The modern smartphone has become an indispensable part of our lives. From the moment we wake to the seconds before we fall asleep, we are practically glued to our smartphones, constantly on the search for the next dopamine hit of news, memes, or image of hot women on instagram. Sometimes I wonder what I’d do if I didn’t have my phone for a period of time. Would I go crazy? Or to the contrary, would I actually be better off?
Due to life’s circumstances, I got the opportunity to test out the hypothesis. For a solid week earlier this month, I was without my iPhone XS, and it turns out, life goes on just the same. I was fine.
First it must be said that I of course still had access to a computer and the Internet at home and at work, so I wasn’t completely out of the loop. The absence of my phone simply made it so I was unable to access information at anytime, anywhere. I can’t check twitter while waiting for the bus, or look up a certain items immediately after inspiration strikes me; it all had to wait. During those times where I would otherwise be entertained via my phone, I was forced to be in my own head. There were no music or podcasts to listen to; I had to get comfortable with stewing amongst the thoughts in my head, and I have to say, it was surprisingly meditative.
Not having my phone also forced me to concentrate on my tasks at hand, increasing my intentionality. I couldn’t check the latest news every 10 minutes, or see if my friends have texted me over chat. It’s confirmation that I definitely have been distracted from my work by my smartphone, and that it’s quite the time sink. Waking up and not having the ability to check twitter for half an hour in bed was oddly liberating, not in the mere action of reclaiming those minutes, but rather, starting my day with the right intention.
Of course, there were negatives: I lost active contact with my friends for a week; I couldn’t check when the nexts bus is due to arrive; and in the event of an emergency, I’m unable to contact anyone, and vice versa. The biggest challenge though in not having the phone with me is the lost of the camera: no device to capture the beautiful or peculiar scenes I encounter throughout my day. Truly, the best camera is the one you have with you, and I lost mine for a week.
Now that I’ve got a phone again, I’m going to take the positives points of better focus and wasting less time, and apply them going forward. It’s definitely nice to have my phone back, but perhaps I’ll be more cognizant of precisely when do I pick it up from the desk.