Opting Out: Smartphones

Those who know me in real life know that I constantly bring up the idea of getting rid of my smartphone. My company actually pays for my phone and when I am traveling for work, I absolutely do need it. But I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a non-smart phone for my daily use and just turning the smart phone on when I am traveling.

I have not done this yet. I would make an intention to trying to use my phone less and fail — and this was a cycle that repeated over and over. I wasn’t quite ready to drop my phone altogether for three main reasons: 1) How would I take photos? 2) How would I figure out how to get anywhere? 3) How would I keep in contact with my loved ones (whom I mostly communicate with via text).

So what I did was starting deleting apps from my phone. Yup. I went through and deleted every app I didn’t absolutely need. Even Safari. I didn’t even know you could delete Safari! But that, on its own, reduced my smartphone usage each day by probably 60%. I had two apps left that had some level of search and interaction component — the first was google maps and the second was Instagram.

I have about six Instagram friends, and I really use the platform as more of a photo scrapbook. But all of a sudden I was spending 10 minutes at a time on Instagram explore – or searching hashtags. So I deleted Instagram.

And now, I am honestly finding myself using my phone just for navigation, photos, and texting. The cognitive load of my phone has greatly reduced — and it has, once again, become a tool that is serving me. And honestly, I don’t miss having Safari on my phone at all. Not at all. It makes me feel free.