30 Days Without a Smartphone

Yesterday marked 30 days since I gave up my iPhone. I knew that I was attached to the phone but have been surprised at how attached I was to it. My positive and negative experiences are as follows:


  • Pain relief. My hands and shoulders don’t constantly hurt and my neck is much less painful than before.
  • I am not constantly on a game, looking up a meme, checking email, or otherwise distracted.
  • I am more present when I am somewhere. I focus more on the people and things around me.
  • I have accomplished more of worth in the past thirty days than in the six months prior to that.
  • I discovered the value of a dedicated GPS. It is much less distracting than using the iPhone for the same purpose.
  • My phone lasts for days without being recharged.
  • Using a paper planner keeps me from having an endless to-do list.
  • I discovered that not every moment needs to be photographed.
  • Checking off a paper to-do is more satisfying than checking off one on Todoist. With Todoist it just disappears and Todoist’s options for viewing the completed tasks on a project aren’t as good as I would like to see.
  • I get tired of forwarding unimportant tasks so they eventually get dropped.
  • Nobody can hack my paper planner unless they physically get possession of it. Once something is stored on the net it is there basically forever.
  • My current phone was about $44 but a new iPhone can run $700. I left the dumb phone visible in the car yesterday by mistake and was not the least bit concerned about anyone stealing it. With the iPhone, I would have gone out of the store and retrieved it.
  • I feel freer than I did before. Like I have stepped off of the treadmill and am refusing to play the phone and tech companies games.



  • People don’t pay $700 plus monthly fees just because smartphones look cool. They are powerful tools that are not going away anytime soon.
  • Finding information about things and places is more difficult. The GPS has far less information and places in it than Google Maps does.
  • Paper is limited. My Todoist task list is infinitely flexible. Everything can be captured including every step of a project.
  • I have hundreds of passwords and contacts stored electronically and have had many instances where needed information was not there when I needed it.
  • Siri will read books and web pages to me while I do something else but my Kindle will not do that. The true value of Kindle to me is that Siri will read me the book. It is the only way I got through Dune and Moby Dick a few months ago.
  • The Kindle reader on the iPhone is better in many ways than the actual Kindle.
  • My paper day planner does not do Evernote so much information is missing.
  • Communication has been more difficult as I can’t get attachments or some text messages.
  • I can’t look up where an item is on the store app when I am in a big box store or read reviews on the product while I am looking at it in the store.
  • Living without a smartphone takes more advanced planning as the information is not always available in the moment.
  • Things stored in the cloud don’t usually get misplaced or left in a shopping cart at the store.


So where to go from here? I wanted to go at least thirty days and I’ve now done that. However, research indicates that breaking an addiction longer takes longer than thirty days. How long exactly is subject to debate. I have also found workarounds for many of the problems encountered so far and expect more workarounds to be implemented that will make it easier to continue without a smartphone.

I have been unemployed for the past seven months and have been at home. On Monday I start a new job. The communication challenge of being away from my wife and from my desktop computer will be greater without an iPhone. An iPhone can also allow me to listen to books and podcasts during the commute. Going back to the iPhone is tempting.

An iPad may offer the benefits of the phone without some of the negatives but due to cost, that possibility is on hold for now. For today at least I am resisting the call of the “ring” and continuing without the smartphone. So far, the positives of doing without the smartphone outweigh the negatives.


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