I Ditched My Smartphone Two Years Ago


About two years ago I got very tired of having a smartphone… So, I ditched it.

I started to notice the amount of time wasted looking up useless information.  Two hours at a time watching football highlights and reading about political arguments I didn’t really even care about. It wasn’t moving my life forward at all. I looked like a candy cane standing in line with my phone because I was afraid of boredom – God forbid I was ever bored.  Give me an amen if you know what I mean.

Largely, I don’t think it was contributing to my overall well-being. I mean it certainly does not feel good to start the day with the best of intentions to kick-ass, just to be overtaken by the slot-machine swipe device in my pocket.  I had heard that social media and our devices were negatively impacting the general population’s mental health; it made sense, but honestly I never took a deep dive into the research. 

Frankly, I just got sick of trying to discipline myself, just to be overcome by guilt because I wasted more time on my phone.  I wish I was here to say that I finally was just able to have discipline and overcame my habit of click-click-swipe-swipe.  And then give you my 7-step system so that you could too! But that was not my experience, and I’m not going to lie to ya; you’re welcome 😉  

Long story short, I bought a dumb phone.  Specifically a Light Phone.  And I don’t regret it.  Technically it is a Smartphone.  But that is a bit of a joke.  Look into it yourself.  All in all, I DO NOT REGRET IT.  It was one of the greatest gifts I have ever made for myself.  Is it inconvenient sometimes? Yes, but the inconvenience far outweighs the positive impacts.

Well, how do you get to places without a GPS? I either just memorize how to get there and pay attention or I look up the directions before I go.  I know, crazy! I do have an old school GPS I bought for $100 in my glove box and plug it into the cigarette lighter if I ever get in a pinch. 

But what if you want to know the capital of Delaware? Get ready for this, I might just not get to know. Okay, I stole that line from comedian Mark Normand. I could just ask someone with a Smartphone (everyone has one, right?), or look it up on my computer later at home.  

I could go on, but you get the point.  Everyone survived just fine before, and you’d probably survive if you buried your phone in your backyard tonight. 

So, has my well-being improved? Absolutely. Let me put it to you this way, the other day I was at a restaurant and my girlfriend slipped away to the ladies’ room, and I reached into my pocket for my phone and suddenly realized that there was nothing on it to distract myself with.  So I just sat there in boredom staring at the wall.  It was great.  Boredom is a lost art, man.  Seriously, it did my soul some good to just sit there and drink in the night and to just be there with my thoughts.  Perhaps cleansing. Okay that might be taking it too far.  But it was not bad, and I did not die.  And I have had multiple moments like this in the past two years.  I can’t just fill up space with the swipes.  And you know what? I notice things, I see art on walls I never noticed before.  I smile at people more.   

You can call this improvement in mental health if you’d like, but for someone like myself that could not properly discipline themselves around their Smartphone, I like to call it participating with life more – and that is a great feeling.  Also, I am way more productive. So much so, since getting rid of the smartphone I have not only started my own business, but also I learned guitar.  Not just campfire songs, I’m talking fingerstyle guitar. 

Ditching your Smartphone is not for everybody.  In fact, it is probably not even for a quarter of most people.  But if you have not been able to discipline yourself, there is no point in shaming yourself.  I truly believe the people designing them know what they are doing – it is addictive.  I just had to go cold turkey, and I am not going back. Give it a shot, it may or may not improve your mental health, but I can guess it will force you to participate with life more, and that is a good thing.

– Colt Gordon