A phone use hack- Do Not Disturb mode

The problem:

I’ve wrestled for a long time (-years-) with my phone feeling like a distraction. In general, but especially during working hours.

I tend to time block my best, “deep work” blocks (usually 1 hour blocks), and I hate getting interrupted during them. That’s when I put my head down and really just WORK. No email, no calls, etc.

So, the obvious solution during those times would just be: “turn your phone off!”. Or leave it upstairs, etc.

However, I can never quite bring myself to do this, because….”WHAT IF THERE’S AN EMERGENCY?????”

We don’t have a landline, and especially when the kids are at school, I have this possibly irrational but very real fear that someone will need me urgently and I will be unavailable for an hour+. We also both have parents that are getting a bit older now.

But having my phone just sitting near me means every random text about swim carpool comes through, or my phone can obviously ring (for non-urgent reasons) when I DO NOT WANT TO TALK.

Last year, I read Nir Eyal’s book Indistractible, and he advocates for using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on the iPhone. So, I tried this, but still I felt uncomfortable, because it basically just hides all notifications from you. So if someone calls, you just don’t see it/hear it; if someone texts, the message sits there but you don’t see it until later.

This still caused anxiety for me, because the sender got no notification that I wasn’t receiving the calls/messages. So if school called, once, I still wouldn’t know. (In Do Not Disturb mode, if the person calls twice within 3 minutes, the second call is not silenced.) But, I of course worried- well, what if they didn’t call back? Or what if a very important TEXT came through, and I didn’t know??

A solution!

I have finally found a solution that seems to work! It’s multi-part.

1- I set Ivan to have “Emergency Bypass On” for both Ringtone and Text Tone (edit this in the actual “Contact”). This means even if my phone is on Do Not Disturb OR even just on silenced mode, my phone will RING with sound for both calls or texts from him.

(He is not a phone guy. It is extremely rare for him to call OR text me when we are apart, especially if he’s working. He does not call “just to say hi”, ever. So I know he will never be a distraction/ interruption. But, in the case of a true emergency if someone can’t reach me (or school called), they would likely try him or his office line, too- and then he could call me.)

2- I made a personalized “Do Not Disturb While Driving” message.

The “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode can be manually activated with a quick swipe from my home screen, and that mode, unlike the normal Do Not Disturb mode, lets you personalize the settings quite a bit. (Obviously I’m not actually driving, so I changed the words in the message. And, I added a smiley face. 🙂

If you try this, make sure you turn on Do Not Disturb While DRIVING- which is the car icon. Otherwise, if you just select the regular half moon (normal DND mode), it won’t auto-reply with your little away message- it will just hide all notifications from you.

I was able to set it so the above message will auto-reply to my “Favorites” only (so Ivan, my parents, my sister-in-law, basically), so if they message me and it’s truly urgent, they will realize to call back to override the DND mode.

I didn’t really want this message to pop back to everyone, I guess because I felt like maybe it was kinda weird. I don’t know. For everyone else, like a random friend, the message will just be sitting there and I’ll see it when I take a break.

Anyway! I’ve been using this for a couple weeks now. So far, it feels like a nice way to be “away” from my phone, but still have that security blanket of (some) people having a way to reach me in an emergency. 🙂

Have you ever tried using Do Not Disturb mode?

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for a great swim instructor for Ethan! He started his lessons yesterday morning. He wasn’t too thrilled, but he did it and it went well! (Of course, it probably didn’t help to have his little brother BUTTERFLYING past him a couple lanes over, but oh well. Ethan could out-run Asher on LAND any day, so, to each their own strengths. 🙂 )

warming up in the hot tub after

4 thoughts on “A phone use hack- Do Not Disturb mode”

  1. This is a great, detailed suggestion. I’m going to try it since I’m finding myself mindlessly grabbing me phone a bit more on break.


  2. I use this all the time for naps! Ha! But I try to nap/lay down on weekend afternoons when I’m feeling really tired and I do not want to get interrupted by a random text. And then I have it programmed to go into DND mode from 8pm-7am but allow calls from my mom during those hours in case something were to ever happen.


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