Why sending my smartphone for repair was the best decision of 2015.

Jordan McQueen (Unsplash)

The smartphone. A stalwart in our daily lives. We use it for most basic tasks. Check e-mails, take selfies, play games and well make calls of course. We are so consumed by this device that we check it around 150 times per DAY. This is of course just an estimation and probably an under-estimation at that.

Fast-forward to my personal experience. My nimble LG Nexus 5 has been a trustworthy partner for the last two years without ever giving me any major hiccups along the way. Before I owned it, I went on with my daily life without feeling the need to own a smartphone. As soon as I purchased it back in December 2013, I began to become engrossed in this little device. All of a sudden I started to move everything to my smartphone: calendar, diary, email, camera, games — you name it. Without realizing I was becoming addicted to checking my smartphone. Only recently have I noticed that it’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check before going to bed at night. It was becoming crazy!

A couple of weeks ago I changed my SIM card and I started to experience reception problems. Being the lazy arse that I am I blamed it on the carrier network and didn’t do much about it until this week. It turned out that it was not the carrier’s fault but mine. Whilst removing the SIM card, I had accidentally hit the pins holding the tray and was now unable to use 4G, make calls or send messages. My smartphone had literally dumbed down. I, as a consequence also felt dumber. My trusted partner in crime had betrayed me.

To avoid further technical mumbo jumbo, my phone had to be repaired. And fast. A quick visit to the shop proved otherwise. Due to it being holiday season and the fact that I live in a Mediterranean island (come on take a guess; I dare you) where everything takes twice as longer to get done, the technician informed me that it might be a week before I get my old pal back. A week?!? How was I gonna stay connected to the world without my smartphone? There was nothing much I could except to take it on the chin and leave the phone at the shop.

Back home I informed most of my friends that I was now without a phone and that they could only contact me on Facebook. No calls or Whats App for me… After a few hours without my phone, it started to dawn on me: this was a blessing in disguise for a number of reasons.

Productivity: MY GOD! Without my phone, my scumbag procrastinator of a brain had no excuse to resort to social media whenever I was stalling at doing some work. The amount of hours I usually spent scrolling through pages and pages of nonsensical Facebook or Reddit posts was now being devoted to something meaningful: my dissertation. Within the few days I was phone-less, my word count jumped by around 2,000. Impressive considering I had only managed a few hundred in the week before.

Social interactions: I may be claiming the obvious but without my smartphone I actually became more ‘social’ (No sh*t Sherlock). I invested more time with my parents, siblings and friends. After all, it’s these precious moments that count and not the BS like tally you get on a Facebook post. Try it some time. You may well remain amazed.

Learning: I LOVE books but I have one flaw. I am not a patient reader. Unless the book is really, really compelling I will go through a few pages max and put the book down to pick up my phone and find something more short-term rewarding. I would go through these endless start-stop cycles and it would take me ages to finish a 250-page book. Without my Nexus I was able to finish a 300-pager (The Big Short by Michael Lewis — I recommend it and no I’m not getting an affiliate fee in case you’re wondering) and start another book in just one week.

Health: Spending no time tapping away at my smartphone in the late hours of the day and not being exposed to its harmful blue light meant that I was able to sleep earlier and wake up feeling fresher. Even though I had installed a famous app (Twilight) that regulates light according to sunset, I still only worked to a certain extent.

I believe we are becoming overly-dependent on smartphones and instant gratification that we have come to un-appreciate the small things in life. Switch off your phone for a little while. Take a coffee. Watch passers-by. Start a conversation. Read a book. Learn a new skill. Go for a walk. You will be amazed at the beauty these little changes may bring.

Long story short: Thank you Nexus 5 for screwing up!

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