If You Don’t Change Your Ringtone, We’ll Kill This Dog

The world is filled with problems and annoyances, big and little, that we cannot control. Natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes happen. So do MTA delays and the Mets. So it seems particularly strange when we don’t fix the problems we can. Who has been in the following situation? You are standing in a crowded […]

The world is filled with problems and annoyances, big and little, that we cannot control. Natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes happen. So do MTA delays and the Mets. So it seems particularly strange when we don’t fix the problems we can.

Who has been in the following situation?

You are standing in a crowded room when a cellphone rings. Suddenly twenty people all reach for their pockets to see if it is for them. Ten seconds later nineteen people put away their phones.
I sincerely hope that if you have been in that situation you weren’t one of the twenty people.

Modern phones make it easy to change your default ringtone. If you want to be lazy, you can change to one of the included ringtones. Even making that small change makes it far less likely that yours will match another phone ringing nearby, meaning that you will have to reach for your phone far less often. If you are more adventurous, you can use a sound clip from a song or other audio file to completely personalize your phone. I use a clip from a band called The English Beat. The odds that someone else is using the same clip are minuscule.

Diving into the deep end of the pool, you can customize the rings for various contacts. I use the song Mother and Child Reunion for my mother, Crazy Little Thing Called Love for my wife (that will get you extra brownie points) etc. Now when my phone rings, I know who is calling before I even reach into my pocket.

It’s funny. When I first discovered the custom ringtones feature, I thought it was goofy, a vanity plate for your phone. I was wrong. Custom ringtones are one of the simplest productivity tools available, and not enough people are using them. Change your ringtone and there will be one less. Here are two links with instructions for changing ringtones on iPhones and Android phones.

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