How i became completely present in the situation around me

A love letter to my dumbphone

🤣 Those clickbait headlines… i love them.

Alright so here’s the thing: im easily, easily distracted. Not in every situation, but I’m bad in handling boredom.

For example when visiting a playground with my oldest daughter. I’m playing for quite a while with her, but then she of course starts discovering stuff on her own.

Building stuff using sand.

Climbing wood constructions.

Walking through a small river inside the playground that is created by some other children building a dam.

I’ve witnessed these things repeatedly for months now and my brain gets distracted from it. So i start thinking:

She’s playing anyways, what harm could there be to quickly check a website? Maybe someone wrote a message to me?

This is the trap my brain falls into. I want to stay busy. So i start going for the small reward of cleaning notifications, writing that short email.

And I’m not even a Facebook user.

I’m pretty sure most of you find themselves in a variant of this situation often during the day.

So my goal was to disconnect.

Disabling notifications

My first try? Disabling notifications.

This was a pretty nice approach and worked pretty well for quite a while. Until it stopped working because i just opened the app i was temporarily interested isn’t.

Removing infinity apps

What are infinity apps? Basically, all apps that deliver and infinite amount of content, e.g. Timelines, News, SocialMedia, etc.

I also disabled Safari using the iOS restrictions.

  • This worked great. But the problem of omnipresent connectivity was still not solved. I still received messages, could check stuff like Slack and just didn’t want to remove some apps from my phone since it felt insane to remove connectivity apps from a smartphone.

But i wanted to carry a phone with me. After all, I’m parenting a small child.

So what to do?

The answer was getting a dumbphone.

Hey there, Motorola RAZR V3.

The first obstacle was: how am i supposed to fit my nano-sim into this legacy sim slot? Turns out buying a 4€ adapter was all i needed.

I have to admit i spent the first time on the playground setting this phone up but this was due to the nature that i haven’t had the time to do so before.

I’ve never seen you so present.

While this may seem really exaggerated, that’s what my wife said to me.

But why was she feeling this way?

My theory is that even though i had to cut down my iPhone by a significant amount of functionality, my brain was still subconsciously thinking:

I know it’s bad, and i know the functionality of the iPhone is limited, but may be i could just quickly check the weather to see wether it’s going to rain tomorrow.

By bringing only the dumbphone with me, this possibility was removed as well.

First it felt funny. Like being back in my teens.

But after a while, i got rid of this anxious thoughts of checking my smartphone.

Getting a dumbphone was an experience that set my mind free from everyday connectivity and I’ll continue to use it during the time i spend with my family or when meeting other people.


Give it a try. Even if its just for fun.

Give it a try and tell me how things worked out for you.

Have a wonderful day.

And remember: if you want to reach me during the weekends — send me legacy text messages or just call me.

Because i most likely wont be reading your message on <insert any service here>.