Since high school, I’ve hated cell phones. I was the type of kid who had one of those bulky Nokia phones and I would leave it in my car just for emergencies.
Then I got a high school girlfriend, and she would always bug me about not using a cell phone, not answering texts, and not being available. We would see each other during school, and hangout sometimes after, which I thought was enough.
So I started carrying my cell phone with me. For one, those old Nokia phones were bulky. So I stuffed it in my bag and carried it. Then I started to do text messaging. Before you know it was I checking it every 5 mins just like everyone else.
Things I’ve done over the years to avoid cell phone usage:
- Getting people to send me an email.
- Calling instead of texting.
- Not installing Facebook apps.
- Not keeping my cell phone in my pocket.
- Downgrading to a flip phone.
Things that sucked me right back in to checking my phone:
- Getting a girlfriend / dating.
- Having social media.
- Getting lost and needing access to a map.
- Emergencies – plane delays, canceled plans, etc.
- Checking the news.
Ask yourself one question: What is the longest you’ve ever gone without checking your phone this year? I’m willing to bet 99% of all people won’t be answer they went more than a day.
1 – Use Your Smartphone As A Barometer of Productivity
I use my phone as a barometer. If I find myself checking my phone too much, I know I’m not busy enough. I know I’m slippin’ and getting lazy.
I know I’m being more of a consumer than a creator. That’s what I gauge cell phone usage on. Instead of doing away with cell phones I think this is a better way to make it work for you.
None of this applies if you need your phone for your business. If you’re a salesman making cold calls, then you of course need to be on your phone checking with people.
If you’re a guy constantly checking your phone wondering, “Why didn’t she text me back?” Then use my tip I mentioned above to self-diagnose yourself for oneitis.
Also if you’re checking your phone too much, you’re playing her game. The last tip is the solution for you bro.
2 – Turn Off All The Dings And Whistles
Anytime your phone makes a ding or a whistle, you’re programming your brain to be even more addicted to checking your phone.
You become a slave to the phone. Like a good boy or girl, when you hear a ding, you come running to see what everybody isn’t doing with their life.
3 – Tell People Upfront You’re Hard to Get a Hold Of
Some do this by not returning a call or text. It’s better to just tell people you’re hard to get a hold of.
I’m currently experimenting with just telling people, “I only check my phone once or twice a day, so if I don’t respond then don’t take it the wrong way.”
4 – Delete Social Media, or CUT it Drastically
My life is 100% better since drastically cutting down on that type of media.
The point is NOT to be a slave to it.
If it’s a problem DELETE IT.
5 – Downgrade To A Flip Phone
When I lived in Japan, smartphones were too expensive. So I just got a cheap flip phone instead. It turns out Japanese people don’t really use SMS texting and I was one of the few that was using it.
This worked fine. If I got lost, then I got lost.
In hindsight, this improved my Japanese. Instead of relying on a map app, I had to improvise and think on my feet.
If you are ever lost in Japan, avoid asking taxi drivers for directions.
6 – Don’t Carry Your Phone In Your Pocket
Back in the day, I kept my phone in my car for emergencies only.
Now I try to keep it out of my pockets whenever possible. I turn off all the sounds / vibrations, and keep it in my gym bag or a nearby table.
I feel lighter both mentally and physically.
Cell phones are also bad for your health. Keep them away from your body.
7 – Be So Busy You Don’t Care
There’s times where I was so productive and focused, I didn’t know what day it was. Sometimes I didn’t eat and would lose track of time.
I don’t mean being productive and focused on 9-5 work, but on some project outside of work. Building this blog is an example. In order to build it, it needs words. Persuasive words. Words that flow. Words that move the needle.
Checking the phone is the last thing I do when I’m laser-focused. And this is my #1 tip.
Work on building something of value. Something that makes the gears turn in your head. Be a creator not a consumer. People glued to their phones are consumers. “What’s so and so doing?” — is the running dialogue they have.
No matter how bad a day I’m having, working on something puts my mind at ease. Before I started writing this section of the article, something was bothering me. Now it feels like a distant memory.
Some Benefits Of Not Checking Your Phone
- More present, mindful, and in the moment.
- You’re less likely to die.
- You learn more.
Not checking your phone is good for your mind. Being a slave to the dings and whistles is not how people should live. Make the phone work for you, not the other way around.