I decided to make the glorious switch to Google Fi about two weeks ago. My plan was to sell my iPhone and order a Google phone off of Amazon. I posted my phone on Craigslist and two days later I had a buyer drive 60 miles to buy my used iPhone. I wouldn’t have my Google phone for another week so I decided to live life without a phone for a week. The representative at Verizon overheard my conversation and chimed in, “You are going to hate it.” I thought to myself, “I live a life of adventure, I’ll be fine without a phone for a week.”
I walked out of the Verizon store without the iPhone that lived in my pocket for the past three years, or did I live in it for the past three years?
What I learned while without a phone
I learned that having access to my social network or the entire world, 24/7 produces a current of anxiety. I no longer worried that I forgot to respond to Tyler’s text about acro yoga and it was fine.
I learned that my phone distracts me from social interaction more than I would have admit. Posting the picture of the selfie we just took at dinner only takes two minutes right? It does, but without a phone I’m engaged with my partner at dinner on a deeper level. I never left the room (into my phone) to post that picture and I feel more connected to the human next to me because of it.
I learned most communication is not urgent and can wait until a face to face conversation is possible.
I learned that I would have compulsive urges to check my phone throughout the day. I would reach toward my pocket unconsciously and realize that there is no phone to pull out. The key here is that it was an unconscious urge or craving.
I learned that I did not miss the things I used my precious data on. Morgan and I were able to download 10 podcasts before our road trip to Bishop and spent more time reading or having conversation in the car. I didn’t need to check my email twice a day or my budget, or Facebook.
I learned that I really enjoy a morning routine that does not involve my phone. I loved waking up, brewing an artisan cup of pour over coffee with coconut oil and starting a gymnastic work out. I have read that the easiest way to make a habit change is to make the new habit easy to do. Not having a phone to distract me first thing in the morning made it so easy to follow my desired routine.
I learned that Morgan (my girlfriend) felt like I was less distracted without a phone. Wow, it really hits home when your loved one tells you that. I thought I was good about not being distracted by my phone before this experiment.
What I gained
During this week I had the time to travel to Bishop for a climbing and hot spring excursion. I was not missing my phone.
So now that I have my new google phone and I pay $33 a month for my phone service what will I do differently?
I have moved the nightly charging station of my phone into the kitchen. My phone sits on the fridge and normally I don’t even see it in the morning. This is great because I jump into my desired routine instead of getting sucked into an email or text message response.
I am more intentional with the apps I download onto my phone. If I don’t want to be distracted the best way is to just not download those distracting apps. If I want to go on Facebook I can use my laptop.
When I’m at home I keep my phone on a shelf and not on my person. It’s not something I need to compulsively check every 30 minutes.
This week experiment was a great experience for my life. It has helped shift my perspective and hopefully my awareness into the present moment.
Are you thinking life without a phone sounds like some sissy first world problem. I’d have say that you’re correct, it is. That’s why I challenge you to live life for one week without your phone. See what you learn and let me know. I’m sure after one week you will be feeling like Tyler in the picture below, standing atop a 400 foot desert tower in Moab, Utah.