On october 4th 2021, not too long ago, the world went dark.
It was only a few hours that Facebook experienced an outage and Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp went offline but people and businesses went into panic. This short lasting event was disruptive and questioned many people of how dependent they are on social media and communication.
Why Smart Phones are Overrated
There are some jaw dropping statistics about social media addiction but many people did realize after the outage that they turn to their phones a little more than they would want.
In my humble opinion, I believe smartphones are overrated and here’s a challenge. Choose one night to turn off your smartphone at 10:30 pm and leave it that way until the next morning when you wake up. Check how many notifications and messages you had gotten between those hours and you might be underwhelmed. Nothing too important probably happened and it’s surely not a hot time for colleagues to be mentioning anything work related. I did this challenge and it convinced me to get a dumb phone.
Why I started taking a Non-Smartphone Home
I didn’t totally get rid of my smartphone as it helps me when I work but I found that taking my smartphone back to my home was becoming too much. When I get home, I want to recharge my batteries and the way for me to do that was to disconnect. The parting from social media and trivial communication gave me a lot more time to focus on myself and the things that I truly enjoy, which was getting to my home office to entrepreneur and create new ideas
For you it might be a hobby that you haven’t yet made the time to pursue. If you trade your smartphone in at night you will most likely find that time.
But, it’s a dilemma for most people to not be able to communicate with others at any given moment, to hear about emergencies or surprising events. The solution is to get an additional non-smartphone to use when you need it. The phone can have its own number that you can give to family friends and coworkers. You can also have all calls from your smartphone be transferred to your dumb phone. This way you can be reached but you are not tempted to look at the phone.
There were still two dilemmas I had to deal with:
Limited Access to Music
All of my curated playlists of songs are on my smartphone, Spotify to be exact. To solve this, I decided to invest in a great mp3 player I could find. I ended up getting the Apple iPod Nano 8th Generation and spent close to $200 on music. For me, it was well worth the investment to leave the smartphone at the office.
No Slack + No Email
Slack is an important management system and when I get a message on there after work hours, it’s usually urgent. These messages usually with attachments and visuals rely on being connected to a smartphone and I haven’t come up yet with a solution.
To bandage through for now, I prioritize my day and attend to all those messages as my first task.
However, I am strongly considering a super retro setup, wherein my slack messages make their way to a terminal-based email client. I am also looking for slack type retro devices for use on the move. It should be interesting. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter.
Anecdote - Leave the Laptop at Office
You might not be convinced yet, but we’ll continue to explore more ways you can improve your productivity by adapting small but significantly beneficial habits to help you be your best self.
One last piece I want to end off with is that I also leave my laptop in the office. I want to disconnect to connect to the things I enjoyed without distraction. Leaving my smartphone and laptop in the office was surprisingly easy and manageable. It made me happy to see how much more productive I could be. I hope you try this, even for a night and that it makes you happy too.