Living With A Dumb Smartphone

Since embarking on a quest to dumb-ify my iPhone approximately two months ago (ie. no games or social media, turning off mail notifications), I realize three positive things happening in my life.

Firstly (and most amazingly), I no longer feel attached to my phone. In the past, my iPhone was perpetually glued to my palms to the extent that I never misplace or forget to bring it anywhere because there was simply no chance to do so. Now, I feel fine going about my day without my phone, and sometimes even choose to leave it behind just because. It is exhilaratingly liberating to not feel like my lifeline is my phone and that I would die without it. And I no longer have panic attacks when the battery goes below 10% in the middle of the day!

Secondly, I am present more than I was before. In the beginning of the quest, I would find myself subconsciously reaching out to my phone in the middle of reading a book or having a conversation, just to check my social media. Also, when I was out waiting for someone, I would automatically fish out my phone to waste some time playing games.

After  two weeks of doing this subconsciously and finally having my body adapt to the fact that my phone has nothing, my hands gradually stopped reaching out to grab my phone, and my mind concentrates on the present. I have distraction-free conversations, more focused book-reading experiences, and generally a better time with whatever I am doing and whoever I am with right now.

Thirdly, my need for social assurances decreased. What I mean by social assurances is the tendency to check how many ‘likes’, ‘shares’, ‘retweets’ etc on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or other sites) I have. Some people don’t have this problem, but I do, and I know many friends who have shared that they too have it.

We humans tend to like feeling included or praised, and for me, it was to the extent that every time I posted something new, I would check my phone every few minutes to see how many likes it has garnered. If it had a lot of likes, I feel special. And if only one person likes it, I question my capabilities. A friend I know even goes as far as deleting any updates of hers that has less than 20 likes (she usually has an upwards of 50). By cutting off the source feeding my nafs, I find myself relying on it lesser, and I find my intention of doing something for Allah more solid than before.

On the whole, I find the whole experience positive, and I seriously have no complaints whatsoever about making my smartphone dumb. In fact, I find that by deleting all the unnecessary applications and notifications, and installing only those which are useful, my smartphone is finally making me smart.

Why don’t you give it a try? ;)

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