A little over a month ago I left yet another perfectly good, brand new mobile phone on the back seat of a taxi. (Unfortunately for me it was a taxi and not an Uber, where I would certainly have had it returned to me, but that’s a post for another day).
Normally when this happens I would drop into a mobile phone store the next day and grab the latest, greatest, gadget-iest phone and carry on with my day. Only this time I didn’t do that. This time I thought “I really don’t actually like having a phone and being one of those knobs who puts their phone on the table while eating with others, or walking around outdoors obnoxiously staring at their screen”. This time I resisted the very faint urge to get a new gadget and simply went off to work without a phone.
It started off like one of my many tech experiments, with no real expectations, time frames or intended outcomes, I just wanted to see if I really did ‘need‘ a phone or if I owned one because it was unimaginable not to have one.
As days have turned into weeks and weeks into a month, I am here to tell you that I am a new person – and the new me most definitely does not need a mobile phone in my life. Here are some of the things I have observed:
- All of a sudden I have loads of extra time on my hands.
- I feel more relaxed when I wake up and I am sleeping like a baby at night (a nice, sleepy, newborn baby, not like my babies who are up and down all night).
- I don’t feel anxious sitting on the ferry on the way to work, mentally processing the 50 emails I just read.
- I have started reading books again – actual paper books!
- I am thinking more creatively and my product and business ideas are flowing freely again. In fact, I can barely keep up with all the new ideas I am having.
- I don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s amazing how many trivial items come to me in a day that I really don’t need to be thinking about. Without a phone I am finding those things are evaporating and I am not thinking about unimportant things all the time.
- My daughters have noticed that I am more available and they love it. All of a sudden they have Dad’s undivided attention when I am at home.
- I don’t read or think about social media at all.
- People seem genuinely distressed for me when I explain to them that I do not have a phone.
- There has not been one single moment where I have felt like I needed a phone.
“So how does a CEO, husband and father of two get by without a phone” I hear you ask? Here are a couple of minor adjustments I have made:
- I now plan ahead more and communicate my movements in advance. I would never have done that previously but now, for example, in the morning I let my wife know what my plans are for the day and what time I will be home.
- I read and action my emails for 10 minutes at my computer at home in the morning before I leave for work. This is faster and more effective than doing it on the phone and I find myself being more organised for the day as a result.
- I repeat this process one last time each night after the kids’ dinner and bedtime routines and just before I go to bed. 10 minutes is all I need to tie up any loose ends.
- I bought myself a Surface Pro 4 so that when I am out of the office with work I can be as productive as possible. This is not entirely related to not having a phone, but the Surface is the perfect portable work device that would get me out of a sticky situation if I found myself in one (I can’t imagine said situation but hey, I have a plan should it arise).
From where I sit today, I really cannot see myself getting another mobile phone. I will keep buying any cool productivity gadgets that catch my eye of course, but I think my smart phone days are behind me. I will let you know if that changes, and if so, what device was so compelling that I was willing to give up my new-found freedom for it.