Putting My Phone Permanently on Do Not Disturb Changed My Life

Let me start by admitting that at 61-years old, I might be an old fart. But it seems that the modern world keeps coming at us faster and faster. Finding peace and calm in the firehose of life is a tough task.

The smartphone is an incredible device and gives us a lot of capabilities that we never had.

Gone are the days when, as a kid, I would wander and play, only needing to return home by a certain time or when the street lights came on. It almost doesn’t seem very responsible these days that parents would let their kids out of sight without being able to track them.

I started life with a rotary phone, having to drag your finger around the entire dial and wait for the dial to return. I grew up in an area where numbers started with 299, and those damn 9s were a pain. My home phone number had three of them.

Then we went to push-button phones. Dialing was faster. How fancy. I even worked in a store in a mall as a teenager that only sold push-button phones. It was at that time when a co-worker confided in me one day that she had just done a porn movie. Congratulations? I’m still not sure what the appropriate co-worker response to that is.

Next came putting the push-button phone in a handset to establish a modem connection. It was the first day of connecting a computer at home with a distant computer.

The next big leap with the telephone was cell phones. Incredible. You could actually roam around and pay huge telephone bills and talk to people on a bad connection. But roaming fees-yuck.

The first cellphone I was given was a bag phone. It weighed a couple of pounds due to the heavy battery in the bag. This should have been the moment of foreshadowing about what my future would be like with phones.

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It wasn’t but a week or so later that I played golf with my father when the bag phone rang on the golf course. Work was calling. I instantly asked myself what in the world I brought it with me but work said if they gave it to me I needed to use it.

It was the very first time a work call interrupted my life, pissed people off, and became a painful distraction. We had to let the group behind us play through since I could not politely get off the damn phone with my boss.

That was in 1987.

Since that time, I have never found the right way to manage my smarter and smarter phones. The walkie-talkie models just interrupted you without warning, and the web surfing phones sucked up extra time.

Then came the struggle that I never managed well until now. It’s that time when you are with someone else or in the middle of an activity, and your phone rings. The moment you answer the phone, you are actually telling the other person they are less important. And when a call interrupts a leisure activity or time with the family, that can be very disruptive in so many ways.

I Finally Was Brave Enough to Implement a Solution

With my smartphone now, I can silence unknown callers and leave the phone on do not disturb.

But my family knows the secret on how they can still get through if it is urgent.

I will admit that it took me far too many decades to be willing to silence my phone so I could enjoy life more but now that I have done it, wow!

It has only been about a week since I had the guts to do that, and it has already changed my life for the better.

Gone is the pressure of being in the middle of something else and having stress dumped on me at any random moment. Gone are the interruptions from wrong number calls or collection calls for someone else that ever had my telephone number more than 12 years ago.

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Most importantly, here are the new days that I can now enjoy downtime on my terms, and that ability to recharge and take a mental break is so essential in these crazy times of a pandemic and revolution.

My advice to you is to consider taking a similar approach to taming your smartphone to regain your life as well. The best description of how doing this has made me feel, it has given me calm and control over living in the moment.

And if you are someone dealing with a lot of external stress like collection calls and that pressure is pushing you to the limit, consider a phone holiday. It will improve your life immmediately.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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