Life Without A Phone

Daily Thoughts


How do you survive without your phone for a week? Leave the house without putting your phone in your bag. It was a wonderful experiment to try, after I read Womankind Magazine’s post on the smartphone challenge. I realised when I didn’t use my phone for a week, how much I didn’t need it. Most of the time when I used it, it was to search something, scroll on social media or look up things that weren’t necessary in that moment. When I didn’t have my phone, I felt focused in my studies and more attentive to the present.

How often do you use your smartphone, and for what activities? My phone is used to look at my notifications, and to read emails, messages, news, read articles and social media. I noticed that I use it when I don’t need to, and that it becomes a sense of distraction on what I may be focusing on. It becomes a form of escapism from the current task. How do you feel when your phone is left at home, or when you have to commute without its distracting presence? I felt more present with a curious observation of the world around me. It was freeing and makes you realise the reliance and attention we give to our phones, when we really don’t need to use it most of the time.

It made me realise how much our phones can be a distraction, because not every email, message and notification needs to be attended to immediately, and there was a longer sense of satisfaction to just check my phone only once at the very end of the day on everything. It allowed me to use my phone for only 20 minutes at the end of the day, to reply or make sure I didn’t have any missed calls or messages. Most of the time, I didn’t have anything that was extremely urgent. I also felt that I would sleep earlier and wake up earlier, and that my productivity, creativity and focus levels were far higher.

What happens to your social life? I realise that many people tend to check their phones even when they’re in the company of another person. I noticed that even when I have my phone, I am more inclined to focus on the person. In terms of my social life, I feel like it made me more relaxed when meeting up with friends, because I didn’t have my phone on me and just had to meet them at the time and place. There is also something wonderful about just being, and not relying and needing to stand there using your phone when you’re waiting for someone.

How do you feel emotionally? What do you do differently in a week without your smartphone? I felt like I didn’t have that feeling of urgency. There was a calming feeling of when I had an urge to take a photo of something beautiful I’d seen or to message someone, to know that I should just breathe in that moment and enjoy it then and there. Not everything needs to be captured by a camera, and most things should be enjoyed through the lens of our eyes. There is beauty and mystery in keeping a moment to yourself.

There’s a question on privacy when it comes to technology, and I think it’s important to remind oneself how much you choose to share. I think our visual self online can be perceived a certain way, but the best way to truly know someone will always be in person.

Art by Otto Kim

18 thoughts on “Life Without A Phone

  1. My phone was broken and for about 3 weeks I didn’t have it. It was the most amazing, productive time I’ve had in a long time!
    I do love your insta posts

  2. I only use my phone for business phone and sometimes to take a photo. It’s a waste of money for me, but believe it or not it is cheaper than a landline business phone

  3. I love this! Recently, I discovered how good it actually feels to get rid of my phone and I totally understand that feeling! It’s all about letting go. Not worrying about who’s there and who’s not and remvoves that insane stress from my mind. As for my brain, my phone proves to be a major distraction and though it can sometimes help out, it tends to be more of a nuisance than a life saver.

    1. Thank you, exactly, it lets go of the clutter and distraction. I agree, I remember when I had my first phone which was a pink flip phone with click buttons, it could only send messages and calls. This was back then when we really did have our phone only if we had an emergency or needed to keep in touch with out parents etc. However, now it’s used as a way of accessing so much information and entertainment and so on, it’s nice to take that break :)

      1. I completely agree. Although I don’t belong to that time period, I remember when my mom had one of those flip phones and sure seemed like fun. :) It must’ve been better to not worry about streaks or constant messages. Being connected is pretty great when you’re alone, but sometimes it kind of annoying. Everyone needs their own personal space sometimes after all. :)

  4. So true when you mention that we use our phones for distraction. I see that everywhere. In the restaurant, on the train…I think some people bring their phones into the bathroom as well!
    I used to dedicate my short breaks to Instagram just so I could keep up with what’s going on in the fashion world. Inevitably I also look at what influencers and my friends are up to. When I snapped out of it, 15 minutes has passed! I have since learned that, to know what’s going on in the industry doesn’t mean I have to check Instagram multiple times in one day. Every two or three days works too.
    Nowadays, I give priority to e-mails and messages from friends but not notifications from FB or Instagram (I log out so I don’t get notified when someone likes or comments). Since I don’t get many important emails or messages from friends during the weekdays, I still get to focus on things that matter.
    But now, I’ really want to try this experiment!

    1. thank you for your comment, yes I can’t count the amount of times I’ve nearly walked into someone who was looking at their phone when walking on the street. It’s so easy for that to happen! That’s true, it’s more satisfying to check it all at once, rather than checking multiple times a day. I find constant notifications can become an interruption, so I tend to keep my phone offline most of the time. Please do, and tell me how you go

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