Use Airplane Mode Often & Live in the Moment

I accidentally discovered that “Airplane Mode” is the most useful feature on my mobile device.

As my Galaxy Nexus from December of 2011 (I know, I know… it’s a relic) aged, the battery started sucking more than it already did. In order to combat this, I started to put it on airplane mode on the subway, in meetings, at lunch and dinner to conserve the battery while still allowing it to function as my watch. In doing so, I made an important discovery.

When I put my phone on airplane mode, I stop worrying about it.

I stop experiencing phone-schizophrenia. Symptoms include:

  • compulsively grabbing the device, and turning it on to see if anything new came
  • feeling phantom vibrations (yeah, you know you feel them too)
  • hearing the ringtone when no one was calling
  • and ignoring friends and loved ones

As a result I started to pay more attention to the people around me, and it’s wonderful.


One thing is clear in my new world of airplane mode socialization. Most people lack self-control when it comes to their devices. Even people who complain about how everyone has their face buried in their phones.

The more I attention I pay to the people around me the more I notice how many phones are just sitting on bars or tables. Their owners casually and compulsively checking them without even realizing that they are doing it. Now that I’m more aware of it, I notice when I do it. I never used to notice.

The bottom-line

Kill your signal from time-to-time. If you’re spending time with someone you care about, you’ll have an even better time if you’re devoting your full attention.


Trust me, the world won’t end. It wasn’t that long ago that we weren’t all in constant contact with one another. I promise your texts, emails, and tweets will wait. That’s the beauty of asynchronous communication; it doesn’t require an instant response.

And don’t worry about that missed call, they’ll leave a message. I promise you their phone will be on when you call later.

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