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Do my smart devices have a better handle on my life than I do? They contain emails, appointments, birthdays, and even a short list of my emergency contacts. I can proudly recite who my contacts are, yet I have to pull up my list to see their phone number or birth year. 

Despite the wonderful pocket assistant, it is, too much of a good thing can be bad, just like a gallon of ice cream can still result in an extra scoop of Tums.

There’s a balance. 

To maintain balance, as with any relationship even a digital one, work is needed. If defaults are accepted, then it’s the company’s default, and they tend to be needy.

Beware the default, it’s definitely a fault.

To detox from all the screen time, I’ve adjusted the default. I don’t toggle on the notifications. From emails to social media, nothing needs my instant attention outside of a phone call or text.

Everything else is a suggestion.

Notifications are tiny, angry phone pimples waiting to be popped. Sometimes it’s painful and can lead to scarring. 

I silence notifications and go into apps at my whim, not the companies. 

9 p.m. on a weeknight is not one of those times.  

Digital overload can still turn into a toxic burden.

Despite the humble beginnings, the intensity and frequency of phone notifications are placing an elephant on mental health.

Discover magazine has the specs,

“People receive between around 60 and 80 daily notifications on average, and some of us may get as many as 200. These seemingly endless dings and buzzes can take a major toll on our well-being. Research has linked them to depression and anxiety, and they may even trigger symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.”

Though small and slight as a single notification, the collective bombardment of digital dings, rings, and pings is taking a toll on mental health, one click at a time. 

Silent night, every night, is the best night.

To craft the sound of silence, I go into my phone settings to silence apps. Sometimes I have to go into the app’s settings, but I check the phone’s settings first.

It takes a few moments, or a YouTube video, to accomplish the small task, but it is worth limiting distractions.

Imagine if we could limit all distractions with a mute button.

Life doesn’t come with a mute button, computers and phones do. 

The silent mode.

I employ that smart feature for many events that require focus and attention.

A doctor’s office;

Movie theater;

A meeting with the boss;

An extended bathroom break (nobody wants to hear someone on Snapchat in the bathroom).

Discarding digital distractions is a way to gain mental traction. 

For some apps, when I’ve dived too deep for too long, I’ll delete the app from my phone and keep it on my laptop.

I use my phone more than my laptop since I carry it with me everywhere whereas my laptop is permanently homebound, by that alone, I’ll visit the site less. 

Another way I dump digital dings is by not using them during breakfast or dinner. That’s a sacred time for Mr. BuLL and I. Somedays it’s the only uninterrupted time together, and to honor that, we put our phones to the side.

I bought an old-school alarm clock to be my alarm too. Since I don’t need my phone as an alarm, I reduced blue light in the bedroom, and I don’t get sucked into drama until after coffee.

My phone is boring, my laptop isn’t much different.

My phone has a smattering of free apps. As a fearlessly frugal female, I’ve never paid for an app.

Mostly, my phone is for communicating. I browse the web occasionally, rarely check the socials, or don’t have games on my phone except for chess. 

Because my phone doesn’t define my fun, I don’t spend much time on it. 

Did detoxing my phone of digital dings, rings, and pings create or boring phone or did my boring phone detox my digital world?

Hard to tell. What I do know is that I feel better when I’m doing anything and everything IRL. 

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