Life Without a Smartphone Days 16 – 20

The major events in these days were that my son and I packed for and went on a campout with our Boy Scout Troop, I prepared for and gave a 12-minute talk in sacrament meeting (The main worship service in a typical LDS Sunday meeting), and we had a family gathering for Easter Sunday.

The LDS church has lay clergy and no paid ministers so as a member you are occasionally asked to speak in sacrament meeting.


View fro atop the dune at Bruneau
The view from one of the large dunes at Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park in Idaho


The good and not so good of not having a smartphone were as follows:


  • My hands continue to improve though my right hand still hurts most likely because of using my trackball computer mouse.
  • I can only write so much on paper so the todo list does not become unlimited.
  • The paper map I printed of the park where we went was faster and easier to read than the version I would have been looking at on the phone.
  • The phone battery lasted the whole camping trip with no need for recharging the battery. I even left the big spare battery home that has been a part of the luggage for a long time.
  • The GPS worked just fine but there was no cellular service where we were.
  • I had a trusty Rand McNalley atlas with no need for batteries in case the GPS died. This is not really an advantage as I carry one anyway.
  • My packing list is a sheet on Google Drive. I printed the sheet and put it in my planner which was easier than trying to use Google Sheets on the phone.
  • Without the ability to look up things once there I had to look up more in advance.
  • I had to use the computer to look up things that would have been looked up on the phone and the computer is much more ergonomic than the iPhone.
  • My neck pain is lessening.
  • The 20-day experiment provided some of the subject matter for my Sacrament talk. We can miss spiritual impressions due to digital distractions.

Not so good:

  • Most of my phone numbers were in the planner when I needed some of them. However, this was a moot point as there was no cell service in the rural location anyway.
  • The Xpression 2’s camera is not nearly as good as my iPhone SE’s camera and does not link to Apple Photos.
  • Several people texted me media content that I could not read.
  • Since all of my contacts are in Apple Contacts I usually don’t know who is calling or texting me and I have no desire to enter all of the names into the phone’s address book.
  • Google Maps is more detailed than the maps on the GPS but again without cellular service that didn’t matter on this trip.


Despite a few minor annoyances, I was better off without the iPhone. It is a strange paradox that I am more productive without one of the greatest productivity tools ever to be invented.

Perhaps it is as Hans Hoffman said, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”


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