The Time I Didn't Have a Cell Phone for 2 Weeks
by Tim Walker
Here’s what my day looks like (tell me if it sounds familiar):
1) Wake up – phone alarm goes off, check my phone
2) Eat Breakfast – read news on my phone
3) Drive to work – Fire up a podcast to play in the car
4) Get to Work – Answer emails on my phone
5) Leave work – check Google traffic alerts, stream music
6) Get home – use my phone to read a recipe while preparing dinner
7) Relax – relax on the couch while playing a game on my phone
8) Go to bed – plug in my phone and set my alarm for the next day
A typical day consisted of 3-4 hours of “screen on” time.. That’s a lot. Conservatively, 25+ hours of phone time each week….and that doesn’t even count time on tablets, computers, laptops and other devices.
Well, earlier this month, my world came crashing down.
My phone wouldn’t turn on. It was dead. I called Google. I called the manufacturer. I tried to reboot, reset, reflash the operating system. Nothing worked. It was over.
The manufacturer offered to repair the phone. That would take 5-7 days plus shipping time to and from the repair facility. I took the plunge and mailed my phone back.
Just to be clear, I signed up for 2 weeks without phone calls, emails, GPS, games and apps.
Here’s the important part…I survived. I paid more attention to my wife and son. I was more productive at work. I wasn’t constantly checking my phone every time it rang.
There were some disadvantages:
How will people get in touch with me? (They called me on my wife’s phone. They sent me an email, which I checked on my laptop.)
Did I miss an important email at work after hours? (No. Also, see above point regarding more family time)
What happens if I get into a wreck? (I drove safely)
What if I get lost in the woods or something? (I steered clear of creepy wooded drives and unmarked lanes like I usually do)
Here’s what I learned from my cell phone detox:
There was a time when we survived without cell phones and instant access to information. Those times weren’t horrible.
Most things can wait until morning. But you’ll never be able to get back time lost with your family.
Most apps and games on your phone are a waste of time and productivity.
You get more done at work when you’re not constantly looking at your phone.
Basically, my phone is a luxury, not a life necessity.
I’ve been able to hold on to some of those lessons in the past two weeks since my repaired phone was returned. I spend less time checking my phone in the evenings. I spend more time enjoying life. I spend less time obsessing over notification lights at work and more time getting stuff done.
The proof is in the pudding. My phone now lasts an entire day (or longer) without a charge. I’ve cut my screen time in half and haven’t looked back. You should try it too!