60 days ago, I lost my phone in Buenos Aires. It’s rather complicated and expensive to replace it, given the tax laws here in the South. So I did what I should have done many years ago, I went completely phoneless.
That’s right, foreign country, continent, and no phone. I’d be lying if I said if it wasn’t difficult. In fact, it was a pain in many ways. But I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way, that helped my life turn for the better.
Let me share them with you.
1. Not having a phone sucks
Let’s get this out of the way now.
The advancement of smartphone technology has created tremendous opportunities and convenience in our lives. From being able to connect with people on demand to searching up anything we want, when we want.
Not having a phone has its downfalls without a doubt.
It makes you feel out of place, and even lonely sometimes. And yes, it can suck.
2. Not having a phone is awesome
The first 7 days after I lost my phone, it hardly occured to me that I was missing something in my daily life.
Will this initial attachment take longer for other people?
If you have more selfies in your photo gallery than photos of other things in life, then probably.
3. Your social skills improve
Avoiding awkward silence by looking at your phone? Forget about it.
When you don’t have a phone to rely on, you’re forced to converse through those awkward silences we so often face in life. Although hard at first, having natural transitioning conversations become the norm, and you wonder what the hell was wrong with your mind in the first place.
4. You get shit done
My ultimate favorite reason for being phoneless. Without the vibrating distraction every 5-minutes of someone sending you a Whatsapp to say what’s up, or the new beloved Snapchat #selfie, it’s never been easier to focus on what matters in that moment.
Now that I have my phone back, I put my phone on Airplane mode at least a few hours while I get in the zone.
Highly recommend this.
5. You’re not missing anything
If you were like me, then you’d check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and your email every hour or even thirty minutes. It’s a legitimate addiction that has become a society norm, where we think something life-changing has happened in the last thirty minutes since we checked Facebook.
I would often be with a group of people, who would all be checking their phones at one point.
The initial thought we all have is that we must be missing out on something that they’re doing.
The truth is, we’re not missing out on anything because there’s nothing that could possibly be more important that’s happening on our Facebook newsfeeds.
6. We don’t need Alarm Clocks in our lives
We’re so dependent using alarm clocks to wake us up that without it, we think it’ll be impossible. Think again.
Sleep scientists at Germany’s University of Lubeck asked 15 volunteers to sleep in their lab for three nights.
One night, the group was told they’d be woken at 6 a.m., while on other nights the group was told they’d be woken at 9 a.m..
But the researchers lied — they woke the volunteers at 6 a.m anyway.
The days when sleepers were told they’d wake up early, their stress hormones increased at 4:30 a.m., as if they were anticipating an early morning. When the sleepers were told they’d wake up at 9 a.m., their stress hormones didn’t increase — and they woke up groggier. Our bodies, in other words, note the time we hope to begin our day and gradually prepare us for consciousness
As long as we can keep a consistent routine of sleeping and waking up, we won’t need alarm clocks to wake us up, and it’s better for our health and minds. If you’re depending on alarm clocks, you’re most likely not getting enough sleep.
7. Live in the moment
“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” ― Walt Whitman
The best and most exciting moments in our lives are spent through looking into a phone.
When the real, live, HD version is right infront of us, we’re too busy taking photos or videos, of which we’ll use less than 5% of.
There’s nothing wrong with capturing the memory in the moment, but when your initial reaction is to observe it through a screen vs. using your own eyes, there’s a problem.
8. Who matters in your life
It’s very difficult to keep in constant contact with your friends and family without a phone. But it shouldn’t be THAT difficult.
This makes it easy to know who’s important to you in your life, and also who are the people that value your relationship enough to get in contact with you, despite your phoneless situation.
9. Nothing can replace physical books
I’ve tried Kindle, Audiobooks, and even PDF’s through my phone, thinking it will be more effective. This might be me personally, but I’ve been able to retain much more information through physical books than any other method.
There’s something about completing a physical book that gives you more fulfillment than finishing it on a screen.
10. The smallest things can bring you joy
Spend less time looking down on your phone, and more time on enjoying what’s around you.
The smallest moments can put a smile on your face, and you become more observant of your surroundings.
11. Social media celebrities are the future
This is for the marketing #growers. As the attention goes towards our phones and swiping up and down on social media, it’s becoming clear that the future of celebrities will be those with a strong presence on social media.
In other words, social media has leveled the playing field between hollywood celebrities and “online” celebrities have equalized, and many teenagers are starting to prefer the social media celebrities over the big name Hollywood stars.
12. You gain clarity in your life
It’s revitalizing to be able to think clearly without any distractions when you start your day. Gaining clarity allows you to take a step back and see the bigger picture of what you’re doing in your daily tasks and how it’s contributing to your goals in life.
Every morning, rather than checking my phone, I spend 10 minutes meditating in my bed or doing a 10-minute stretch before I wake up. My stress levels have decreased dramatically and feel in more control over my mornings.
13. Your mind opens up to try new things
14. We all have ADD
How many times have you had a phone in one hand, your eyes on your computer, and your ears focused on a movie you were watching? It’s a shame human beings weren’t born with 4 hands, imagine how PRODUCTIVE we’ll be!
Being phoneless have allowed me to focus on one thing, and one thing only. Our brain is conditioned to give our full undivided attention to one or two things at once. If not, everything suffers quality and focus.
15. Being spontaneous is easy
There’s a feeling of freedom and spontaneity that comes with being phoneless. You’re no longer living on other people’s agenda, but you’re focused in the moment and that leads to more spontaneity.
When you’re not getting pinged by your friends to ask what you’re doing, or receiving emails from your clients/co-workers, you find the willingness to check out that park you’ve always wanted to see or surprise visit one of your friends (I mean, who does that anymore?)
16. You can build real, genuine connections quicker
No one likes going on a date or being in a group where the other person is checking their phones. But it happens, almost every single time. Especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time, it can create a huge barrier in building a genuine connection. Whether you’re phoneless or not, this is something everyone needs to do.
17. Life goes on…
It’s okay that you haven’t checked Facebook for the past 6 hours. It’s okay that you haven’t responded to everyone in your Inbox yet. It’s okay that you’re living your day on your own agenda, not someone else’s. We were fine without any of these technologies sucking away our time before, and we’ll be fine without them now.
Make it a priority to have time for yourself every single day, because whether you make time or not — life goes on.
This is the biggest lesson I’ve learned.