Hacking “Do Not Disturb” To Improve Lives

Today’s technology is incredible. Considering everything we can do from our phones

Together with

[vc_row row_content_width=”grid”][vc_column]By Tommy Sobel[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”25px”][vc_row row_content_width=”grid”][vc_column]Today’s technology is incredible. Considering everything we can do from our phones, let’s admit it, we’re basically gods. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Americans spend upwards of 10 hours a day on our devices. New research shows that the more time we spend on our phones and social media, the more unhealthy we become. Anxiety, loneliness, burnout, and general life dissatisfaction are more prevalent today than ever before. How is this possible when technology does so much for us?

OUR “ALWAYS ON” LIFESTYLE IS RUINING EVERYTHING[vc_empty_space height=”25px”]Around 80% of my texts back to people start with, “Hey sorry, missed this,” or “Sorry, just seeing this now.” It’s sad to think of the number of times I’ve distracted myself from friends to tend to an inane but seemingly time-sensitive task because of a notification on my phone. Worse yet, I often feel guilty about not being even more available to everyone all the time.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”15px”]

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”25px”]We do this because we feel an obligation to respond immediately when someone messages us. When we get a text, we get this feeling, this itch, that we only have a certain amount of time to respond before we feel guilty about the “delay.” Conversely, when we reach out to others, we expect them to do the same. This is the slippery slope we’ve fallen into as we’ve created the “always on” society.

This lifestyle is not serving me and it’s not serving you. I don’t want to be a slave to my phone or our society to be either because we’re headed towards a very dark reality.

As a self-diagnosed ex-phone addict, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have an iPhone lifehack that has significantly improved my life. If you do this too, together we might start to mend our “generational addiction” for the survival of meaningful relationships, before it’s too late.



A year ago I created a rule for myself that became a daily routine. For at least an hour every day, I disconnect from my phone by turning it into a Brick™, and do something engaging in the real world. It’s worked so well that I left my job to start a community that makes it fun and easy for others to join me and get off the grid a little bit every day (join at www.gobricknow.com).

When my phone is in Brick Mode™ and I’m completely disconnected from the internet (at dinner with a friend, on a hike, or reading a book) anyone who texts me will get an automatic reply saying that I’m off my phone and I’ll get back to them when I’ve reconnected. This simple auto-reply relieves my “always on” pressure because I know that anyone who texts knows I haven’t seen the message yet. So the “always on” clock hasn’t started in my absence. When I come back to my phone and I get my “notification flood,” I’m not triggered with the pang of anxiety that I’m already behind on a ton of things. This also relieves the pressure from anyone who texts me because they know I haven’t seen it yet and won’t be getting back to them immediately. This is much more pleasant than wondering if they’re being ignored.

My life has really opened up. I’ve been more engaged with my friends and family, I read 28 books last year and I started my own company. Brick Mode has made all the difference.


HOW TO SET UP iMESSAGE AUTO-REPLY (BRICK MODE):[vc_empty_space][mkdf_elements_holder number_of_columns=”two-columns”][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799477909{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Open the Settings app:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13795″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799485812{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Tap “Do Not Disturb”:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13796″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][/mkdf_elements_holder[mkdf_elements_holder number_of_columns=”two-columns”][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799493124{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Tap Activate > Manually:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13797″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799502190{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]

Go back and tap All Contacts:

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13798″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][/mkdf_elements_holderGo back and tap Auto-Reply. Then replace with whatever you want the auto-reply to say. Feel free to copy and paste what I use below:

“My phone is in Brick Mode and I’m off the grid enjoying life. I’ll get this message when I’ve reconnected. Join the movement here: www.gobricknow.com[vc_empty_space][mkdf_elements_holder number_of_columns=”two-columns”][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799517301{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Copy and paste response:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13799″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799526561{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Return to Control Center:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13800″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][/mkdf_elements_holder[mkdf_elements_holder number_of_columns=”two-columns”][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799537253{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Tap Customize Controls:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13801″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1525799546870{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]

Tap the green plus sign:

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13802″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][/mkdf_elements_holderClose Settings. Now when you swipe to view the Control Panel, you’ll see a car emoji. When you want to lock up your phone and activate auto-reply (we call it Brick Mode).[vc_empty_space][mkdf_elements_holder number_of_columns=”two-columns”][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1554533709961{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Tap the car and you’re done:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13803″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][mkdf_elements_holder_item][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1554533703436{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]Brick Mode in action:[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”13804″ img_size=”full”][/mkdf_elements_holder_item][/mkdf_elements_holderIf we can all agree to do this, we can begin to shift our culture away from “always on” expectations and burnout to “sometimes off” bliss. Our phones were meant to serve us, not for us to serve them.

Tommy Sobel

CEO & Founder of Brick


Did this help you? Let me know in the comments!



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