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Do Not Disturb

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Do Not Disturb

Today I want to talk about one of my pet peeves. And offer a solution that will make you – and everyone around you – a little bit more productive.

It’s when people put their phone on silent… and yet leave the vibrate function on.

When you couple this with the popular practice of placing cell phones on the dinner/boardroom table, what happens is that whenever a message or a call comes in – it vibrates.

And makes a sound.

Which defeats the whole purpose of setting the phone to silent in the first place.

Let’s make it clear – setting your phone to vibrate is NOT setting your phone to silent.

Almost everyone I know gets alerted to the sound or movement of a vibrating cell phone. And what this means, is that we are still letting our attention be held at the mercy of others. Phone vibrates – I hear it, you hear it, everyone else around the table hears it. And we have to either answer it, or press a button to silence it.

If you want to set your phone to silent then REALLY set it to silent – no ring tone, no vibrate.

Here’s exactly how you do that.

1. Set Vibrate on Silent to “off”. Here’s what it looks like on an iPhone:
Vibrate on Silent Off

2. Use Do Not Disturb mode. This is an iPhone thing, though I’m sure Android has an app that can take care of this too. Here are the settings I recommend:
DND Settings

You’ll notice that between 9pm and 5am (my usual sleep time) I don’t allow incoming calls, messages or notifications, except from favorites. I also turn repeated calls to “off”.

What this does is it helps you garner some respect for your time and your attention.

If we let people interrupt us in the middle of a meeting, in the middle of an activity or in the middle of a meal (probably one of the few times during the day that we get peace and quiet in today’s world)… then what does that say about how much we value our own time and attention?

These are both things that belong TO US, and once we start giving them away liberally, it becomes really hard to get them back.

The only actions here are to set your phone to silent (true silent), and to help spread the word – the next time a friend or colleague’s phone vibrates across the table, tell them. And make everyone a little bit more productive.

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7 Comments

Posted by Reemer  | June 26, 2015 at 9:52AM | Reply

Phone etiquette is paramount these days! Thank you for this refresher.

Posted by Arlington  | June 24, 2015 at 7:41AM | Reply

Totally agree! I find vibration rings more irritating than an actual ring. To me it says that the person doesn’t really want to pay attention – they are still tethered to their phone and the whim of anyone who calls regardless of the situation.

A good few years ago I ran into the issue of getting text messages even between 12-3am (!!). I sleep well but once I’m awake it’s over. After weeks of this and next to no sleep, I finally discovered do not disturb. I’ve been ‘offline’ from 9pm to 7am since and not once regretted it! Important people (who respect my time and would only call in absolute emergency) are on my favourites list. I got some aggro for a while from said friends who felt I should be contactable 24/7, but now they’re over it and know not to call or text in that time or they won’t get through.

Posted by Alonso Calle  | November 12, 2014 at 10:36AM | Reply

Thanks for your advices! I love almost all your post :)

Posted by Sean Oliver  | February 18, 2014 at 7:38PM | Reply

I’ve been preaching this for some time. Thanks so much for the step-by-step.

Posted by Kosio Angelov  | February 16, 2014 at 7:31PM | Reply

That is a great tip! It is also worth mentioning that this is a feature only available on iOS 7 and above. Older phones (or at least older iOS versions don’t have a DND option at all).

Posted by Andy  | February 15, 2014 at 11:32AM | Reply

That’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine too, especially when you are out at a nice restaurant and the other person picks up the phone in the middle of the meal as if it’s some sort of emergency, then goes on to chit chat for 10 mins or sth…

Posted by Jon Surratt  | February 14, 2014 at 12:17PM | Reply

I completely agree. One of the nice features of some Android phones (may even be all; I own the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, in addition to an iPhone) is that it lets you toggle between 3 settings: totally silent, vibrate, and ring. The totally silent setting does not buzz or vibrate for any notifications, ever. I not only find this courteous to others, but also liberating for myself when I try to unplug. It’s much easier than switching on DND mode or switching vibrate mode between silent and non-silent.

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