Mental Health Tip: Create Micro-Boundaries With Work On Your Phone
It’s easy to under-estimate the effect that push notifications have on us, but the research is clear: turning off push notifications has mental health benefits. In this post, I would like to start with work-related push notifications because it seems more straight-forward and less personal than other types of apps. Let’s normalize what it means to have work-life balance for ourselves and to truly allow ourselves to unplug during off-hours.
On your desktop, open the Slack app and click on your workspace name at the top left
From there, click Preferences > Notifications tab
Within the Notifications tab, scroll down to Notification schedule and choose your schedule
iPhone Scheduled Do Not Disturb
The iPhone has a basic “Do Not Disturb” functionality that you can schedule during moments where you want undisturbed time. It is a good way to create an over-arching “no fly zone” time block. I go into other ways to customize it more below.
How to get there: Settings > Do Not Disturb > Scheduled
iPhone Notification Settings
I spent one Saturday morning deleting apps that I don’t want or I don’t think meaningfully improves my life. And then, I went through my Notification settings and allowed the bare minimum level of intrusion needed per app, one by one.
Ways you can customize notifications:
Sound (most important/urgent apps),
Badge (turn off the little red dot at the top of the app that gets annoying),
Alert Type – on Lock Screen / Notification Center / Banner (this can be very useful),
Show Previews (privacy),
Notification Groupings by App or Automatic
iPhone Screen Time
My favorite part of the iPhone is the Screen Time in Settings. It takes a while to play around with, but it’s worth it.
Downtime: have some fun with this: personal time, creative time, digital detox time, etc.
App limits: a great place to start is social media apps.
Communication limits: select people who can contact you during your chosen Down Time.
Always Allowed: carefully choose which apps are allowed during your down time.
Content & Privacy Restrictions: Block inappropriate content.
Open the Outlook app on your phone and click on the upper-left icon to expose the side-bar.
From there, click on the bell icon on the upper-left at the top.
You can set Do Not Disturb Schedule for work email from there.
I apologize for Android users, as I use the iPhone. I have found many resources that show how to do a similar process for Android, including here.
This post was about work-related communication, but I would suggest trying this out for non-work related communication as well. Don’t know where to start? Try social media (Tik Tok, Instagram, Reddit, etc) and really thoughtfully create microboundaries around time spent.