Hello, my name is Matt and I was once addicted to my smartphone. In 2007, I was one of the first people to get an iPhone. I was blown away by the technology. And I was hooked. By the spring of 2009, I got rid of it and never looked back.

6 benefits of getting rid of your smartphone

This is part of a year-end countdown of my top 5 posts of 2014. This was my 3rd most popular post of the year and one of my favorites. I hope that you find value in it if you are new or just needed a reminder. Don’t worry…not all of my content for the rest of the year is “Best of.” Stay tuned for some other great posts and offers.

Here’s why I got rid of my smartphone and why there’s a better than decent chance that you should too.

Bonus Content: If you’re ready to break your smartphone addiction once and for all, my free guide, The 12 Steps to Breaking Your Smartphone Addiction can help. Look for it at the end of this post or Click Here to Get it Now!

Toilet tweeting

At the risk of offending every single female that reads this and make every single man giggle at the idea, my iPhone addiction hit a critical mass when my wife discovered that I was a Toilet Tweeter.

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out what that is. It’s someone who feels the need to tweet from the bathroom. Tara and I were taking a wonderful tour of the Tennessee Aquarium. I took some wonderful pictures. All of which ended up on Twitter every hour or so.

She realized I had a problem before I did, but the problem was much deeper than my toilet tweeting. I’ll discuss those as I share with you the 6 benefits of getting rid of your smartphone.

6 benefits of getting rid of your smartphone

1. You’re not tied to something so “invaluable”

Quick: Where is your smartphone right now? Of course you know where it is. Your life practically depends on it. Now…where are your kids? The sad reality is that I’d bet more people know for sure at any given time where their phone is than know where their kids or spouse are.

Personally, I’d rather have the freedom of forgetting something so utterly unimportant and it not being the end of the world.

2. The joy of unavailability

If you email me when I am traveling and I can’t get on wifi, you aren’t going to hear from me for a while.

If I am playing golf on a Tuesday afternoon, that means 4-5 hours without email or social media. If I am at home with my family, nothing short of a phone call (which I will ignore anyway unless you call me two times in a row) will catch my attention. No dings, beeps, or other noises. No temptation to check it. Nothing. Just me and whatever I am doing at the time.

And guess what? If the world really did come to an end, someone will call me. My regular phone works just fine for that.

3. You save money

This can’t be ignored as a viable reason. When I first tossed my iPhone, the $480 a year we saved was a big deal. Now, it’s a drop in the bucket, but still worth noting. If you invest the $40 a month you spend on data for 40 years, it will be worth $412,388.24. I sure hope you enjoy that data plan!

4. You will be more productive

Wait a minute. Aren’t smartphones supposed to make us more productive? Sure, and prepackaged foods make you healthier.

Contrary to popular belief, being “always on” doesn’t make you more productive. It makes you dumber. It makes you less creative. Constantly checking email, reading the news, refreshing your blog stats, or doing whatever you do on your phone for hours each day does not make you more productive. Down time does.

I check email 2-4 times per day. that’s it. (More tips on handling email better) I check social media at predefined times, not when I am bored. I do everything at a scheduled time, not just because I am waiting to get my haircut. I use my downtime as just that: downtime. Time to refresh. Time to learn. Time to think. So when I am working, I am much more productive.

5. More social interaction

Not “social” as in social media. Real social interaction. With people in the grocery store. Or waiting in line at the post office. Real people. With real stories.

I used to spend my life with my head down, thumbs fluttering on my phone. But not now. I don’t have the choice. What am I going to do? Re-read that text message from earlier today from my mom? Update the ringtone on Tara’s text messages? Change the default font or perhaps the background image? So I interact with people. And I am better for it.

6. Less news = more positive

I used to read Google News for at least 30 minutes a day. I knew everything going on in the world. If I didn’t have emails or tweets, I was reading the news. In lines, at home, and yes…in the bathroom.

All that news was making me depressed, angry, and more negative. That’s what the news does to us. Without ready access, I’d have to spend valuable work time reading the news. That’s not going to happen. So I literally know nothing of it. And I am happier and more productive as a result. I got rid of my smartphone not by choice, but essentially by demand from my wife. And it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Next addiction…iPad Mini. At least I don’t have that in my pocket all day. Thanks to Tara, I know of these 6 benefits to getting rid of my smartphone…and now, so do you.

Have you experienced any of the symptoms of smartphone addiction? What would your life be like without one?

12 steps to breaking smartphone addiction

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0 thoughts on “6 Benefits of Getting Rid of Your Smartphone

  1. Jim Woods says:

    I’ve struggled with this one A LOT Matt. Appreciate your honesty and sharing of your story. One thing that may be easy to overlook for you is how your website/emails look on mobile. Just something to file away 😉 Have a good one!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Hey Jim, check out mobiletest.me. You can see it in every conceivable browser on multiple devices. I use all the time…without having a smartphone 🙂

      1. Jim Woods says:

        genius! Love it!!!

  2. My iPhone spends a lot of time in Airplane mode. Not because I’m on an airplane but because I have other things to focus on. Unlike many I don’t have an issue putting my phone away. It stays in my pocket when I’m talking to someone, it’s on silent if it is not in airplane mode and I batch my emails. I have to manually push them. Can it be a distraction? Sure, if I let it but for me it’s a productivity tool. I can fly through emails in a lot less time than if I’m on a computer. Same thing with social media. And since I’m an iPhone photographer as well it’s my tool.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Brilliant. This post wasn’t for you then haha 🙂

      My wife has an iPhone…no problem for her. If I had one…oh, boy, been there, done that.

  3. Skip Prichard says:

    I can’t possibly be without my iPhone, but I do try to do what Camilla recommends and use Airplane mode. That helps. For me the productivity is significant and I don’t waste time on it. But turning it off and getting time to reflect is important! Thanks for the great post.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That is good Skip. People often ask me, but what about ____?

      Ultimately, if it’s not a problem for you, then it’s not a problem to solve. Kind of like having a glass of wine. If you have no problem stopping at a glass, go right ahead. But if you’ve ever had a DUI, you should probably avoid it altogether. 🙂

  4. Dominic Labriola says:

    This is fantastic. I like having the capability – but I will say I recently deleted applications like facebook which were a huge time suck for me. I’m trying to limit my time on the device. There’s a real peace in inviting some stillness into my life and disconnecting a bit.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That works, too. My strategy is more “scorched earth.” I’d guess about 30% of people are disciplined enough to not fall prey to the addiction. I’m not in that 30% 🙂

  5. Jon Stolpe says:

    I remember this from before. It’s a good reminder. I probably need you to post this once a month. Can you do that for me? Thanks!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Set a reminder to read it every month 🙂

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        Good idea. I’ll set a reminder on my smart phone to read your post once a month. I’ll need my smart phone though in order for this reminder to work. Hmmm… Back to the drawing board. 🙂

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