Up until a month ago, every time I sat to work on the computer at the office, this is how it would look like: work, look at the phone, work, look at the phone, and so it continued until my task was complete — usually longer than it would have taken had I not been distracted by my phone.
Today, I embraced Do Not Disturb mode on a full-time basis. Now, my tasks are more focused, whether they are work-related or personal.
I take less time to complete my tasks, and I’m crossing off more tasks on my to-do lists. I also feel a whole lot more productive since starting using this mode.
Here’s how it affected my life.
‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode Felt Dangerous
I used to hesitate using Do Not Disturb. What if someone tries to call me? What if I miss an important notification? These are only two of the numerous questions people who want to use that mode debate in their minds.
One time, I used Do Not Disturb on a Friday morning at the mall while I wrote an essay and I wanted to focus. When I had turned off Do Not Disturb, I saw an unanswered call from my mom so I called her back. She was astounded that I wouldn’t answer her. From her perspective, it seemed like I had just hung up on her.
I explained what Do Not Disturb was to her and she wasn’t satisfied. She asked me not to do it again. “What if it was an emergency?” she asked standoffishly. I needed to find a different solution to allow me to focus on my creativity.
In hindsight, I only needed to allow phone calls as I discovered later. The notifications were the distracting element, not the phone calls.
I Became A Night Owl
If I can’t put on Do Not Disturb when my parents are awake, I’ll put it on when they’re asleep. Simple, right?
It worked for a while. I was sleeping less than 6 hours a night, but I finally completed some things I needed to do. Their quality was debatable for sure, but a completed rough draft is better than an uncompleted edited one.
As the days went by, I started feeling fatigued. I didn’t find the willpower to sit down, and I didn’t write every day like I planned to do beforehand. Then, one day, my mom looked at me and said I looked haunted. I wasn’t sleeping enough, and it showed under my eyes. Dark circles to match the fatigue I felt inside. I was also hungrier than usual, another symptom of sleep deprivation.
That’s when I knew I would need to move on from my night owl solution.
I Wrote On My Phone While Commuting
Writing on my phone was a desperate solution.
I couldn’t put Do Not Disturb as I wanted to respect my parent’s wishes, so I wrote while notifications were pouring in on my iPhone.
It was a mess. I would write something, and then a WhatsApp group notification would pop up. I would wipe it up, and then something else would replace it. I had some quiet between notifications if I chose to mute the active group.
And so it went. I wasn’t getting anything done that way.
So, as my frustration with not being able to write, grew, and grew, I realized something important: I’m not thinking this through. Something about how Do Not Disturb worked wasn’t right.
Researching Do Not Disturb Mode
Do you too sometimes have that epiphany that you have accepted something as fact without checking it? That’s what I realized about Do Not Disturb.
How could it be that this mode is not customizable? Isn’t it possible to rid me of notifications for a while without damaging my parents’ ability to reach me?
And so I googled and searched, and sure enough there it was! ‘Allow Calls’ the most beautiful setting in the world.
Configuring Allow calls on the iPhone allowed me to either enable all incoming calls or to configure my parents as approved contacts.
The World Was Finally Silent
At first, I couldn’t handle the quiet. I was so used to looking for notifications on my phone that I actively reached out to check it. It’s maddening and scientifically proven that even if your phone is nearby and off, you still can’t fully relax.
But the buzzing noise was gone. My weird anxiety disappeared after a few days and then I started to enjoy it. I would focus on the task at hand for however long I needed or could and then I would check the phone.
It was liberating in a profound way. Like being stuck in a room full of people without getting out and then you realize there’s a door behind you to a quiet empty room all to yourself.
I liked it.
This configuration has genuinely changed my life. So much clutter on my phone disappeared the moment I started using Do Not Disturb while allowing calls from a select few people. Or anyone really, I’m not getting so many phone calls.
A Word Of Caution
Using Do Not Disturb can help you become more productive. I experienced that. But, using that mode is like using the promotions tab on your Gmail. It could lead to you losing some opportunities if you’re not careful.
While using it, you will become more familiar with the fact that notifications arrive silently. When you open your iPhone, you will be overwhelmed by how many emails, messages, and essential notifications you missed.
Going over notifications accumulated over an hour or two is not severe — going over notifications of an entire day is time-consuming and chaotic.
Use Do Not Disturb with caution, and it will change your life, productivity, and peace of mind!