Text Overwhelm and the City
26th September 2018
Is your head is about to explode from the volume of text messages on your phone?
Do you ever pick up your phone and discover your friends or family have sent 9 zillion WhatsApp messages to the group while you nipped to the loo? It can be overwhelming. You gaze at the epic trail of drunken nonsense/hilarious photos/touching anecdotes/hen do plans/flirty requests/demands for your time or money/stream of emojis. Where do you start?
We treat text messages and emails as urgent when they are not. The sheer volume of them – and the instant replies – can suck the life out of us at times. Shamash Alidina was a guest on the Urban Curiosity podcast in summer 2017. He talked about mindfulness, kindfulness and the Museum of Happiness.
With his co-founder and their team, Shamash had just raised nearly £30,000 in 30 days for the museum’s Crowdfunder. As part of the final push, he sent around a thousand messages through the WhatsApp and when the campaign was over, Shamash realised how tired he was from this constant messaging. He deleted the app for a day and it felt good, so he did it for another one.
It’s been almost a month and a half now and I gradually deleted more and more of my social media apps and various things. Eventually, I actually even broke the phone. I think I did it half consciously, half unconsciously.
Just having this opportunity to have no phone or using it very little has given me a more pleasant experience of being in London and feeling more connected with myself and my surroundings. That’s given me a very different experience of London, to be honest. Each time a message comes in, I think it drains a little bit of energy and it accumulates over the course of the day.
– Shamash Alidina, author of Mindfulness for Dummies
- Try switching off alerts and notifications if you haven’t already. What happens?
- Mute or unfollow groups and clear out your archive.
- Respond when it suits you, not the sender.
- Consider deleting your messaging apps.
- Could a short phone call be more helpful and/or meaningful than a text exchange?