The Circle of Death.
While I am quite certain this was the name of a drinking game I played in college, I now have a new definition for the “COD”.
I have learned to master it – and I’ll share how I did it – but first let me tell you about this electronic circular nemesis to see if you can relate.
The COD I refer to steals my peace.
It interrupts my ability to be present.
It controls my thoughts by demanding my attention.
It introduces issues at inopportune times.
Basically, the COD jacks up my flow. (To put it in, you know, scientific terms)
The circle I am referring to is what our friends at Apple innocently refer to as a “badge”.
That small red circle that perches on the upper right hand corner of each App on your device.
The number inside the Circle of Death is like a mini scale telling you exactly how stressed you should be about this particular App.
Here’s how I interpreted this scale:
Red circle with a single digit = normal levels of cortisol.
Red circle with a number >30 in the center = irritation with a side of elevated heart rate
And (heaven forbid) triple digits = immediate cause for stop, drop, and roll
I don’t remember if my Blackberry had its own version of this ‘feature’ but it’s safe to say that I have spent the better part of the last 7 years engaged in a game of whack-a-mole with the Apple badge notification before deciding that I needed to make a change.
This idea came to me on accident.
I had committed to breaking the habit of checking email/social media first thing in the morning and I had posted about it on Facebook because; accountability.
A former colleague recommended that, to help me not feel tempted to check my phone, I turn off the “Badge Notification” on some of my apps.
I assumed that I would need to call upon a small dose of herculean willpower to ignore those little red numbers while deep breathing my way through the irritation and rising blood pressure.
It had never occurred to me that there was another way.
(Spoiler alert: there’s ALWAYS another way.)
I shared this new strategy on Facebook and the overwhelming response from my peers (all, like, six of them) was horror. “But what if you MISS something!?” they asked, half terrified, half disgusted.
I read their comments (aka warnings) and mentally shrugged.
I don’t know. Didn’t seem like THAT much damage could be done.
I could always turn them back on …?
So I made the brave pilgrimage into the settings of my iPhone and disabled ALL of the notifications for everything that I deemed “extra” to a phones primary purpose. My phone and I had a “come to Jesus” conversation. I her she was allowed to alert me of phone calls and text messages because her flip-style predecessor had done this without stressing me the heck out and the world kept turning. I laid down the law that my iPhone and I were going to follow these same rules.
No more Circle of Death.
I am proud to report that I have not missed a single thing.
I am also happy to tell you that I can look at my phone any time of the day and not feel an ounce of stress. I can actually see my phones background because it’s no longer cluttered by electronic acne and I quite like it.
This is what it ALWAYS looks like:
I have made this recommendation to several people are each has offered favorable feedback.
None of the people I have suggested this to had asked me about ways to better manage their technology (not my area of expertise!) and none of them would’ve sited this as a cause of stress or anxiety – yet each one has found it a helpful strategy for feeling less anxious.
Consider that more peace could be a simple system setting away!
PEACE & LOVE