This Is Best Thing I’ve Done for My Sanity This Year (And You Can Do It, Too!)

If you've ever fallen victim to a phantom phone vibration, you need to read this.



About a month ago, I noticed that I couldn’t help but check my phone when it vibrated. I could have been giving my very own TED talk with the President, Beyoncé and Meryl Streep in the audience (That’s everyone’s version of living the dream, right?), and if my phone vibrated — knowing that it was probably an email from Twitter that I would delete instantly, anyway, telling me that Paris Hilton just ate ice cream — I still would have had the nagging urge to check it. Even on a TED stage, in front of the freakin’ President of the United States!

Obviously, my relationship with “vibrate mode” had become a very creepy and dependent one. And it’s not just me: My cousin recently told me she often feels a phantom vibration in her leg, which leads her to check her phone multiple times a day, only to find there’s nothing there. This morning, I took an informal poll of Philly Mag editors to see who else had fallen victim to a phantom phone vibration. Nearly everyone in the room raised their hand. Yikes.

And chances are, you would’ve raised your hand, too, right? But if you, like me (and my family, and just about everyone I work with) have become a slave to your phone’s vibrations — or even worse, some sort of “ding!” noise — not to fear, I’ve got the solution: Turn your phone to “silent.” I know, it’s a lot to ask, but trust me, it works wonders for your productivity, your ability to pay attention and, most importantly, your sanity. I’ve had my phone on silent for the past month and, not to sound dramatic or anything but, it has truly changed my life.

I first dipped my toes in the whole silent thing by experimenting with “do not disturb” mode on my phone when I was sleeping. I wasn’t woken up by any texts from my best friend in California, who has yet to grasp the fact that 10 p.m. her time is 1 a.m. here. My phone didn’t buzz with a message from my boyfriend, who keeps odd hours as a chef, saying he was on his way home from work. And I didn’t get a single email notification by way of a “bzzzz.” It was glorious.

It was so glorious, in fact, that I thought, Why not just do this all the time? Now, of course you can’t have your phone on “do not disturb” mode at all times — that would defeat the purpose of having a phone at all. Instead, I turned all of my notifications — texts, emails, Twitter, Facebook, everything — to silent. At this point, the only thing that will cause my phone to start shaking with vibrations is a call. And who calls anyone anymore?

Since becoming a silent-mode convert, I’ve noticed my phone is no longer a constant interruption to my life. I don’t ask myself every 10 minutes, “Wait — did my phone just vibrate?” Because it never vibrates. I don’t know if I have a new text message or an email or anything else unless I decide to look at my phone. And if I leave my phone in another room, I can go hours without noticing, because not having it around really isn’t that different from having it in my pocket.

Basically, I’m living in the ’90s, when you could go about living your life without anyone interrupting you, and then you could check your messages when you got home. It’s all very retro, and incredibly relaxing. I’m more productive at work, because one little vibration doesn’t lead me to check 10 emails that were totally unrelated to the task at hand. And when I’m hanging out with friends, I’m not that annoying person who rarely makes eye contact because they’re too busy looking at their phone.

The switch to silent mode is so simple, but so life-changing. And I triple-doggie-dare you to do it, too. You don’t have to go all out to start: This weekend, try silencing your phone for all of Sunday, and see how much more sane you feel come Monday morning. You’ll soon be a seven-days-a-week convert, I’m sure.

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