I used to work hard to not use my phone by any means. But last Monday I started a challenge which was contradictory to my ambitions. Why should I not use the most brilliant idea of the 21st century: A pocket computer which is always with you. I asked myself: Do I need anything besides the phone in my life? Here’s what I learned:
We Own More Than We Need
I do own a fair share of tech: A tablet, an outdated notebook for tinkering, a work/university notebook, a computer for music, a Kindle for reading. But last week I limited myself to only one device, my phone. I could do all the things (subtract music from the list) on that little fella. “Thanks captain obvious!” Of course, you can. Why wouldn’t you? But to be honest, I never used my phone for reading, or writing, or note-taking. I never used it to organize my professional life or to print out stuff. I barely used e-mails and other helpful stuff. Why would I? My iPad has a bigger screen and does most of the things just as well if not better. But this mindset is wasteful. A waste of potential, a waste of our money, a waste of time, and a waste of resources. Surfing social media instead of using a tool which can do just as much as any other computer is actually pretty sad. You carry around a device with the potential that would blow our ancestors’ minds, but instead of facilitating it we become miserable and waste our time with news or cat memes. This experiment made me realize that I need to downgrade my tech within the next couple of years. The next time a gadget gets broken I should consider not replacing it but just using existing devices as a substitute.
Notifications Are a Blessing and a Curse
Reminders are great. They free RAM on your brain and you can focus on more important things. But they also distract you pretty bad if you let them to. I have so many apps that want to notify me around the clock. I disabled notifications on YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, even Instagram and so many other apps that don’t need to get a hold of me. Especially Instagram was pretty bad. I never noticed how much this app distracted me from getting things done before I just shut it off. If you use IG for texting, switch to another app like Telegram or WhatsApp. Best decision ever. For the entire week I barely checked it because I don’t care. Nobody really does.
Great Services for Almost Anything
Workouts, playing an instrument, taking notes, recording audio, writing, the list goes on and on. Apps are nothing special to us anymore. But they are so impressive if you think about it. You own this pocket computer and carry it around anywhere. Suddenly you realize that you need to learn French. You download an app and voila! Tu parles francais. I only realized how many of my everyday services can be used on my phone. I can even practice playing the guitar. It’s so cool, yet so unimpressive because we are distracted by other things on these shiny devices.
We don’t need smart phones. But if we want to use just one device for everything, it’s right with us in our pockets. I could get by the entire week without another device whatsoever. If I wasn’t a music producer and musician, I could totally get rid of everything else. I barely acknowledge the capabilities of my phone. After this week I want to change that. It’s not important to not use the phone as often, it is important to use it wisely. It’s dangerous to go alone, take this!📱