Two simple steps to reducing your cellphone stress levels today

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?


Cellphone etiquette for people on the move from BulkSMS

cell phone SMS text messageAccording to Dr Pieter E. Streicher, managing director at, “We need an etiquette tailored for business people who communicate on the move. The increase in cellphone usage for work and private calls or messaging is becoming a source of irritation and psychological stress within, and outside, the workplace.”

See below for’s 10 tips on cellphone etiquette for the work environment.

*10 Cellphone Etiquette Tips*

1. Use SMS to reduce the social intrusion of a call. When a cellphone call is replaced by an SMS message it is less intrusive as it gives the recipient an opportunity to reply or call back when convenient. Cellphones should be viewed differently from fixed line phones. Unlike fixed line phone calls, cellphone calls are often received in situations requiring our focused attention such as driving a car, during meetings, or at social gatherings. The public use of the cellphone intrudes into the social space of anybody within earshot, making a private communication a public spectacle.

    2. Enable the “Silent” setting on your cellphone in public places or open offices spaces. This will allow you to minimise the noise your ringtone or message alert makes in areas where several people may be disturbed by a ringing or beeping cellphone.

    3. Use SMS like a pager. SMS is an unobtrusive way to get hold of a person as there is no immediate compulsion to reply to the SMS. If a cellphone is turned off, the SMS will be delivered shortly after it is switched on. When fixed line calls are not answered it is assumed that no one is home. It is therefore acceptable to continue calling a fixed line number until someone answers. In contrast, a cellphone is usually carried on your person. When a cellphone call is not answered it may not be an opportune time to speak. It may be viewed as unnecessary harassment if calls are made continuously to a cellphone.

    4. Use SMS as a notepad. Request callers to SMS the required details after the call. A pen and notepad are common items near fixed line phones for writing down instructions and phone numbers. In contrast, it is often difficult to take notes during a cellphone conversation, especially when driving a car (with a hands-free kit) or when listening to multiple voice messages.

    5. Change your voicemail greetings to include: “Don’t leave a message, rather SMS me”.

    6. Instead of leaving a voicemail message send an SMS. This removes the need to write down details while listening to messages. Furthermore, scrolling through SMS messages is much quicker than listening to many voicemail messages.

    7. Use SMS to send regular updates on a business process directly to a customer’s cellphone. Businesses are finding that customers appreciate receiving regular updates in any extended business process; such as the repairing a car, the delivery of items ordered online, or when new a cheque book is available for collection.

    8. Avoid the inappropriate use of SMS messaging. Consumers do not appreciate unwanted marketing messages. Unwanted messages are seen as spam. There are regulations prescribing opt-in and opt-out procedures via SMS. Businesses contravening these codes of conduct for commercial messages can be heavily fined by the regulatory authority.

    9. Ensure that there is an opt-out mechanism for consumers when sending out marketing messages via SMS. An SMS channel ensures that a consumer does not have to make unnecessary phone calls to networks or wireless application service providers to remove themselves from a database.To opt-out from unwanted commercial SMS messages, a consumer should be able to reply with the word “Stop”. Visit WASPA for more details.

    10. Use a desktop SMS messaging solution, such as the BulkSMS Text Messenger, that supports the sending and receiving of personalised individual and bulk messages. This allows you to customise your communications and track conversations with your consumers, clients or suppliers and promotes efficient internal and external business communications. Businesses should heed the changing social norms of cellphone use. In certain situations, customer, client or supplier preference to receive SMS messages rather than voice calls necessitates the implementation of an SMS solution across all departments of a business.

    Download the full media release here.