I have a smartphone.
I turned off the data plan.
I wiped the phone of all it’s apps and data.
All is well.
Turns out that I was getting too dependent on my phone for basic tasks and it was a convenient distraction from focusing on the work that matters to me.
Now all I store on the phone is just inspirational music. No names, no numbers, no calendar entries.
No apps: no email, no Facebook, no Google Plus, no Google Reader, no satellite navigation.
I now use the phone to:
- make & receive calls, entering numbers by hand each time.
- compose, send & receive text messages.
- listen to inspirational music from stored MP3s.
- set the alarm to wake up in the morning.
Wiping the phone was a great move
I no longer worry about losing it, or the data on it.
I no longer worry about it being damaged.
If I lost it, or it became unusable, I would simply buy another basic phone (order a replacement SIM if required) and start using that phone.
How do I live without storing information on my phone?
Essential phone numbers are on a piece of paper that I carry with me (many of which I have now memorised anyway).
Non-essential phone numbers I simply jump on the web when next at the computer and get them from Google Contacts whenever I need them. This helps with batching phone calls too.
Calendar entries are stored on Google Calendar. I have a 1 month matrix on a single sheet of paper where I write down important things I have planned for the month. This helps to cut out the time-saps too.
Almost all inbound calls are treated without bias – if I don’t recognise the number, then my greeting has to be the same for everyone, right?
If someone sends me an SMS and I don’t recognise the number and they haven’t left their name, I sometimes ask my wife if she has the number – but I’m learning not to keep doing that, as it’s quite cheeky and I’m testing her patience!
How has wiping my phone impacted my life?
I still have to pay £35 per month for my phone contract for another 6 months, but the benefits of deactivating data on my phone far outweigh the unnecessary dent in my pocket.
Emails I leave till when I am online on my computer- I batch them up and try to get them all done in one go. I’m still struggling to keep up with email, but it’s better than the constant frenetic checking on the phone and not really keeping up anyway.
Driving routes I simply look up on Google Maps in advance, have a planned route, and trust myself to learn the roads better as a I go along. Yes, I’ve made a few wrong turns, but I’ve also got my trusted A-Z road maps to keep me on the right track. (There are times when my wife and I have used the satellite navigation on her phone when the paper roadmap does not stretch out far enough to cover the area we are travelling to).
Facebook – I deactivated my account at the end of last year – turns out I’m enjoying spending time doing other cool things such as reading, introspecting, and having quality time with a few select people.
Would you go data-free on your phone?
Not everyone will be up for this. Some of my friends are incredibly disciplined and use their data-enabled phones very wisely, but I don’t have that level of discipline just yet, so dropping data connectivity was the way to go, for now.
Try going data-free on your phone for a week or so, and see how it feels.
Have you done it yourself? How has it been for you?