Ask HN: Have you ever tried to live without a phone?

Many of us were old enough to have lived during a time where smartphones did not exist. My thoughts are… it is nice to have access to a great pocket-sized camera and communication device, though it is also nice to turn it off once in a while.

Exactly so. Though life was more annoying without a mobile phone for example (failed rendezvouz?) it happened. It’s not helpful to demonise the tech rather than managing it and yourself candidly IMHO.

>Though life was more annoying without a mobile phone

I disagree. My feeling is that life was much better, more “human” without mobile phones. I hate how everyone walks around staring down at their phones instead of looking at the world. It’s like an addiction. It reminds me of the ST:TNG episode “The game”. People don’t even acknowledge each other’s existence anymore.

Face-to-face interactions (pre-pandemic) ceased to exist, attention spans dropped precipitously, laziness increased (I can’t be bothered to go out anywhere when I can have it delivered to my door by a “gig worker”.) It’s truly become a dystopia. If you weren’t alive or an adult in the years before smartphones, you may not realize what a dystopia this is in comparison. I’m not even idolizing the past — there were certainly plenty of problems in the past — but this is even worse, and none of the past problems were solved either.

One of the unacknowledged advantages of desktops computers is that youcan’ttake them everywhere. You have to leave desktop computers on the desktop. You eventually have to get up, get away from the computer, and interact with other humans in person. I also feel that mobile phones decrease personal independence. The smartphone becomes a “crutch” that you don’t know how to live without. You can’t even function adequately without a smartphone in your hand or pocket.

When you read and reply to people’s comments on the internet, aren’t you acknowledging their existence? When you browse the work that they created aren’t you looking at the world?

I’m afraid you’re missing the point. When I say people don’t acknowledge each other’s existence, I mean people literally within a few feet/meters of each other, who could easily see and/or speak with each other if they made even the bare minimum of effort.

When another person is in your physical presence, it’s almost like you’re deliberately ignoring them when your eyes are glued down on the smartphone. It’s personal rudeness, a diss. “You’re not even worth raising my head and saying hi.”

The people on the phone are effectively only a few centimetres away, nevermind feet. So shouldn’t it be even more rude to ignore internet messages?

The internet isn’t some kind of fake virtual reality… it is just a communication tool. The draw to use it is created by real people sharing real ideas. I think this idea that people who are physically closer to you deserve more of your attention is misguided.

>shouldn’t it be even more rude to ignore internet messages?

Who says you have to ignore internet messages? It took you a half hour to reply to my comment, and that’s fine. That leaves plenty of time to acknowledge a person IRL.

The internet will still be there when we get home from being outside. That’s one of the advantages of the internet.

Unfortunately no notifications on here, and also I had to think about what I was going to say 🙂

>The internet will still be there when we get home from being outside

And won’t the physical space outside still be there after you decide you’re done talking on the internet?

Not just a camera and communication device, but also a GPS receiver.

It’s impossible to overstate how useful GPS is.

That said, one could always get a dedicated GPS device instead of using a phone.

>It’s impossible to overstate how useful GPS is.

Maps are useful (and I think they’re more useful in paper or schematic form optimized to particular use case), but GPS is really just a nice to have.

Never had one, never will. My wife has, my kids too, I don’t. Clients get hold of me via e-mail or IM, family through landline. If I am unavailable immediately then tough luck, I love not be at anybody’s finger tips if I go for a stroll in a park, for example.

I leave my phone at home, or off when I want to, but the single biggest improvement of privacy and peace comes from “downtime” (iOS>settings>Screentime>Downtime). From 20: 00 till 06: 00 I will not receive any messages from apps.

On top of that “do not disturb” (iOS>settings>Do not disturb) hits at 20: 00 and ends at 07: 00 where no one can call me (except for those who are in my favourites).

So basically my phone is dead>20: 00 till 07: 00.

Best of both worlds to me.

Problem is if you have one then at least one person becomes important enough to “make you”, the boss / a family member / a friend you feel you’re in debt etc. I see that plenty around me. Pretty sure if I’d have one that person would become my wife for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife but I also love the freedom of not being at her disposal 24/7.

Not sure if you will still check this thread but in case you do:

I only have a account at this point (I use linphone, that I’m not entirely happy with but seems better than the alternatives I’ve been able to find and is cross platform). I only connect to it when I need to make a call and get voice messages sent to my email. While it might be different depending on where you live (I’m in a large city in the US), there are a number of places that expect you to have a phone and it will be more effort to be completely without one, so I’d recommend some VOIP account if you are going for the least annoyance non-smartphone option. Some companies require the ability to send you a text message, including Google (I think, unless there is some way to get around it) and Paypal. I was able to get SMS from Google on but not from Paypal (they say SMS from short codes usually doesn’t work and it they have no idea when they might be able to make it work). Paypal still lets me use the account (and stopped the annoying messages on login after I enabled TOTP) but I can’t add any new info (update cards or bank info) so it may eventually stop working. My bank also seems to require that I have a phone but I can get the text via voice (but not just a message, you need to type a number before it gives you the code), text, or authy. I should try to see if they would give me a TOTP key if I contact them. You will need some phone number to enter into a form much more often but for me I think those are the only ones where I have actually needed to use the phone.

At least in the US, old cell phones can be used for emergency calls as long as they can connect (even if they do not have active service).

I don’t own a smartphone, and the main reason is that I don’t want to spend all my day staring at screens. Thus, I have resisted the idea of buying one for more than a decade now. The thing is that I don’treallyneed it. If it comes to maps, my car has an excellent GPS system. Music I don’t need to listen to outdoors. E-mails and such well I have my PC and if I’m not at work what’s the point of being bothered, it’s not like I’m a medical doctor or anything remotely essential.

I own a Kindle for books, which helped a lot with my Internet addiction and the lack of focus, and for communication I have a dumb mobile phone with a battery that lasts for weeks.

Realistically speaking the only reason I’d buy a smartphone these days is for photos. Anything else is just fucking useless. I can’t do work on a smartphone, and I don’t even want to. I enjoy having time off of any electronic device because it helps my brain unwind and adds quality to my life.

I have a high spec phone running Sailfish OS, and I think I have the best of both worlds. With all notifications and push updates turned off it’s a useful tool but no longer intrudes. I’ve set up periods of the day when even phone calls don’t trigger audible alerts, so I can work without interruption. But when I need access to information, Slack conversations, files from our NAS or even SSH access to servers themselves, I have that anywhere in the world.

A lot of the time it stays in my bag, and gets to the end of the day with 75% charge left despite reading books on it over lunch, often watching an hour’s video on it in the evening, and listening to music via bluetooth at work if I need to shut out distractions.

It’s now a tool and no longer an intrusion.

>I am considering ditching my smartphone

Do it. Your health will thank you almost immediately for that.

>going back to an old-school phone or not owning one at all.

Personally, although I love the idea of going landline-only, I think a “dumb” phone can serve one well in a certain number of circumstances, so that’s what I’ve been using for four years now. I use a Nokia 6250 at the present moment, but I keep switching between old phones I like and have lying around–some of them are brand new, never been out of the box.

I don’t even text. I only make phone calls, and if someone doesn’t pick up, I leave a voicemail telling them when they can preferrably return the call. That’s it. I only use e-mail for more formal exchanges, but never to have anything that resembles an informal conversation.

Mind you, if you are still relatively young, doing away with IM, texting, and social media can be fairly alienating, as you will no doubt realize how utterly addicted everyone else is to their smartphone, and how a great deal of social activities and interactions that used to happen not that long ago don’t come about that often anymore. Many opportunities to think deeply, to reflect, to have a conversation, to laugh, to question something, to go through your own personal memories, to find new things to do, tolive, in sum, are now wasted on a regular basis.

Good luck with it, and don’t be afraid to be an outlier.

Thanks! I am 23 and live abroad so I always told myself I owned a smartphone to stay connected to family at home. But I just started to realize that it owns me. Plus during COVID I don’t go out anyway. So why not try…

By all means, stay connected to your family–just try and do it through other platforms. In similar circumstances to yours, I stayed in contact with my family through Ring, Tox (toxic), and XMPP. I always preferred audio and video calls over texting them, which I almost never did. Stay connected to those that care about you the most, through healthy means. No need to own a smartphone, you are right about that one, but do know that there are meaningful connections worth maintaining.

Since the raise of smartphones I have not turned on or not taking with me my phone for days or weeks at a time. Especially during traveling I find it a nicer experience to have to interact more with locals, stroll around and getting lost at times, instead of just ubering from one tripadviser location to the next.

On a day to day what I think helped me most is:

– Do not disturb mode on all the time.

– Keep apps to a minimum that is actually useful. I think I never had more than like 5 installed.

– Turn off most if not all notifications.

– If its a personal phone, do not set up all the work related stuff (email, slack, calendar, etc.) on it, or make sure notifications are turned off.

– And maybe most importantly, “train” your social or work circles, that not immediately responding does not mean you are dead or hold a grudge on them and if they want something from you they might have to think ahead.

With this I’m happy with having a device in the pocket or bag that does come in handy often enough, but does not need to be the most recent expensive flagship and is not a tamagotchi needing constant attention.

I’ve gone back and forth between smartphones and dumbphones a few times now. Each model and OS have a big impact on how dumb or smart a phone can be.

Smartphone Pluses: It’s nice to have a camera and a flashlight in my pocket all the time. Having the internet nearby is also nice for when I need to look things up. GPS is really nice.

Smartphone Minuses: It’s distracting, but you can and should customize your app preferences, notifications, etc. to your liking. The battery sucks.

Dumbphone Pluses: Not very distracting. Forces you to be thoughtful in text messages, as they are laborious to write on a numpad. Good battery life and they are mostly replaceable. Though you should buy a few replacements and store them in your fridge as battery models are dropped from manufacture.

Dumphone Minuses: Generally, not a good camera or screen to read/view from. Same with flashlight, but you can get a small one for your keychain anyways. Lack of apps and internet. Sometimes you really do want to have a stargazing app or know that one recipe. You can call 411 and ask them those questions as well, but it does cost money. No GPS. No real social media support, though you can send out updates to most social media sites, but getting back info is done through text message and that can be a hassle. Overall, you can do work-arounds, but they take time, knowhow, money, and are overall less optimal.

Overall, I have a pretty locked down smartphone right now and it works ok. I’d like to have a better battery though. I don’t think I’ll be going back to a dumbphone as the ‘social inertia’ of smartphone usage is pretty high.

I’m doing this currently. I had a job that had zero respect for my personal time and any notification from my phone would chip away at my mood to some degree. It got to the point that my phone made me miserable and I stopped answering calls / texts even from the people I would otherwise want to hear from. I’ve been separated from that job for years but the resentment of people I don’t know being able to ‘sound an alarm’ on my end (hyperbolic, I know) lingered. Early this year, I canceled my phone contract and transferred my existing number to Google Voice when my physical phone died. Using this for a few days and borrowing my SO’s phone to control media to the TV and I quite liked being reachable on my terms. I have since gotten a WiFi only tablet that I use for messaging / calls on the go and to deal with the TV. This works well for me as I can easily contact people when needed with minimal prior planning. I’ve even road tripped helping a friend move with downloading my route to my device, stopping at a McDs parking lot for wifi to place a call letting my ride know I needed pickup in ~ 20 mins, etc. It is very doable with the availability of WiFi these days (at least in my area and even along my route in rural US) and I have no plans of getting another phone any time soon. I feel like its like when I was only accessible by land line. If I’m not home or my voice app is closed, sorry — I’ll get back to you when I can.

My life improved measurably once I got a phone. Many events happen more or less spontaneously and people will message me in the moment if I want to join something. Since joining facebook and whatsapp I have become a much more social person (in real life).

I don’t use facebook for posting, just for messaging. I don’t install works apps (teams) on my phone, so if I get a notification, it’s usually positive/meaningful one. I mute all group chats.

This is how I keep my phone a positive object in my life.

I can relate to not wanting to be on a leash.

What I did is disable all notifications and ringtones. Calls go to voicemail and if people leave a message I’ll call back on my own time, otherwise I won’t. Only my SO has audible ringtones and notifications so I know that if the phone rings it’s worth answering.

I don’t install apps if I can help it, I havE gotten rid of Facebook Twitter etc a long time ago and will use the browser for the rest. If they go out of their way to make the browser experience shitty on mobile (Reddit, linked in), well, more power to them I’ll only use my computer with ad blocking instead.

And of course I’ll never install my works chat app on my phone, nor will they ever get my phone number.

But I do find having a smartphone is convenient. Maps at the tips of your fingers when you’re lost, calling places when you’re on the go and need to ask or change something, gps for the bicycle, transit pass for public transportation and trains, music on the go… it feels like by disabling all notifications, no social networks presence, and no native apps if I can help it, then I have the best of both worlds. Oh and for ad blocking on the iPhone, it works everywhere except in the YouTube app and for websites that inject google ads after the page has loaded (only a couple of websites as far as I’m concerned)

Maybe the rule should be: no phone while at home? Lock it on arrival or something. All the practical/non-attention-sucking benefits of phones happen outdoors I reckon

I did live without a smartphone for 20 days during my military service. I had no other choice as only “dumb” phones were allowed.

I would suggest it as a one-month experiment to anyone reading this. I had so much time to think, reflect and… get bored. It was a sort of detox. It was great tonotknow where you are on the map. It was great tonothave something to listen to. It was great tonotcatch-up.

Since I was off the hook of my smartphone, I tended not to bail out on conversations with others and go back to my digital reality. I talked to people (maybe other people not having smartphones also helped with this).

I kept my “dumb” phone for a couple of months after that but I don’t think I can manage to live without a smartphone full time. However, it’s a great exercise to reduce addiction. I definitely started use my smart phone less.

My phone melted down last week and spent a long weekend without it. It was very refreshing, and tempted to stay phone-less, so kind of regret that I used the warranty and received a new one.
What a coincidence that I just wrote about the brief experience a few hours ago:

I’ve considered doing the same. Also, before I ran my own company, I used to never take a phone or laptop with me on vacation.

Here are some things I’ve done as a half measure to make phones more tolerable:

– Turn off notifications for almost everything. I don’t let any of the current crop of messengers send audible (or vibration) notifications. I only see them if I look at my phone. I don’t allow notifications from any social app, or really anything else.

– Set up “favorites” on Android, and leave my phone to only allow those through a large chunk of the time. This means the only people that I’ll hear ring if they call are basically: my wife, kid’s daycare and server downtime notifications.

For me that gets it into the range of tollerability most of the time. It helps that I’ve always been more of a laptop / desktop person than phone user for browsing. I don’t tend to pick up my phone super often. Friends do complain that I’m hard to reach though.

I went back to a dumb phone and a WiFi only iPad.

I downloaded maps for offline use but I hated it and really missed having decent navigation at the push of a small button in my hand.

For music I used a 2008 iPod video. I actually still prefer it when Riding my motorcycle.

I was shocked at how much I still needed the iPad for MFA via google authenticator / Microsoft auth / Authy because the Yubikey I bought didn’t work with most sites. This was a couple years ago. YMMV.

I wish I’d blogged about it. I ended up going back to a cheap Android after a couple months of missing a decent camera then go frustrated with the speed of the phone and went to a pixel and then back to iPhone.

When I have been without a phone it’s demonstrated how much I really need one for the simplest things like a calendar, a timer, a flashlight, a camera. A lot of that a dumb phone can do. But navigation is the deal breaker.

That said I think $1000 phones is stupid. I am very happy with the new iPhone SE

I can’t, because I really need these apps:

– Electric scooter unlocking (you scan a QR code on the scooter)

car rental and unlocking

– Maps and navigation

– Grocery list (I uncheck items when I notice that I’m running out, so the list is always up to date when I go to the mall)

– Language learning app

– Music streaming

– Podcasts (includes news)

As for my experience, I tried a week without a phone and a year without social media and my conclusion was that I absolutely need a smartphone and like Twitter (after some cleanup and muting some topics). I also tried a Jelly Phone (very tiny Android phone) for a while, which was fun, but a regular sized smartphone just works best for me.

Ultimately, it’s up to you, to pick the technology that best fits your life. If you can live with an old-school phone or none at all, why not? The nice thing of the “not owning one at all” option is that you can just try it immediately.

On and off, over the years, due to remote locations. So, not exactly what you are asking for.

Longest period was about 3 months, during which time I was able to voice chat via sat a few times a week. On many other occasions I’ve been off the phone grid for a few days to a couple weeks.

Message apps are a big one for me because I am rarely near people with whom I have close relationships. Months without that were quite lonely.

On the other hand, I (almost) never use maps, never use social media, and do not use my phone for watching videos. All of that by early choice. I survive fine that way.

Ive found that without my phone the first couple days have lots of frustrated moments of “oh…I cannot look up the thing I do not know,” but after that I adapt.

I want to try this once. But I’m so much into WhatsApp, Instagram. It will be kind of digital detox. I had deleted Twitter and Facebook 6yrs back that was once of the best decision I had made. Now I’m kind of addicted to that Insta feed and Youtube feed. I will be deleting Insta account. But hope will come over the need of WhatsApp and other cool apps and ditch phone completely.

But if you suddenly need a document and you have been out for some work, and you don’t have mobile to receive it ? This is the only thing I’m not able to cover it up. Rest if I ditch I can come over it.

>But if you suddenly need a document and you have been out for some work, and you don’t have mobile to receive it ?

That’s an easy one: my personal phone=no work use whatsoever. And if they offer to pay for it (they won’t), then I’ll decline so it stays my phone rather than my work’s whistle.

It gets you hooked so quickly. I have no FB and a pretty tame Twitter. But it is so mindless that it gets me every now and then.

I lived without a cell phone until I was in my late 30s (2016). It made going out, meeting friends, navigation, taking photos, and dating much more difficult. Other people will expect you to have one and not having one makes you harder to communicate with; think about how many people you regularly text instead of call. My current relationship relies heavily on a cellphone; we use our phones to identify restaurants, get directions, and have brief text conversations. There are many things I dislike about cellphones but I would never go back.

I just gave in and made the switch to a smartphone. It’s getting tough to find dumbphones that aren’t limited to 3g, which Verizon (my carrier) is turning off thatalsohave a QWERTY keyboard. If you can live with T9, you have a lot more options.

Last time I got a new phone (2015 or 2016), most of the QWERTY phones were just crappy or outdated smartphones. I found a slider with QWERTY that is apparently 3g only. Everybody hated the voice quality.

This time around, I gave in and got an iPhone SE. I hate the distraction, but I wasn’t willing to live with T9 for texting.

Good luck!

It’s almost a requirement of modern city living To have one.

Paying parking meters, not having to deal with rolls of quarters.

Also 2 factor logins at work from home require a smart phone.

Filling out forms for pandemic related info to get into
Work requires a app. (For those that work in labs and not from

I don’t love being plugged in all the time, but having lived my life without one (cell phones weren’t around in early 90s
College) I’m not going back. Dumb phones were a pain to type on.

Apart from being always connected there is anxiety about my phone breaking which is another downside.

I have black out periods. A few hours a day that I’m not accessible. Turn phone off, disable all messages in laptop , etc.

It’s really helped with mental health to the point where I take a few days off a month and completely disconnect from “networked” tech. No phones or internet. I walk, I write, I watch movies I took the time to buy instead of taking what Netflix pushes on me.

I can’t say how I’d be without it but I do think it’s improved my life by making me appreciate slowing down more and deeper involvement in anything I’m currently doing.

I’ve been thinking about doing a multiple-profile setup on Android. One with just the SMS / Phone / Camera apps, and the other with email or slack for when I’m on call. Anyone have experience with the profile system on Android?

I did it for about a month a few years ago and it was really refreshing. I’ve been trending back in that direction. I got an iPhone SE and uninstalled most apps.

I still really enjoy having a few things: maps, camera, and messaging. I don’t do much of the social thing so that’s not a problem.

I’ve been checking out the Lightphone II. It’s definitely intriguing with the support for a hotspot and podcasts, music, and eventually maps. But I also don’t know that I want to spend that much.

I am about to do exactly the same after I move: get a landline and ditch my smartphone. I think of what it costs in time, money, resources, and freedom, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d be a more satisfied human being without a smartphone. I’m not interested in buying what it’s selling.

My work requires a smartphone for multi-factor authentication and to unlock the office door (if we ever go back to the office)

It makes me so mad that companies require phones for MFA. I get distracted by my phone easily and when I tried switching to a yubikey, they told me that my business case for switching wasn’t good enough. So frustrating

For multi-factor, could you use an Android emulator running on your PC?

Obviously, that does not work for the doorlock.

This will depend on the solution – a common Enterprise solution, RSA SecureID SoftToken, includes the ability to IMEI lock the app on the user (I am not sure if this is required or optional, I’m an end-user not RSA admin) to ensure it only runs on company provisioned mobiles (many companies use further solutions such as MobileIron on all provisioned devices for fleet management).

Running it on the same machine would defeat much of the purpose.

A better idea is to just turn it on for 2FA, then turn it off again.

That was my point. Using a mobile phone as a second factor seems more like an inconvenience.

Other sibling mentioned IMEI pinning, but I assume the emulator can spoof IMEI.

I am all for a separate physical device, just not a phone.

A phone is just a computer, just like any other device. What do you have specifically against it? You can just keep it turned off except when you need to use it for 2FA.

I did this intentionally for a few years about five years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The only reason i ended up getting a phone afterwards was to develop mobile software.

As i notice myself get too attached to my device i miss those peaceful years. At the very least leave it behind when you go on holiday if possible.

I had thoughts about this but eventually decided to just turn off the color on my smartphone. Now I just use it when it’s absolutely necessary because it looks so drab.

Or just turn it onto airplane mode for most of the time. You get the benefit of having something with you to take notes, photos, videos, etc but none of the constant connection and availability anxiety.

I let my phone’s battery ‘die’ and may not recharge for several hours to a day.

I have thought about porting my number to Twilio or similar, and having a stationary phonebooth that can send and receive mms messages, as well.

It’s very bad for the lifetime of a lithium battery to let it drop all the way to 0% charge

The “0%” is somewhat arbitrary, this is also why it’s recommended to keep lithium ion batteries between 25% and 75%.

Depends on your lifecycle. I honestly couldn’t imagine living in a big city without map/taxi/metro apps. I love getting lost, but not on a daily basis.

It’s not possible to use internet banking here without being able to receive SMS, so that would be tough. Dumb phone is enough for that, though.

I don’t have a phone, not even landline. It’s fine. People adjust to the fact that I’ll reply to emails when I have time.

Never had one, never really caused a problem. Mutli-auth with a yubikey, land-line if I need to make a call, old ipod for music … do it.

Smartphones are not a status symbol anymore so it’s now much easier to have a lower-end device that meets basic needs (phone, email, messaging) while limiting how distracting it can get (games, AR/VR)

Yes, by living in the 80s and 90s (and even in the 2000s where the phones were “not smart”)

It sucked.

Not being communicable where you were and having to depend on fixed places for communication (phone booths, etc) sucked.

Not being able to access some information quickly (maps, etc) sucked. Ok maybe sometimes it was fun, but it overall sucked.

So thanks but no thanks

You can always set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” or “Airplane Mode” if needed. Or, you know, not look at it immediately after getting a notification

Totally this.

You are now given more options regarding daily activity + safety which aren’t obligatory.

I was recently thinking what was in my parents heads when I was lost in the mountain storm during regular ski period in 90s.

When I have broked my last hpone, I spend several days without anything. It was hard but in some case greate. I had digital detox)

Why should I do that? I remember the time w/o cell phones and it was horrible. I never want to go back.

How come they don’t sell batteries on the train no more? I guess it’s cause the iPod came out.

They sold batteries on trains? I remember there used to be a pay phones on some German trains but they were using the analogue C network, which shut down in 2000.

I grew up without one, but came in fully to the working world of ‘always on’.

It took me 6 months of ‘non corporate work’ to get used to the idea of not receiving emails all the time.

It becomes part of your identity and you feel lost without it.

But then you regain something lost – peace of mind.

I can’t even imagine what it means to grow up ‘fully connected’ – sometimes I think that young people must be excessively neurotic, and would be afraid of ‘quiet’ and think that what was normal for all of human history is now, in one generation – ‘bizarre’.

I recommend getting an Android and not using apps. Don’t have notifications, but if you want to check something you can.

And it will take 6 months to get used to, but afterwards, you might not be able to fathom going back to the noise.

I see what you are saying, but the notification is actually a big deal. The notification is the ‘trigger’ to set us off to ‘read the thing’ which gives us our little dopamine hit. It’s hard to resist, and it takes up a lot of mental noise.

Even thepossibilityof getting notifications is stressfull.

The difference between having a phone on, where people can contact you – vs – phone dead or ‘no phone’ is definitely noticeable. ‘Knowing you don’t have to check’ is an extra level of peace.

notifications reallly piss me off.

it seems that if i shut my mouth its all fine but as soon as its time for a conversation there is constant disruption and derailment from the continuity of a conversation, effect is a shallow conversation or series of mini conversations made of half phra [BRRING!! BRINNG!!] hey someone just liked a post from yesterday, what was that we were talking about.

Yes, of course, I only got one of the things when I got a girlfriend – who is now my wife – in another country. Before that time I was employed as a service developer and -architect at a big telco while at the same time (well, at night mostly) working on a number of free software projects. I did standby duty during the Y2K moment supreme (nothing happened and I could party along at the hostel close to the office). When I needed to be reachable I had a pager on me, otherwise I was either close to something with a network connection or in disconnected bliss out in the woods.

The same works just as well now with the exception of the pager which needs to be replaced with a phone. Wear it when you need to be reachable, otherwise leave it at home. I still do this with my phones in a way in that I don’t use data and leave my main device at home when I’m out in the woods. The secondary phones – I have a number of them – are all older Android devices which I use as audio players and cameras which happen to make it possible for people to reach me.

Just get a cheap phone or leave your current one at home for a while to see how it goes.

I find that if I didn’t have a phone, my time would probably just be spent staring at a computer instead. Before smart phones I would sit for hours browsing the internet on my computer.

Now I still spend hours browsing the internet each day, but usually I’m also out and about because I’m doing it on my phone.

However, I’m thinking of getting a smart watch and completely leaving my phone at home. If I really need to communicate someone I find an Apple Watch is good enough, and it eliminates the other distracting apps that eat up my time. Probably the way to go tbh, and if I had kids it’d probably be the first communication device I give them instead of a phone.

If your goal is to take back your attention and stop being a slave to messages and notifications, you can always turn them off and uninstall just those apps. I’ve been running in 24/7 “do not disturb” mode for the last few years, and it’s been a game changer. I use my device onmyterms whenIwant to, not when other people or apps want my attention. All notifications are silent and do not light up my lock screen. All calls go directly to voicemail with no ring. My ring tone and message tones are set to silent audio files, in case I missed something. Any app that I find myself compulsively going into gets uninstalled.

Also, leaving Facebook about ten years ago and never picking up any of the alternatives was a critical step toward taking back my attention.

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