by Jared Humphers

Alarms. Notifications. Advertisements.

All of these and more are made for one main purpose:
to get our attention.

Just like our phones, sometimes, we need to put our lives on silent so we can relax, reset or focus. But, making time for quiet in a world full of noise is hard.

Constantly being interrupted by notifications is neither healthy nor productive, so how can we silence our lives a bit so we can be more healthy, productive, and use these notifications in their proper way?

Preface: Not all are created equal

Before the main part, it’s key to point out one important fact: alarms, notifications and advertisements are not inherently bad. In fact, I’d say that they’re actually good – when used in the proper way. For example, a phone call from a friend telling me there’s an accident on the highway and that I should take the longer way around is not bad. However, if constant Instagram notifications and alerts about the latest YouTube video coming out are pulling me away from doing what I need to be doing, that’s where it can start getting out of hand.

1) The first step is realizing the need to put some things on mute.

It’s important to practice self-control and not allow a notification to become a distraction (this goes back to being intentional with how we use our time and resources). Phones, tablets and computers are tools – not owners.

About a year ago, I turned off almost all social media notifications on my phone, so the only alerts that show up immediately are texts, phone calls, and message notifications (among other smaller alerts like weather notifications).

A big part of this comes through time, experience, failing and succeeding. Find what works for you and go with that. Be patient while you try new strategies out – it’ll start clicking eventually!

2) Next, it’s important to just start. Pick a time you think is good and go for it! If that means waking up an extra 30 minutes early because no one or nothing needs your attention then, trust me when I say that it’s a good investment!

Be reasonable about what time that is and start small – and be honest with yourself. It’s almost impossible to run a 5K without having built up to it (trust me, I’ve tried it). Again, this is pretty much up to you, but make sure that you make it a priority to silence your phones at a certain time (ex. From 9 p.m.- 30 minutes after you wake up), pray, etc.

If you spend your quiet time in prayer, try to do it as soon as you wake up. I’ve found that the days I start with prayer have a much better chance of being less stressful, more focused, and have a better quality.

3) Placement is important. Here’s what I mean: going on “do not disturb” means you should try to find a place where it’s just you (and that’s ok to be alone- Jesus Himself exampled that!). Remove anything that could be distracting from relaxing, praying, reading, etc.

Also, if you want to make a habit of spending, say, 30 minutes praying and reading the Bible, don’t bring any type of electronic device in the room with you. It creates potential for distraction, and even if you use it to read or take notes, it might be tempting to check that notification that goes off in the middle of a verse.

4) Finally, be consistent. There will always be certain circumstances and situations that will pop up and occasionally have us modify our routine (like sickness or an alarm not going off when it should) but try to anticipate those.

Try to have some flexibility built into your habits and know that there will be times where you’ll need to change them a bit. There will be times where you might get a little off track and lose your rhythm a bit. Just know that that’s understandable – don’t beat yourself up over it! It happens to everyone. When that happens, please don’t think you “lost everything you’ve built up” because you didn’t.

Just take a breath and reset.
It really is that simple!

Louisiana College Graduate:
B.A. Music, piano concentration
Management/Marketing minor


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