As far back as 2005 WebMD reported on how cell phones raise stress levels. And more specifically how it is blurring the lines between your professional life and your personal life. Now in South Africa you add in the frustration caused by load shedding, a high violent crime rate and you have enough of a mixture to send stress levels into the stratosphere.

Anyway I have implemented the following two strategies to reduce my dependency on my cellphone and the experience has increased my general well being because I decide when and where to respond to my cell phone, not the other way around.

1. Change your voice mail. 

For the last several weeks I have been using a voice mail message on my cellphone suggested by BulkSMS. The reaction has been varied from a blanket acceptance by at least 70-80% of callers, confusion by about 10% while the remainder continue to leave voice messages as normal. One very good suggestion was that I insert my name back into this voice mail because people who have been referred to me may believe they have the called the wrong cellphone number. The best part about this particular voice mail is that it forces people who contact me to get to the point. They are very specific about the reason why they are making contact. Even better yet, when they do not follow-up with an SMS I never call back any  more because it probably was not that important to start with.

2. Keep your cell phone on silent (vibrate mode):

The reasoning behind this has been simple: If I am doing something, and I have left my cellphone somewhere else, while I don’t hear it, I can focus on completing what I am already involved in. There is a real danger that increased switching time in the myth of multitasking will continue to raise current levels beyond the current 30% and the overall result will be increased draining of your attention. The relief that comes with this particular strategy has been incredible. I think this policy of mine must drive some of my callers insane in the membrane ;-)

I’m curious, what have you done to remove or reduce the stress levels caused by your cellphone?