Using Ringtones for Efficiency

There’s something about a ringing phone that makes it the most compelling item in the room.

When I was growing up, a ringing phone meant that someone you knew was trying to get in touch with you, so you answered it. Nowadays, however, the caller is most likely someone trying to sell you something. I’ve gotten into the habit of not answering my phone unless I know who it is.

When I am out of the house and working with a client, I don’t even want to look at my cell phone to see who is calling. So I had the idea of using ringtones to signal me that a call might be important.

A few years ago, when my father was still alive and I was his primary caretaker, I wanted to be sure to answer a call from him or one of his doctors or his assisted living facility. So I downloaded some songs and turned them into ringtones.

If my father or the assisted living facility called, my phone would play “Oh, My Papa”. If one of the doctors called, it would play Harry Nilsson’s “Lime in the Coconut” (the line that says, “Doctor, is there nothing I can take?”) And if my sister called (usually to discuss my father), it would play “Sisters” from “White Christmas”. I also added some songs to signal calls from my husband, my daughter, and my dog’s veterinarian.

This worked pretty well to alert me of important calls during the last months of my father’s life. It allowed me to pay less attention to my phone and more attention to my clients or other important things I might be doing.

Some months after my father passed away, I got a new iPhone and lost all my ringtones. Recently, I decided to reinstate some of them. It’s actually a tedious process and has many steps. I can’t believe there isn’t a more efficient way to do it. If you’re interested, you can find instructions on-line by googling “turning songs into ringtones”.

Personalizing your phone does have it’s hazards, however. A couple of weeks ago, my dog got sick and I took him to the vet. The next day, I left home to attend the annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). I was in the front row of one of the sessions when I became vaguely aware of music playing. As it got louder, I recognized it as “Who Let the Dogs Out?” I wondered if someone was passing the room with music playing. Suddenly I realized that it was my phone, and that it was the vet calling with the results of my dog’s tests! I quickly grabbed the phone and shut off the volume. The presenter did not break stride, so I’m hoping that she (and the other attendees) did not notice. But was my face red!

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