As August rolled in, I started a challenge where I would only use my cellphone for phone calls and texts. You can read more about the rules of the challenge and the desired outcomes in the initial post about it here. So far, so good. I’ve been able to almost completely stop using my phone. The shift has been amazing.
I will only use my cellphone for communication. Permitted forms of communication include, and are limited to, calls and text messages. Outside of communication, you are allowed to edit settings within the phone that better prevent you from using it and to take pictures.
The hardest part so far was not taking my phone to work the first couple of days. Each time I’d leave without the phone it’d feel strange. While at work, I consistently felt the need to check my phone that wasn’t there. Luckily, this feeling went away quickly and I’m no longer craving quick glances at a handheld device. It also feels completely natural to leave without having the phone on me.
By not having the phone around, it seems like flow states are coming more often. The biggest hurdle to flow for me has always been distraction. In today’s world, I would guess that nothing distracts us more than our cellphones. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great tools but they’re easy to abuse. Not having the portal to distraction around has brought about deeper concentration and more clarity when solving problems.
For anyone else considering trying something similar, there are a number of things that can be done to make the challenge go smoother. These things have done a lot for me. I may identify more as the challenge moves along, but here’s what’s helped me thus far.
- Leave the Phone At Home
- Turn Notifications Off
- Mute the Sound Outside of Calls
With the challenge halfway complete, I don’t think it’s going to be too difficult to bring it home. I’m enjoying the benefits of not having my phone around too much to even want to jeopardize the successful completion. Before I started this, I was actually considering upgrading my two year old phone that could barely keeping a charge for over a day. Now that phone’s battery is sitting at 56% and claims its got 4 days left. I prefer this new reality. I can’t see myself upgrading any time soon.