[Minimalism series] A month without a smartphone

A few weeks ago, I replaced my iPhone with an old touchscreen-less Nokia phone. You know, one of those that require you to click the same key three times to type F when you text. I did it because the phone had become an extension of my fingers and I was spending too much time holding it. If I had a few seconds to wait in a line, I used that time to check my email. If I got bored on the train, I used to scroll through social media again and again just to see the same depressing stuff on my feed. I was aware of the fact that I’m paying more attention to my phone than to people, and I was also aware when other people did it to me and I hated it.

The transition

Compared to other decisions I made in my life, I didn’t quit cold-turkey. I started by moving the sim card into the Nokia phone but kept the iPhone for another couple of weeks on WIFI only. I wanted to test when and where I would need more than texts and calls. When the trial weeks ended, I saved all my photos and phone numbers, reset the iPhone (and all the wearables that connected to it!) and fully made the switch.

I had already gotten used to the “new” phone when I got my first challenge – getting to a new place without Maps! After a few seconds of panic, I realized I can do it the old way – look at the maps ahead of time. I opened the app in the browser the day before, switched to street view and took a few notes. It was fine! I got there on time without any problems.

[Minimalism series] I stopped using a smartphone. Here's how the first month went

I’m loving it. Here’s why.

1. I only need to charge my phone once a week

My iPhone needed charging for few hours every day. By the time I got to work in the morning, it was already at 60%. Not leaving it charging overnight meant an empty battery in the morning. The little brick only needs a couple of hours per week and it’s one less thing to worry about. Oh, and speaking of worries, I’m never concerned someone will steal my phone.

2. I can hear myself thinking

Most times when I was out I was listening to podcasts or music. And I never allowed myself to just sit and wait at a red light, I looked at my phone. With nothing buzzing in my ears, I can now think and let my imagination run wild, something I really needed at the moment.

3. I allow myself to feel bored

Sometimes I just sit on the sofa and do nothing. Can you imagine?

3. I started reading again

I spend 2 hours on the train every day. On the iPhone, I used to spend half of that time listening to podcasts, and half on social media. Now I read books, something I haven’t done in months. I finally finished the second book of the Game of Thrones series (that I started back in March) and I’m already halfway through the third one.

4. I only check my email and social media twice a day

Apparently, not replying to emails as soon as you get them is totally fine! I spend less time checking for new notifications and process all information in 2 big batches, rather than 100 times a day.

5. It’s a lot cheaper

I went from paying £15 per month to top up when I need it. During my first month, I spent 60p.

6. I’m fully present wherever I am

If someone’s talking to me, I listen. I enjoy the walks with the dogs without checking social media when they sniff around. By the way, they know when you’re not paying attention to them.

I’m not going back to a smartphone anytime soon. I’m much calmer and more positive and the fact that I’m not flooded with information all the time had a big impact. When I thought I can’t simplify my life any further, I found another way.

Do you have a smartphone addiction? How are you dealing with it?

Do you think you could benefit from a few months without your smartphone?

Liked this post? Then you’ll love some more minimalism articles! And if you’re trying to save money or reduce debt, I combine budgeting with minimalism in my e-book, “The Smart Girl’s Journey to Financial Bliss”.

2 Comments

  1. I wish I felt comfortable enough to not have a smartphone. Many of my cousins live out of town, so we stay connected through different social media apps, like Snapchat. It is nice to leave it in the car or in a different space than being glued to my side all the time.

    1. Author

      I totally understand what you’re saying. Our families are spread across the world, some in Europe some in the US and Whatsapp was a good way to communicate quickly. But talking on Skype on the weekends still works and I’m still in front of the computer to talk on fb messenger or skype for a few hours a day. Communication is still there, but it’s got less emojis 🙂

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