A seemingly endless stream of interruptions from my smartphone and computer; e-mail, various social networks etc. keep making my attention span shorter. To counter this I recently bought a feature phone (dumb phone) to use when I feel like it.
I bought a feature phone made in Lithuania when I was there on vacation, it seemed like it was Russian because of the keyboard that had both Cyrillic and Latin letters. What has become apparent to me as time has gone by is that the notifications, the plings and plongs that constantly surround us would have been called interruptions just a few years ago.
They are not anymore however... That is not to say that our smart-devices only do us harm and that they should be shunned from our lives, but simply that it's wise to consider their effect on us ad moderate our use accordingly.
Bad things about smart-devices
- Possible worsened sleep
- Absence in general and disconnection from your immediate surroundings.
- You let the big companies directly into the habit centre of your brain.
- Less interruption free time
Great things about smart-devices
- The possibility to respond to requests at any time from anywhere
- Freedom to move about and not be tied to a computer
- Sharing moments, images, and things as they happen
- Unprecedented level of new friends you can easily find.
Making the switch
As mentioned I figured I'd just buy a good old feature phone to fix parts of the problem. Now to be honest, there are certain situations that more or less require a smart phone: travelling, navigating a new city, social media sharing. The trick is you see, that sometimes these things are important and other times they are not. So to get the best of both worlds I decided to keep both phones and to switch between them depending on what I do. Going a away? Bring the iPhone, digital check in makes it all a breeze. Going to the café to talk with an old pal? Bring the feature phone and enjoy the luxury of focus and presence.
It is however important to mention that smartphones aren't really inherently bad, they are bad because of how we use them; our habits (one might argue that aspects with the smartphones/apps make them particularly addictive: The Like Button). What the feature phone does then, is to stop you from even having to make the choice, you don't have to think about checking your email,Facebook,Snapchat,Instagram etc. because you simply can't.
This has worked out for me so far and probably will for some time. I keep switching depending on what I do, sometimes I bring both; the iPhone works well with WiFi only. I really like being able focus when I need to and not to other times.
I've come to hate constant interruptions from my smartphone, the solution? Use a dumb phone when I feel overloaded, and just want to spend some time doing something; be with friends, hang out with little brother, you know... life, etc. The interruption free life... for a little while.