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.
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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?