Reducing my inputs

I’m taking more control of when I receive messages and notifications from the external world.

I’m finding that when I received a LinkedIn “connection request” or “so-so tagged you in a photo” on Facebook” or “your answer was upvoted…” on Quora, even if I didn’t look at it or respond to it right away, the notification showing on my locked screen and on the app icons are just too distracted. It’s like having a loose string on a t-shirt. I can live with it for about three seconds before I need to deal with it.

(PRO TIP: Here is a VERY detailed post on how to turn off notificaitons on your iPhone…)

Taking stock of my iPhone apps, there are only a few content and communication apps that I use – Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Quora, LinkedIn, Flowdock (work), and text messaging. I’m purging a few, and turning off notifications for others.


So… decisions were made… Here’s the recount of my inventory taking:

FourSquare – Was on my phone home page and I only used it for airports and occasionally when I’m at a place like the Farmer’s Market where I like to snap a fun picture of my son of what I’m doing and post to Facebook. I never go back and reference places I’ve been. Who am I talking to here anyway?

Decision: Deleted

Facebook – Sorry friends. I really don’t look at what you’re doing all that often, and if I have a few idle moments of time – say in line at a store or airport, I want to fill that time with more targeted learning for my brain like podcasts or book reading.

Decision: Deleted

Twitter – This was a bit of a decision for me. I have a more focused list there of people I’m following, so in a way, it’s sort of learning through semi-curated content, except there’s still too much noise. The chances of hitting good content on the fly on my phone is too small. I have TweetDeck on my laptop and I have a few lists there, and whatever. I can find what I need when I need it.

Decision: Deleted

LinkedIn – This app made the cut.I’m keeping this one for now. I do use it when I’m going into a meeting (or in a meeting) to check out someone’s background and look for common connections and interests. (It’s also an app I keep open constantly on my laptop when I’m working.

Note: I’m also putting together a series of e-books on tips for using LinkedIn. Stayed tuned… You can sign up now right here and I’ll email you a copy when it’s ready.

Decision: Stays, with notifications disabled.

Quora – Somewhat personally curated content for topics that I chose. The quality is generally good, and mostly I use the mobile app to save questions that I might want to answer later on during a writing sessions.

Decision: Stays, with notifications disabled.

Flowdock – This is a work app that we use for internal chatter. This needs to stay on my phone, and I’ve turned off the notifications from showing on my locked screen. I have my account set up so that I receive an email when someone messages be here, and turning off the notifications prevents weekend interruptions.

Decision: Stays, with notifications disabled. 


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