June 15


Do not disturb, do not distract

By Ralph Varcoe

June 15, 2020

productivity hacks

3.8   DND. Always DND

Productivity hack no.37 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.

Sadly in today’s ‘always connected’ world people are often pretty rude to each other. The phone sits on the table in front of them and when it pings they glance at it, pick it up, and deal with the message straight away while the other person is sat waiting.

If you were a doctor or therapist you’d focus 100% on your patient/client during their appointment. You simply can’t use your mobile at all. If you schedule a meeting with your boss you would likely focus on them and the agenda items to the exclusion of everything else. It’s unlikely you’ll be getting the big bonus or raise if your boss thinks you don’t care enough about the meeting by answering other calls or messages while giving them an update on an important client.

The main thing here is that you can choose to avoid being disturbed when it’s important enough or when using your phone is simply not allowed (during a concert, on a flight).

Choose to be undisturbed when you are focusing on your goals and being ultra-productive. Put yourself into DND mode - ‘Do Not Disturb’.

Turn notifications off on your phone and computer. Put Do Not Disturb on your phone. If you really want you can put yourself on airplane mode to ensure you can’t be contacted. Disconnect from the internet if that helps.

My recommendation is to turn notifications off and put DND on.

This will stop all distractions however, including those from important people you may actually want or need to hear from. Do you really want to block your child from calling in an emergency, or your boss or spouse? My further recommendation is to create a list of Favourites on your phone who will still get through to you with a call if they really need to contact you while you’re on DND.


  • Turn notifications off
  • Put all devices on DND
  • Create a list of important callers who you are happy to be disturbed by
  • Tell those in your list that to get hold of you they MUST call and not just text or email

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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