The various phones around the house have been bugging me. As a writer, I don’t like being interrupted anyway, since writing is one of those things where it’s really hard to get going and too easy to stop. I let calls fall into voicemail a lot. But the ringers make me jump out of my skin.
So I’ve turned some ringers off and muffled others. To muffle an electronic ringer, find where the ringing noise comes from and put a piece of tape over it. End of problem. On an older phone with mechanical bells, take the cover off the phone (look for the screws on the bottom) and put a piece of tape on each bell where it’s struck by the clapper. This will give a lovely muted ringing.
Portable phones with a built-in speakerphone feature tend to use the same speaker for both the speakerphone and the ringer, so you’ll muffle the speakerphone if you muffle the bell. “Well worth it,” I say. I hate being on the receiving end of speakerphone calls because the voice quality of the speakerphone user is alwayso bad, so I avoid using speakerphone when talking to other people.
If you have a phone in your bedroom (why?), you should probably turn off its ringer altogether. I hate being awakened by the phone, and the call is always meaningless.
This is part of my quality-of-life campaign, where I try to limit other people’s ability to distract me from my otherwise pleasant life. I don’t watch the news and I usually don’t pick up the phone. I’m trying to cut back on how often I check my email. These things help put me back in charge of both my time and my brain. I recommend them.