Setting Technological Boundaries

We are so tied to our phones.

The constant stream of notifications from emails, text messages, app reminders, social media tags, and (every now and then) phone calls barrages us into submission. Sometimes I think all we do now is work.

Studies show people are working harder and longer hours than ever before, and it’s largely because of our constant attachment to technology. We sync our work emails to our personal accounts and all of a sudden, there’s no such thing as being off the clock.

To me, it gets even worse when you look at handmade businesses. For many, their handmade companies might be side-projects, but treating it like a side-project won’t get you anywhere. So we sit and respond to customer inquiries at all hours of the day and night. It looks bad if we’re not immediately available and often makes the difference between making another sale or missing out.

It’s not healthy and it’s really not sustainable, so it’s a matter of finding your boundaries and staying within them. There are times and places where everything can wait. And this is what I’ve been working on for the last year.

After things got so busy with Made in Canada in 2015, I started to resent my phone. It was constantly beeping and I just found myself shouting at it, “I’M ALREADY BUSY!” It wasn’t that I was upset people were trying to contact me, it was just that I already had several tasks on the go at any given moment, and the interruptions were distracting. I would constantly have to restart sentences I was writing or just sit there for a minute and ask myself, “What I was I doing just now?”

When time is already so precious, losing time on notifications just made them all the more frustrating.

But I taught myself to turn my phone to silent. It was dictating when and how I should be working just by making noises at me. When I turned my phone to silent, I could decide when I would look at the screen and be ready to take on another task.

My productivity increased and now I find myself turning my phone to silent during almost all my working hours. It’s peaceful and quiet and on my own terms.

I know I’m not the first person to discover the joys and benefits of turning one’s phone on silent, but if you haven’t tried it, give it a go for a few days. See how you feel. See how it changes your creative process. See how it changes your product.

Not everything is for everyone, but I’m sold on this. Silent phones are useful phones.

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