What is really like to live without an smartphone on 2018?
I don’t own an smartphone and it changed my life. Here’s why.
November last year, my iPhone was stolen from my pocket at a party. I bursted into tears and punched everyone around asking where it was; my friends tried to calm me down and all of a sudden, I was in the back of an Uber thinking why on earth was I so pissed.
After all, it’s just a phone.
I wasn’t using it much, to be honest; I’d send Whatsapp messages to my friends, take pictures and write notes, plus the most important use: listen to Spotify everywhere; commuting, exercising and even doing the dishes. Besides that, I admit there were a couple of times I fantasized with a life without a phone.
When the time arrived and I saw myself with no phone anymore, I couldn’t do more than feel empty. Don’t get me wrong, not the kind of emptiness that leaves you heartbroken and depressed, but the kind of emptiness that creates space for other things. Things that, I dare to say, are more important.
Therefore, these are some of the lessons that I’ve learned from not having an smartphone.
- I am more present: I know this might sound to you like some Zen BS, but face it: you’re not there while you’re looking at the screen. You’re not really there when you’re thinking about how many notifications you might have on your home screen. You’re not really there editing that Instagram pic while hanging out with your friend. When you don’t have a phone, you can’t escape from being really, 100% where you are.
- I am more productive: Again, don’t think that since I have no phone, I can’t fall into the Netflix-procrastination trap. I’m still a normal(?) human being who loves to procrastinate, although my current situation of being phoneless actually has decreased the chances of me getting distracted by notifications, feeds, or group messages and helps treating the multitasking syndrome we all have . I solve only what’s in front of me, right now.
- I have more meaningful interactions: This is a huge one. Not having a phone means that you can’t easily communicate with everybody around you: remember, no more Whatsapp, no more Messenger, no more Telegrams, phone calls or instantly replied e-mails. This makes you carefully choose who you’re going to talk to when you have the chance to do so, because ain’t nobody got time for meaningless conversations only to waste time when bored.
- I’ve learnt to cope with awkward situations: You know when you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a social event, where you know nobody and nobody knows you? Of course you know! You usually pull out your phone from your pocket and check your mail, send a tweet or take a photo of your drink to post on facebook! Like everyone else does, pretending they are just too cool to be there! Well, now imagine you can’t do that because you don’t have a phone. Believe me, you (quoting the xxi century rap-poet Kendrick Lamar) be humble, b*t@h and push yourself to interact with new people or go home.
- I am less anxious: My levels of anxiety decreased a lot, since I don’t really have to be permanently keeping an eye on to a device to see if I got any new messages, notifications or updates. When I had a phone, I even felt paranoid and thought it was vibrating, when it really wasn’t.
- I use my laptop for everything: For communicating, for music, for Youtube, for Medium. And you can’t really drag your laptop with you everywhere, so whatever happens on the internet, stays there until you turn it on again.
- I read more: This is a side effect of productivity, but had to include it on the list. I’ve devoured around 3 to 4 books since not having a phone. Well, I had to put my time into something, what better than reading?!
List could go on, but I don’t want to seem like someone who’s preaching and telling you to throw your phone away and smell the roses. Reality is that, nowadays, a smartphone makes communication easier, tasks can be managed just from apps and you can buy things/ get directions/or print documents only tapping on your screen.
Practicality. The idea behind the smartphones is to make our life easier, more practical and productive. Smartphones are tools, we control how we use them and how we spend our time on them. Or at least, we should.
It might not be a surprise if I tell you that I will eventually get a new smartphone, anytime soon (even though I’m still a bit reluctant, it is a necessary item). But after this enlightening experience, I’ll be a bit more aware of how to use it to make my life easier.
To make it easier, not more complicated.