Do you ride the bike, or does the bike ride you? Same question about your phone.

I was taking an ethics class and the professor asked the question, “do you ride the bike, or does the bike ride you?” Of course, we all know the answer to that, right? I ride the bike. But, it’s not as simple as that when you dig into it. The bike forces me to move my feet in a certain way. It also forces me to move my arms in a certain way and sit facing a specific direction, otherwise, I will fall off. So yes, I do ride the bike, but the bike rides me as well. The question is, how much control do I exert and how much control is exerted over me?

Now insert “phone” in place of “bike” in the above scenario. Do you control your phone, or does it control you? I realized recently that my phone’s notifications¬†were controlling me, and were completely out of control. I was constantly being interrupted in the middle of work or family time with notifications that, while interesting, really don’t matter and aren’t pressing. So, I have decided to try something new.

I am changing the way I allow my phone to do notifications. I have removed almost all notifications that go to the lock screen (the most annoying interruption) and am pushing the notifications I can into the notifications center or allowing them to show with the App Icon. By doing this, I can look at my phone intermittently to see what is going on, but I’m not interrupted¬†every 10 minutes by my phone buzzing.

All of this really goes back to my thinking about being present in the moment. Reducing the intrusion of my phone notifications is just one of my steps in doing that, more will come, and I will write on those soon.