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What’s your immediate response when you get a notification on your smartphone?

I know that mine is often to check it. The compulsion to see what it is, who it’s from, and what it’s about can be strong. Sometimes too strong! Much to the dislike of some of my children, knowing this, I’ve taken the simple step of disabling notifications on my iPhone.

What about you? How strong is the compulsion to allow your phone to dictate where your attention is turned?

Stating the obvious, but because you can respond immediately doesn’t mean you should. And though the invitation is appealing, you’re under no obligation to click, open or give your attention. You really aren’t obliged. Really!

Instantly giving your attention is tantamount to changing your plans based on the urgencies of someone else’s agenda. This can result in you swapping their urgent for your important, slowing down progress towards your goals, and most likely derailing your own plans for a better future.

You may be tempted and even flattered by their enthusiasm and desire to get your attention or bring you on board, but their excitement doesn’t necessarily make it right for you. So before responding, consider how what you’re about to give your attention to fits with your ideals, values and plans.

Whether it’s an email, a phone call, or the latest social media notification, as Tristan Harris insightfully points out in his brilliant TED Talk: The Manipulative Tricks Tech Companies Use to Capture Your Attention, others are consistently vying for your attention.

But you can always say, ‘No thanks, I’m too busy being focused on what’s important to me right now’, as there’s always a choice. And the choice is always yours to make.

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You can watch Tristan Harris’ TED Talk below:

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