Ok so it hasn’t quite been a week, but I wanted to write an update because it has already had such an interesting impact on my mind. If you didn’t know I have abandoned my iPhone for a Nokia 3310. Not one of the old ones mind but a new improved snazzy “Azure” colour. This little $59 phone is great because I can’t look at Facebook, Instagram, the internet, my email or pretty much anything distracting, except perhaps Snake!
Why did you get rid of your phone Tom?
Oh hi I didn't see you there random blog interviewer. Well I had a lovely iPhone 8 which was commanding more of my attention and energy than anything else in my life. It wasn’t as though I had a problem, my phone use was nothing compared to some, but I wanted to be better and give my time and attention to more important things. Those things mainly being my wife and my writing.
So what have you found so far?
Smartphones make us stupid and lazy, it’s as simple as that. Here are some of the questions that people have asked me in the last five days of having made the change:
1) What about Facebook/Instagram, how do you look at them?
2) How do you navigate around?
3) What about public transport, how do you know when the next bus is?
4) What about calendars? You can’t share calendars anymore can you!
5) How do you listen to music?
6) What do you do when you have a break at work?
7) How do you speak with family and friends back in England?
In response to these questions I have many answers and a few that I am still figuring out!
1) I quit Facebook a few weeks ago and now just keep a not so secret page that I use to host my Facebook writing page. I do still have Instagram because I get a lot out of it from following bodybuilders, athletes and animals, however I can only look at it before or after work on a tablet or computer!
2) This is actually hilarious because I have been saying to people “what did we do before smartphones eh?” Then I get promptly lost. To be fair it’s just a question of using technology before you go somewhere to organise yourself. Or go really old school and get an A-Z! Ha only joking, it’s not 1997! Actually I have been carrying my iPad around with more in order to do more creative writing and so I have downloaded offline maps on there to help me out.
3) For up to the minute public transport info I call my wife.
4) I use the calendar on my Nokia for my own organisation or write shit down. When I am with my iPad I use that calendar and it’s shared calendar function.
5) Again it comes back to other technology. If I didn’t have an iPad then I would get something that stored and played music. If I don’t have my iPad I just look at all the nutters walking into things whilst looking at their phones, très entertaining!
6) As above when I am on a break at work I go outside to get some vitamin D and get away from the bright lights and technology. I generally read or just people watch, which is fascinating.
7) This last one is again solved by the handy iPad. I use WhatsApp and KIK messenger to speak with my family back in England and over in America. The key difference is that I only look at it in the morning or evening when I have wifi connection, so it is not a continuous distraction.
I think the key learn for me is that we don’t need a smartphone. It is a choice and yet it makes things easier, no doubt about it. But I don’t want things to be easy, I don’t want to mindlessly look at technology, scrolling through feeds and blocking out the world with headphones. I want to be clearer in my mind and become more present to the world to enjoy what I have right now, rather than worrying about missing out on something going on somewhere else in the world. I am already feeling happier and less grumpy within these first five days. That could be because rather than distracting my brain I am engaging it with creative tasks or getting on with jobs that I have been putting off for too long.
I’ll update you on my progress next week,