How not to be a slave to your smartphone

Pavlov was a scientist who conditioned a dog. Whenever he rang a bell, the dog expected food and its mouth started to water. The smartphone conditions human behavior in almost exactly the same way.

Through our smartphones, we humans have become like Pavlov's dog. But it doesn't have to be that way. When we get a text, the sender knows we've received it. We feel some stress about that.

We should be asking, "Am I the dog, or am I the master?"  If you no longer trust yourself, who is left to trust?

We also get lots of spam calls, usually at just the wrong time.

So recently I experimented with some of these phone apps that claim to block spam and unwanted calls. I tried a few and  finally settled on an app called "TrueCaller", but there are a number of other good ones. My criteria were simple:

1. If it's from somebody I have in my Contacts, let it go through, and show me a popup on my home screen that identifies the caller.
2, If it's known spam, show me the popup and reject the call.
3. Always look up the caller and show me who it is first.
4. Give me an option so that any unidentified call not only DOES NOT RING THE PHONE but instead goes straight to voicemail. The key phrase: "does not ring the phone".

The first thing I noticed is that my stress level about phone calls went down almost immediately. Now I was in control, not the phone.

Our time is precious, and unwanted phone calls should be screened in the most effective manner possible. If it goes to voicemail without interrupting you, and the call is important, the caller will leave you a message, and you are still in control.


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