It is no great thought that we live in a very interesting time in our lives – private companies are starting their own space exploration, record breaking trains are in development in California, and self driving cars are soon to be the thing of the present. We are living in a rapidly changing time now in 2016 – where every day tasks are being automated and there seems to be an app for everything – right at your fingertips. Walk through a tech center like San Francisco or New York, and you are sure to hear discussion of the next Uber, the next AirBnB, the next great app. And you are also sure to see a lot – busy people walking with coffees, people shopping, talking… and a lot of smartphones.
And I mean a lot.
If someone just 16 years ago at the turn of the millennium time traveled to today, they would no doubt be struck by this phenomenon before anything else (do you agree?). When smart phones first came out it seemed like a fairly magical gadget – the touch screen was somewhat surreal, and Internet in your pocket was, well, somewhat of a luxury.
You will be hard pressed to spot someone without a smart phone. Everyone has a GPS in their pocket, a list of the best restaurants, and email notifications – all at their fingertips. It is now standard to assume you can reach anyone instantly – literally a social standard. Now the smartphone is just an extension of us – a third arm, a second brain, a second mouth. If you forgot your smartphone at home you likely feel naked and vulnerable… It’s funny how things change.
But anyways, this blog is not about reminiscing, or bashing smartphones, no. I am all for technological change, and personally really do enjoy my One Plus Android (thanks China for the cheaper smartphone alternative, I really do appreciate it). But I am also for personal change – I like to challenge myself to try new things and see how it affects me. And while I have greatly enjoyed carrying my phone around and having the security and convenience it brings, I’m going to try something new.
I’m going to get a brick phone.
Yes, I am going to start rocking the brick phone, for 30 days, and see just how much of a difference it makes on my day to day life.
And I’m going to record the journey along the way (on this blog).
I will record my thoughts, feelings, observations, events that happen to me, and how it affects my life, day to day. I hope it will be an interesting experience for me, and an interesting read for you!
Anyways, without further ado here are the rules that I have laid out for myself:
The rules are very simple:
- I’m going to swap my SIM card on Day 0, at night. The next day Day 1 begins
- Carry my brick phone outside with me wherever I go (or leave at home if I decide) for 30 Days
- I can use my smart phone at home (it will have no SIM card, so Internet only). If I want, I can swap my SIM back, but at home only – I will only take my brick phone out with me
- If I am going on a trip and decide ahead of time I NEED my smartphone I will bring it with me, but force myself to use it as a brick phone until I need that function (google maps, Uber, etc). I don’t anticipate me needing to do this often (I can print directions ahead of time, figure out a designated driver if I’m going out, or pick a restaurant ahead of time) but if some circumstance calls for it, I will make an exception (and detail it here)
- This doesn’t have any effect on my laptop use – I can bring my laptop with me where ever I want (class, coffee shop, etc) for work or leisure. I don’t anticipate replacing my smartphone with my laptop, and if I sense that I am, I will stop it
I don’t see a reason for NOT using my smartphone at all (i.e. locking it away). The whole purpose of this is to see how it affects me as I go places, but being able to use it at home doesn’t change much since I can still go on my laptop.
Reasons why I decided to do this (and what I hope to get)
- Eliminate the urge to distract myself from real life with virtual life when I am outside
- Improve my focus by reducing distractions. Better focus -> better performance -> improved overall life satisfaction
- Give myself a reason + purpose to write every day about my experiences. Writing is important and I don’t do it enough (actually, almost never!)
Questions I have for myself
- How will this affect my focus? Will it remove that instinct to reach into my pocket to distract myself with something, and with what will it be replaced with?
- Will I notice things around me more?
- How will this affect me socially?
- How will people react when they see me using a brick phone? Will I get comments? What sorts? What sorts of conversations will it start?
- How will I go without responding to FB Messenger, getting Email notifications, looking up places around me, checking Snapchat, Twitter, ESPN, etc?
- How will I go without having convenient information at my fingertips – directions, bus times, calendar, Yelp?
- How will I go without having music in my pocket all the time? Will I get myself a music player? (can’t have a screen/internet)
- How am I gonna handle my slower text speed (back to T9??)
- How will I handle the urge to send a Snapchat or take a picture of something cool without my phone in my pocket? Will I start carrying around my digital camera?
- Will I want to go back to my smartphone after these 30 days?
- Will I start considering what really matters?
Final thoughts before I embark
Most likely I will go back to using my smartphone after this challenge. After all, it is an extremely useful tool. However, I hope I will be a lot more conscious of my usage (in a way this is like a smartphone fast).
For now, I am excited to see the changes this has on me, and am hoping it will be a beneficial endeavor. Follow along, let me know what you think (will I go the full 30 days?), or do it with me!
P.S. You can contact me here (comments), on email (alexbudy [at] gmail.com), on Twitter (@alexbudilovsky or @alexbudy) or thru my website – http://www.alexbudilovsky.com