Do Not Disturb—lifesaving or irritating?

If I’m giving focus to something, maybe I just want to get it done, and maybe it’s something enjoyable that I want to give my time and energy to. Either way, I want to stay focused.

The pinging of the phone is as disruptive to my focus as the alarm clock is to my sleep. Occasionally I can plow through, but most of the time, it knocks me off course, even if I don’t check to see who texted.

The dings interrupt. That’s their function.

Oodles of people complain about not being able to focus on a task without getting interrupted.

Certainly not all interruptions can be muted, but the phone can be.

I hadn’t thought too much about this recently until an interesting conversation on social media popped up regarding leaving your phone on DND all the time, a habit attributed to generations younger than mine.

DND is Do Not Disturb, and it silences notifications. Settings allow you to make some exceptions to the quiet.

In the last two years, I learned that keeping my phone on DND is a good thing. I can preserve some of my focus. My phone is set so that a phone call from Climbing Daddy, Tall Daddy, or school will ring through. It’s also set so that two sequential phone calls from the same number will ring through.

If there’s an issue that’s not worth two phone calls, it’s not an emergency and I can get to it when I decide to look at my phone.

If I’m expecting a text or a call that I want or need to attend to in real time, I’ll usually turn off DND so I hear it. Or I’ll put on my watch and adjust settings so the notification buzzes my wrist but still doesn’t make noise.

Even with all notifications full blast, I only get sounds from messaging apps and phone calls. No email or social media or bad weather alerts or other app sounds.

Many people in this debate were either horrified or irritated that people leave their phones on DND. 

What’s your take?

2 thoughts on “Do Not Disturb—lifesaving or irritating?”

  1. I turn off the notifications for most apps, especially social media, so they do not ring all day long. Phone calls that come in from a number I do not know get ignored (messages can be left if it is something critical). At night, the phone charges on the desk in my office down the hall so there’s no need to set DND.

    I am old enough to remember the days before being available 24/7 and honestly miss those days. There are few things that are important enough to be on-call for at all times. For example, I got my first cell phone because I was traveling for business frequently and my grandparents were getting ill. I wanted my family to have an easy way to reach me instead of having to share contact information for the hotel of the week and hope everyone got that.

    But people being upset about you not being available all the time need to get a grip and respect your boundaries. Even without DND, expecting an immediate response to all communication is disrespectful.

    • I also don’t answer calls from unknown numbers (unless I’m expecting one) and I’m amazed that so many people just answer no matter who is calling!

      Agreed 100% on not being “on call” and respecting that people have lives!!


Leave a Comment