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?


Author: RJ Thomas

RJ Thomas is an International Relationship Builder. He was born in South Africa, and moved to China in 2013.

  • I have a simple philosophy:

    Cellphones have made people lazy – it is far too easy to phone someone to solve a problem for you than to actually work it out for yourself.

    In a previous version of my life I was on call 24 hours a day and also fielded calls of a technical nature – eventually the technical calls dwindled as the techs got used to me asking “Have you got a Manual”, Yes? “Okay, I will help you now by telling which page you can find the solution to your problem on, the next time you call I will refer you to the manual.” Don’t be afraid to make people that surround you strong – it works and is empowering.

    I make judicious use of the OFF button and make it clear in all communications that my cellphone messages will NOT be answered, phoning me on the landline is better, e-mailing me even better and that my UNDIVIDED attention will be given to someone who visits – all done on an escalating need and priority basis.

    The most effort normally results in the most reward.