First Week

Published in category Opinion
on Christian Mayer's Weblog.

My first week without smartphone has past. This is a review.

Within the first 24 hours after I cracked my smartphone nothing significant happened. Wow. Surprise! You can live without a smartphone for a day. I even have not left the house. So the first day was not a challenge at all. While I did not liked to use my smartphone at home it was helpful on the way.

But even outside, on monday, it was OK. I’m still alive. I reactivated my landline phone, so I can at least call someone when something bad happens. I catched myself wanting to use the Internet while I was on the way home. To look-up some words in the dictionary and google some persons from a book. But is it that important to instantly look-up these things?

One challenge I faced was while working: I cannot test new API features I implemented for mobile apps. As a software developer I need to test new implemented features. I now either need to use a test mobile phone or ask a fellow employee. While this is, of course, a challenge for my work it’s not a blocker. Meaning, I even can do my work without owning a smartphone. Who would have wondered?

As I predicted in my first post in this series, Unplugged, I now need to agree on a detailed location and time when meeting somebody. While owning a mobile phone it’s very common to last minute change the location or time. This is, of course, not possible when one of the peers is not owning a mobile phone. Then the communication is more lazy but on the other hand also more fixed and detailed. I’m not able to quickly change my plans. This seams to be a disadvantage on the first look. But the same applies also for your peer: when you don’t have a way to communicate also your peers cannot change their minds in the last minute. They more need to think in detail about the location and time to meet.

I’m now using a small black (paper) notebook where I have listed contacts. Just for the case I need to contact someone. Using a paper calendar again is also an idea. But not sure yet.

The responses from people I told about this experiment was from a range of I do not even care to OMG, what the hell? to This is cool. Others, in contrast, only justified for still using a mobile phone. (This reminds me about people justifying for using Facebook. You don’t own anyone anything, so don’t justify at all.) Overall it was a positive response.

I’m now feeling less distracted and more focused. While my primary communication is via email I avoid to check my emails too often. I stopped watching TV a half year ago. Recently I less visit Hacker News and Reddit. But I not dropped them completely. Also avoiding TV series. My main focus in leisure is either reading books or being productive. My brain gets sleep at night.

I do not miss anything without smartphone. I feel more free now. It’s like I have left one big obligation.

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About the Author

Christian is a professional software developer living in Vienna, Austria. He loves coffee and is strongly addicted to music. In his spare time he writes open source software. He is known for developing automatic data processing systems for Debian Linux.