Silent Mode Off

This is my fourth post on the minimalism series and my second one on digital minimalism. You can read my previous posts below:

  1. Me & Minimalism
  2. What is minimalism and what is not?
  3. Digital Minimalism: Delete the phone apps.

So, if you are working in a corporate setting like me, you would have been accustomed to the fact that loud ringtones are taboo. You would have already embraced the silent mode. The extension of this is getting used to silent mode even at home.

I use silent mode at home for a couple of reasons:

  1. To avoid disturbing others at home
  2. I get distracted by notification sounds and fear that I would spend more time glued to my mobile. 

While point 1 may be true, it turned out that point 2 is incorrect. At least, in my case. Setting the mobile in silent mode at home did the opposite of what I was trying to achieve. When in silent mode, I was concerned that I might miss the calls and pings from important people. So I always kept checking my mobile frequently and, invariably, some notification of some app pushed me down the spiral. 

So, I experimented with one simple rule last week. Turn the silent mode off and set the mobile in ringing mode when I am home. The exception to this rule is only when I am on a work related call from home. I did not succeed completely in following this rule as the old habits die hard but I was able to follow it from Monday to Friday. 

Initially, it was a bit hard and I kept checking if I have turned the silent mode on subconsciously. I didn’t. I did not get many notifications, especially after deleting a bunch of time sucking apps. From the second day onward, I started getting comfortable. Couple of more days and I observed that I was more peaceful and paid attention to my mobile only when somebody called or when I got a message. I started to realize that an occasional loud ringtone was more tolerable than the fear of missing out. 

Then a funny thing happened. During the weekend, my old habit kicked in again and I had turned the silent mode on. Interestingly, my new habit of not checking the mobile until it rings also kicked in and I did not check my mobile at all. And then, when I suddenly remembered my phone as I wanted to call someone, I saw a bunch of missed calls from my colleague who was trying desperately to call me for some work related stuff. My new habit was productive for me but not so much for my colleague. This was bound to happen during the transition phase I guess. I will continue following this rule and see how it helps in the long run.

My key tip in this post on digital minimalism is:

Turn your phone’s silent mode off to silence your mind.

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7 thoughts on “Silent Mode Off

  1. Interesting thought process. Reminds of an old article I read many many years ago. A company had just rolled out BlackBerry devices which meant instant messaging and emails on the go. Then one day an IT manager rang the helpdesk quite frustrated. He demanded his device was not working and as he’d not had any emails . The helpdesk person commented, ‘maybe because no one has sent you any emails’? *pow*

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