turn off, I would go on airplane mode so when I woke up, I wouldn’t have notifications on my screen but you can’t take that a step further right? That just one way. Put yourself in airplane mode.

Anthony: We talked about the time blocking episodes. It’s so crucial to get in to a state of flow of work and trying to stay there for as long as possible. When you start jumping around tasks, you productivity and task completion is plummeting. That is one way to get much better at working. You have to turn off your notifications. It’s just a must. A must.

Ryan: Is there any reason? Is there any threat to turning off the notifications on your phone? Like what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Anthony: The worst thing that could happen is my relative dies and someone needs to contact me or something like that. That’s like the worst-case scenario.

Ryan: But you’re not going to turn off every single form of notifications, right?

Anthony: But even in Do Not Disturb mode, you can do it so if people calls twice, it goes through it.

Ryan: Yeah.

Anthony: Or if you just decide to show your notification, for instance, I have it so just texts and phone calls come through or else I have my phone on silent.

Ryan: I’m the same way. The only two notifications I allow to go through my phone, and these include badges as well like little red number, the only thing is text message and phone calls.

Anthony: So, you’re not tempted to get dragged in to these apps with all these “Oh this person liked your photo. You have this email from this guy.”

Ryan: It’s all meaningless.

Anthony:  Yeah.

Ryan: Like, none of it actually helps to do anything productive.

Anthony:  And so, let say you get in to a rat hole of this little red badge, you click on it and then 45 minutes later you’re on some other app doing other completely meaningless thing.

Ryan: Right. How does that…? It’s just not a… You just can’t let that kind of get access to your time to something like that.

Anthony: It’s a terrible terrible waste of time so. Especially when you’re not working and you’re trying to be in this rejuvenation mode so that your work output when you are working is super high. You are pretty much in the same state of distraction and you need to remove yourself from that the best way to do it like you said is turn off those notifications. If you’re bored waiting for a train and you want to see who’s talking to you in Instagram or Facebook, then go on there whenever you want to but you’re not going to have this constant pool and constant notification.

Ryan: Right. You’re not going to be reacting. You could proactively go and look at your emails or go look at Facebook. But to let the Facebook app control your time by having these little badges, it’s just. Come on! Little app control you.

Anthony:  And that’s what they want because it increases their ad revenue. Like they want that to be as addictive as possible so they are trying to send you as many notifications as possible.

Ryan: You know I actually deleted Facebook from my phone.

Anthony: Whoa! Big move!

Ryan:  Oooh! Yeah! My world has changed so much. But I’ll go in once a day and look now and I will have like 27 notifications and none of it…

Anthony: It’s all garbage.

Ryan: None of it is anything because they know that we want to see the little red badge because it makes us feel that something cool happened. It’s like “send this person a birthday message.” You know “you’ve been invited to this event. Look back on this memory.” I’m like, so nothing actually happened.

Anthony: “Your mom’s friend and invited you to do Candy Crush.” “This creep from high school looked at your photo from 2009.”

Ryan: How does that help me at all? I mean, it doesn’t. It’s because they want to make an ad revenue from showing ads at the time line.

Anthony:  Right! And so, not getting sucked in to these unproductive distracting apps and emails and even texts and phone calls sometimes can be distracting because when you’re essentially doing. When you have notifications on and the phone’s alarm is on and you’re reacting to all these stuff, you are training the people around you to expect an immediate response. Like the tech world we live in now a days, everybody expects immediate communication. Immediate.

Ryan: So unrealistic!

Anthony: Like if I text you a year ago, I was texting you and you didn’t respond to me like “Ryan doesn’t like me. He hates me.” And then 30 minutes after “I hate Ryan, I’m never talking to him again.”

Ryan: “What a dick!”

Anthony: When maybe he was just busy. I don’t know!

Ryan: Maybe I just didn’t have my messages on. Maybe I wasn’t checking because I was out walking around and doing something you know. Non-phone, non-notification related.

Anthony: So, removing this tether helps set expectations more realistically for other people around you.

Ryan: Yup! Exactly. So, Anthony what is the challenge this week?

Anthony: I think it’s pretty clear.

Ryan: I agree.

Anthony: Stop killing yourself with notifications.

Ryan: Turn… So, here’s our challenge. Now it seems like the world is going to blow up when you do this, it’s not.

Anthony: Well, they have this thing called a FOMO for a reason right?

Ryan: FOMO

Anthony: Ryan, you’re the first person to tell me about FOMO.

Ryan: Did I?

Anthony: “Yeah. There’s this FOMO” or whatever and I was like “What?!” It’s like two or three years ago, I think.

Ryan: I said… I was… okay.

Anthony: I’ve never heard of it before.

Ryan: Fear of Missing Out. Fear of missing out. That’s why we want to have those notifications like “Oh my Gosh! Something crazy is going to happen and I have to be notified otherwise I’m like, I’m going to miss out on this amazing thing.” And you know what, I haven’t had notifications on my phone for a while and that hasn’t happened yet.

Anthony: How liberating this to feel?

Ryan: It’s extremely liberating! You know, I’ve noticed how a lot of things have improved for me. I feel less agitated, less stressed out. I am able to think more deeply about things. I’m able to get more stuff done because I’m not giving my little phone and these apps the right to steal my time.

Anthony: Yeah. I noticed that I had more joy in simple tasks removing notifications. They’ve done studies, I’m pretty sure, that show people get this huge dopamine spikes every time they react to these notifications.

Ryan: So, it’s actually somewhat like a chemical addition which is why it’s hard not to do it. I think all you guys out there, eight? Eight of you can turn off your notifications for one week. Just commit to one week of turning off your notifications on our phone minus texts and calls because sometimes you might need those. Commit to the one week, take note of how you feel in a week versus now and let see what happens.

Anthony:  Very very minor thing. Let’s say you can’t do that like FOMO is too strong, airplane mode.

Ryan: Airplane mode when you really need to get things done.

Anthony: You need to get things done and you’re sleeping because if you wake up like Ryan was saying, if you wake up to 35 notifications and 38 emails and all set you up like “Oh shit! I’m missing something!” and you jumped straight in to that.

Ryan: Some state like fight or flight.

Anthony: And you break your morning routine.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s just does not serve any positive purpose in your life. At least go on airplane mode at night or when you’re trying to get challenging things completed.

Anthony: That’s only half credit though.

Ryan: That’s only half credit. I think you guys are full-credit kind of people.

Anthony: Yeah. Over achiever students.

Ryan: Yeah. Let’s do this. Turn those notifications off for seven days.

Anthony: Alright guys. Get after it!

Ryan: Thank you guys for tuning in to this episode of the Health Fit Business podcast. If you find it helpful, please share with someone that you think it would also help and leave us a five-star rating on iTunes. Make sure also to go to healthfit.biz and sign up for the email notifications to which you can find right on the homepage so that you get all the updated podcasts and blog posts sent directly to you. Until then, we will see you next time.