Six Years With a Distraction-Free iPhone
Jake Knapp

“ Two hours is enough to experience the feeling of freedom. But if you like, try it overnight, or for one day, or even a whole week. However long your experiment is, spend some time on the focal point you chose above (#1) and notice the quality of your attention. I think you’ll find it easier to focus, but I’m me and you’re you.”

Two hours is not that hard, considering, if you go to the theater/cinema, you’re supposed to be watching something that you’ve paid for (or even if someone else has bought it for you or you got it comp, you’ve agreed to the time.

I too wanted the iPhone and got it on day 2 (I was travelling back to the US on the day it was first released). Any phone is my watch, and has been so for over 2 decades (before the smartphone age, there were flip phones and some had a clock display on the outside, even when closed). Yes, I have wrists and I actually have a watch collection. I tried an experiment and tried to live without a watch and just use a phone. Well that experiment was great, I stopped wearing watches, can still kept my watch collection growing. I do wear watches on occasions; like diving, or flying (not as a passenger but as a pilot), hiking and camping, or just generally near water, whether or not I’m in it (pool, ocean, lake, stream, river, etc.) or nearby, I’ll wear an activity appropriate wrist watch.

I think you’re getting my point, I totally cannot relate. But I do see it around. A lot. I remember that once with out of town relatives, we went to a restaurant, and next to us was a family, what seemed like father, mother, sister and brother, as soon as they sat down, all four of them brought out their phones and seemed annoyed when the server brought the menu. Ate in silence and looking at their phones, barely saying anything to one another, other than “pass the salt” paid and left. Sometimes when camping, sometimes for a week or more, I am out of cell phone range, you cannot call me unless you have ham radio, which I do carry around. I have had that hobby for over 4 decades. I have been into gadgets for quite a while. That’s why I wanted the iPhone since Steve Jobs got on stage to announce it. I have upgraded my iPhones about every other new one. In 2009, when the Kindle app came out, I was ecstatic, since that meant that I didn’t need to get a Kindle that I seriously wanted. I went virtually paperless. Yes, I do use toilet paper and sometimes paper towels or napkins. But except for legal papers, I no longer have paper. If I need it and if it’s not a legal document, I scan it save the file and shred or recycle it. Except for signed books, I’ve either sold them or donated them, and for books that I wanted, I rebought and if not available electronically, I’ll keep the book, so I’ve gone from a wall of books to two shelves not shelve cases, two 3' shelves. All of the rest, gone, I only have them in their e-version, and now only buy books in electronic form. My newspapers, magazine subscriptions are entirely electronic. I read about a book a week, either on my phone, tablets or laptops or sometimes go from one to another and back again depending on where I am.

I’ve also made many of my past computers and servers (now I generally buy them), I really like messing around with my Raspberries and other single board computers (I’m getting into Winlink for you hams out there. If you don’t know, Winlink is email over radio without the Internet). I was on the Internet before the WWW. You know the apps, Gopher, FTP, Archie, UUNet (including email) and the like, long before the WWW. So, I am not some Luddite. I really love technology and has been my profession for over 3 decades. I tried MySpace (anyone remember it?) for about a month and I thought “what’s the point?” It seemed like a big waste of time. Cancelled my membership. So, when Facebook, Twitter and Instagram came out, I passed; again, “What’s the point?” I only joined LinkedIn since it a was generally professionally oriented, now I’m starting to doubt that. I don’t suffer from FOMO and if something is really important, I’ll find out elsewhere or I might indeed miss it, but I don’t let it bother me.