The Bliss of Airplane Mode

The following is a guest post by Amy Holms of FormFire Glassworks. She’s a part-time blogger, part-time residential designer, part-time jewelry creator and a full-time mom of twin teenage girls. She focuses on modern design, tech and current culture. You can follow her on Twitter @formfireglass.

How many times have you sat down to get to work on a project, only to have the phone ring moments after you ‘got into your groove?’ Or closed your eyes for a quick catnap only to have a text message or email buzz through the haze?

Airplane Mode to the Rescue

For the first couple years of life with my iPhone, the only time I put it into Airplane Mode was on the plane, of course. That’s what the name says, right? I could read books, check my calendar, jot down a note, all without fear of FAA reprisals.

It took me another couple of years to truly appreciate the beauty that is that seldom-used Settings button. Now it’s a part of the phone that I wouldn’t live without. But why use this setting when you can just turn off your phone?

Years ago, your phone was just that, a phone. Maybe you had text messaging, perhaps a sad, difficult-to-use calendar and a contact list. Early smartphones gave a bit more, but the advent of the iPhone and Android phones has changed the way we use this piece of technology. When we turn off our phones, we turn off access to our own information, not just the connection with others and the Internet. We lose the ability to take a photo, see our calendar, browse through our task list, or show a picture to a friend.

The Best of Both Worlds

Sitting down to really focus on a project, but still want to use your Pomodoro timer? Airplane Mode lets you keep apps and your alarms on while limiting distractions from others who want to make requests of your time.

Taking a power nap for 20 minutes? Now you can hear that alarm without finding out about your latest Twitter mention.

Working with people around the world or those next door that insist on texting whenever they think of it, even if it is 2:00am? All those notifications are now off until you decide you’re ready to access them again in the morning.

Having a lunch with a friend and the phone won’t stop buzzing? Turn on Airplane Mode and visit in peace while still being able to share photos and schedule your next get-together. It’s the polite way to go.

I use Airplane Mode multiple times a day, and don’t miss out on a thing. Everything waits there until I choose to let those distractions in. It makes all those down times a lot more focused, and when I plug back in, it is with intention, and responses are given more attention because they are no longer an annoyance to tend with.

Try sliding that little button the next time you’re in a situation where distractions are causing you grief. You might find that Airplane Mode gives you an oasis of calm, if only for a few minutes.

Question: Do you use Airplane Mode? How do you handle smartphone distractions?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Newsboyjb

    Great tip, thanks!

  • Liz

    I love airplane mode when meeting with clients, it allows me (as you said) access to info and my timer without disrupting our session. I make a point of explaining that I’m switching to airplane mode out loud because no matter how you slice it, when you put your head down and look at your phone it gives the impression of being distracted, of doing something personal.

    • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

      I love that!   If only each meeting started with an announcement by participants, “Going to Airplane Mode!”

  • http://twitter.com/formfireglass FormFire Glassworks

    I love the idea of announcing it to make other people think about their actions as well – great tip!

  • Rhondapurtee

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

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