I lasted 2 weeks before switching back to my pixel
The process was interesting… there were 2 things that ultimately yanked me back to my pixel.
First is the camera - the flip phone doesn’t have a camera that’s worth talking about. Since I’ve had a smart phone for… I guess a bit over a decade now, there are a few deep habits that I use my camera for, things like
- scanning receipts so I don't need to carry them around after a business purchase
- documenting events like (recently) the specification of the tire for our car
- scanning ephemeral documents like grocery lists, or weekly schedules
These things became a bit important during the past few weeks as we did a lot of moving things around in the house.
The other reason is family. Somewhere between 5 and 10 years ago, my siblings, parents and I were very spread out. One of my sisters lived in the UK, I lived in Ontario, and my parents and other sister lived in Alberta. We created a family habit of using WhatsApp to avoid the international SMS fees. When I was using the flip phone, I missed out on some family communication that I want to be a part of.
In spite of these two inconveniences, there was some really positive things that came from this expirement.
If you’ve read books like Cal Newport’s Deep Work or Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, this won’t come as a suprise.
my smartphone does very little to enrich my life.
To take that thought a bit further, there are about 50 apps that have lived on my phone in recent months. Since doing this experiment, I have deleted most of them.
I will detail a few things that are of interest.
First, there are a bunch of apps on my phone that send me notifications that I don’t actually use. I would get notifications like these:
- [insert some random person] tweeted “[insert some social or political upsetting quote here]”
- Your picture “20210904-PXL-ASDF1234.png has uploaded successfully
- The world is even more fucked than it was yesterday - Tap here to read more!
Some notifications are actively irritating, others are useless, but few to none of them help me accomplish anything.
Moving to the flip phone disconnected me from a lot of these things enough to notice the negative impacts.
Notifications are distracting, and it gives someone else permission to ste my schedule. When Twitter sends me a notification, it’s like they’re saying “Hey, we own the next 20 minutes of your life” and if I tap the notification, I’m saying “Ok - I’ll move my schedule around to suit your plans.”
I actually enjoy using Twitter, and it helps me with my career because it keeps in in the loop about industry specific opinions and news, but I want to set the schedule.
The other thing that I noticed was when I had time to burn, like waiting for laundry, I would sit down, and open an app. The next thing I know, it’s been two hours, and the schedule I made for my day has gone out the window.
Using the flip phone for the short time I did, made it easy to arrange my time better, and ultimately make me happier.
my phone felt like an extension of me before this expirement. leaving it in a different room, or forgetting it at home was a reason to turn around
I downloaded a new launcher called indistractable which I think delivers on their ideology.
Here is the ideology section from their play store description.
-- 💡 Ideology: * Indistractable Launcher is inspired by The light phone. * Focus on what matters - only the core apps you really need * Keep it simple * Inspired by Atomic Habits by James Clear, Deep Work by Cal Newport and of course Indistractable by Nir Eyal --
I also ended up deleting all of the apps on my phone, except for a very select few, and the only ones that notify me now are phone and messages, and those only notify me when I turn do-not-disturb mode off.
My cloud services, like Twitter, or Reddit only get my attention when I’m on my computer, when I choose to browse to them.
Now the phone feels much less like an extension of my arm, and feels more like a tool that you really only pick up when you need to use it.