What I learned from my smartphone hiatus

  
 It’s been a few weeks since I got my smartphone back from being repaired and I thought I’d update you on how I’ve been feeling about it.

 

At the end of my last blog on living without my phone I touched on how I hoped to reduce my dependence on it and I’m surprised to say I have had success on this front.

 

I think being without a phone for a short period was a blessing in disguise. I’m not normally a fan of going cold turkey but it has helped me re-evaluate just when my phone is, and isn’t, helpful to me.

 

Since I’ve got my phone bar I’ve removed almost all notifications except for text messages. Notifications are tyrannical, demanding your attention as soon as your phone pings – pulling you away from whatever you were doing at the time.

 

This used to eat up my time and have me rushing from one thing to another, feeling like I’m never making any progress as the notifications pile up.

 

Instead I now can check my emails or to-do list when I want to and have time to devote specifically to them. I thought this would affect my productivity or that I would miss lots of important things but it has had the opposite effect – it’s allowed me to focus on the things that matter instead of clicking on an alert from an app I barely use.

 

The number of apps I have on my phone has reduced dramatically as well, all part of a digital declutter. As my phone came back without any apps on it, I only reinstalled them as I needed them and realised how few I actually need day-to-day, especially when I work in an office all day with the internet at my fingertips. Not a surprise, but helped me realise the importance of applying a minimalist approach to your phone.

 

One other benefit has been I’ve gained greater concentration and I can better focus on one thing at a time now. Before it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to watch something on TV and have my phone out, never really concentrating on one thing and becoming frustrated.  

 

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I have gained back time but I find I can sit down and work on a task a lot easier without using my phone to help me procrastinate.

 

The final revelation from living without my phone is that I’m wearing a watch again.

 

I know, not exactly ground breaking stuff (!) but it has helped an old tech addict break the urge to look at his phone. I used to think that a watch was pointless these days as we have clocks on our phones and while that is still true I realised when you’re hooked on your phone (like I was) having other ways to access information stops you from getting sucked into your phone

 

The humble watch has helped me do that, restricting the use of my phone to when I need it has been an important distinction.

 

I understand that this post is probably more for the tech addicts among you but thought it worth sharing to help stop the rise of the phone zombies!

 

F

 

5 thoughts on “What I learned from my smartphone hiatus

  1. It’s an interesting topic. I think my phone would benefit from an app clean up as you suggest – like the sound of that. As for notifications, I vary the volume of notifications – texts are loud, the rest are silent but I can still see them quickly when I have a bit of time.

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  2. I went back to wearing a watch as well. Keeps me from reaching for my phone. I also changed my plan to pay as you go with my unlocked smart phone. I typically only put 30 USD per month of data/txt. I can use my tablet if I need to for internet, but such a small data plan keeps me in the moment and focused.

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  3. I totally agree with this, because I too wear a watch to give me an excuse to look at something other than my phone for the time. Because then, instead, I get into a habit of looking at my wrist, rather than picking up my phone. I really notice when I’ve formed the habit when I realise I don’t have my watch on!
    The former is a far better habit, and reduces the procrastination of picking up the phone. I too don’t want to be held down like so many others you see looking at their phone for something to do – I resist as much as possible and instead look around, try and talk with human beings.

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