Life without smartphone

It has been more than one year that I have not used my smartphone.

I was a smartphone addict for more than three years of my life. One day, my phone broke down. After initial shock was over, I realised that I don’t need it anymore and didn’t repair it. This realisation was not sudden. My phone had impaired my life, relationships, communication, and productivity. It took an accident to initiate a change I was not willing on my own.  It was difficult to drop something I have associated with my identity. The association was so strong that I had made my phone part of the way I do various things.It dictated my life from the moment I would wake up to its alarm. I had to struggle to put it off before sleeping. Sometimes, I used it even during sleep to record my sleep quality. It told me how much I walked every day. Often, I used it as a portable scanner. Once, I dropped it from a height of about one meter and used its sensors to record the free fall (there is an app for that!). This allowed me to measure the acceleration due to gravity, an experiment I had not done in my school. The list is endless.

Now, I am using Nokia 130 that cost me Rs. 1500 last year. (I wonder that you can own a smartphone with this cost in few years. The rates of smartphones are going down as the market is growing. Yet, nobody cares about simple feature phones. They still cost too much.) I use my simple and reliable phone to make and attend calls and to send text messages. Also, I receive messages from my banks and other service providers on it. Occasionally, I use it as an alarm clock. Often, I use it as a clock as I do not wear a wrist watch and as I prefer not to have clocks on the walls. It excels at these tasks. It’s battery often lasts for a week. What a peaceful life! I don’t wish for more.

Yes, I do not miss my smartphone. I realized that I did not really need the 7 times 24 hour connectivity it was providing me. It was not an empowerment but a hindrance to productivity. However, it gave an illusion of empowerment. Though, it was like an office on fingertips, yet I could not do any real work as it was too small and naive for that. Or my real work is much more complex than a smartphone can handle. In other words, I finally discovered that my smartphone is too dumb for me.

I only miss my smartphone once or twice every month when I have to make some utility bill payments or book an urgent train ticket when I do not have internet connectivity. Yet , I discovered that it is good not to have everything you need. In exceptional situations, I can borrow a smartphone from someone around me to do this. In return, I give the person undivided attention: something I didn’t give during the days of my smartphone addiction.