Human Habits

Habits are hard to break and even harder to build. Well, wait let me rephrase: they are exceptionally easy to build if they’re algorithmically driven. But us mere humans struggle to do it the old fashioned way.

This morning, in the New York Times, was a great article about an Italian restaurant in New York City’s east village. Customers were distracted. They spent entire meals on phones. What could be done? The owner considered a few options: offering to “check” their phones at the hostess table? (Nah) How about having the waitress offer to take them? (Even worse) What about buying vintage tins from Etsy, placing them on the table, and allowing patrons to discover them, and their use, at their own pace? Bingo.

I have to admit, I’m so happy to see this trend.

Last week I got a new phone and all of the notifications were set to default: in other words, ALARMINGLY obnoxious. I posted an Instagram photo and every single time I got a like, I was notified. That’s over 100 notifications! Throughout the week I started to feel laggard. I was checking my phone even more than usual. My battery was drained (on a new phone)!

Last night, when a stranger “liked” my photo. I had had enough. I went into settings and silenced them all.

I work in technology, but I hate the way technology demands to own my attention and the cadence of my life.

So on I go trying to fight the algorithmic habits with good old fashioned discipline: Settings > Notifications > Mute All.  

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