Cell phones, especially smartphones, have become a modern convenience that most wouldn’t consider living giving up. Plenty of people would tell you it’s impossible and spout of a handful of reasons why they need their smartphone.
Having a smartphone would even be considered a lifeline by some. Judging by the lifeline cell phone program that’s become known as the Obama Phone, it seems that the general public agrees. Even those folks who can’t afford to pay for a traditional phone service plan have the opportunity to have a smartphone for personal use.
If you’re of the mindset that you absolutely must have a cell phone, then not owning one might sound ludicrous. Many people use their phones to keep in touch with family and friends, check email, and respond to work calls. At this point, many folks use their phone to store data, all of their family photos, track their loved ones’ whereabouts, and get help in case of an emergency.
Phones and Consumerism
Because of the consensus that cellphones are essential and necessary, there’s become a significant market competition for them, which means that for most people, there’s a plan and a service that will cater to your needs. But what if you don’t need a cell phone? Whether you’re testing the theory of going without a cell phone as a social experiment, trying to cut back on your expenses, or embracing minimalism, it’s not impossible.
Cell phones and smartphones only appear to be necessary, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t. With the rise of consumerism, some folks are choosing to take a step back and reconsider what’s most important to them.
The fact is that people were getting around their lives just fine before the invention of cell phones and smartphones. Of course, the world we live in and the environments we must navigate have had some significant shifts and changes that some would say mobile phones are necessary.
However, with a little bit of thought and planning, you could survive and even thrive without a cell phone. We’ll help you figure out how just keep on reading!
Consider The Negative Aspects of Having A Cell Phone
Rather than thinking about how discarding your mobile phone will limit you and make you feel deprived, start by considering all the downsides of owning a phone. Here, we’ll discuss all the cons of owning a cell phone to help paint a picture, not holding one in a brighter light.
The longer mobile phones have been around; the more people are using them every minute of every day. People text while they drive, follow navigating on their phone, look things up on the internet or scroll their newsfeed while driving, use their phones while walking, and more.
While you’re using your phone, you’re distracted. Your response time slows, and you become less aware of your environment. When it comes to texting and driving, the National Safety Council reports that up to 1.6 million crashes per year are the result of distracted driving.
That’s from mobile phone use and driving alone, the reduced risk of being involved in an accident alone should be enough for most of us to leave our phones at home or out of reach while driving.
Owning a smartphone or other mobile device comes with a high price tag. When phones first came out, they were expensive and bulky. Over time they flooded the market, becoming smaller and smaller and cheaper.
They became mostly attainable to the masses. Now, with technology advancing and the market growing competitive, cell phone prices have skyrocketed again. Purchasing your phone isn’t where the expense ends, though.
You also pay a premium for each service you use. Storage space on the cloud comes at a cost, insurance to protect your costly phone, is an additional cost, data is other, unlimited messaging fees more. And don’t forget, if you break or damage the screen on your phone, you might be stuck paying for the repair since it’s often not covered on phone insurance.
Contributing to E-waste
How many phones have you owned since the introduction of mobile phones? How many tempered glass screen protectors have you owned? And how many phone cases, outlet plugs, charging chords, and auto charging ports have you had?
I’m willing to bet you’ve purchased several of the cheap variety that didn’t last and had to replace them often. Each of us contributes to electronic waste day after day with each no phone, case, charging cord, or other accessories we purchase, lose, or break.
By not owning a phone, you cut back on your e-waste output.
Too Much Convenience
Let’s face it; our smartphones give us too much convenience. Some of us couldn’t get from one side of town to the other without following GPS. Which, if you’ve lived in your city for a reasonable amount of time, is kind of sad.
Rather than developing a good sense of direction which could serve you well throughout life, we’re passing up the chance for convenience. That doesn’t just go for using GPS; it goes for many other amenities that our phones allow us.
Too Much Access
Our mobile devices give us a peek inside many worlds we wouldn’t otherwise look at, know about, or use if we didn’t have the convenience of doing so. At this point, one of the worst things that mobile devices are giving us too much access to is the exploitation of sex.
As adults, we can be responsible for our actions here, but when it comes to kids and teenagers, we’re not always around to monitor. Kids are getting their own mobile devices at younger and younger ages now. And they’re also getting too much access to the internet and which could be exposing them to sexual exploitation from young ages.
How many times have you planned to get an entire list of things done in a day or weekend, and rather than completing the list, you were distracted. There’s no excuse for why you didn’t finish the things you wanted to, other than you used your phone too much.
I’ll admit this is one of my weaknesses. I enjoy reading, and I’ll get my mobile device out and read just about anything to distract me from what I should be doing. I know that if I were to complete the list of things I wanted, I would feel better in the coming week.
I would feel less anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed with what needs to happen this week, if I would have just completed last week’s tasks a previous week. But, when I’m procrastinating, the first thing I turn to is my mobile phone for some reading material and a heavy dose of distraction.
Aside from procrastination, people can become injured while using their phones. Distracted driving was mentioned above, but there are documented accidents where pedestrians get hit by cars walking across the street because they’re looking down at their phones.
Rather than being distracted by your phone all day, without one, you can focus more on being present.
Let’s face it, as a society; we are addicted to our phones, the internet, and all of the convenience that comes with it. If you don’t believe me, try out an app like Stay Focused. This app allows you to play with multiple settings that will limit the use of your phone or individual apps. You can restrict to certain times of the day, specific periods, or otherwise.
One feature is the screen unlock count. I’d be embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve opened my phone today. I’m working, and 90% of those unlocks weren’t to answer anything important. The rest were just to use the internet, read something, or flip flop through the same few apps.
How many times have you sat down and told yourself you were going to complete one task before touching your phone again but found yourself once again using your phone a few minutes later? Probably too many. Although ‘addiction’ is a strong word, it’s accurate in many cases.
Without your phone, you might have an adjustment period. But soon enough, you’ll realize you’re just fine without it. Some would say they see many improvements after some time without a cell phone.
It’s not that cellphones aren’t useful to people, they are. They are made to help modern men have some modern convenience, and they’ve excelled at that. But, it’s almost as if we’ve given them too much power over our lives, and taking a step away wouldn’t be so bad. Do you think you can survive?
We believe you can; let’s help you figure out how now.
How To Survive Without A Cell Phone
At best, cell phones are a helpful modern device that allows us to do many things very quickly without much thought. At worst, they’re distracting, dangerous mechanisms that contribute to our addiction to distraction, making us withdrawn and scatterbrained, unable to present in our lives.
If you’re going to live without a cell phone, you might as well start working on breaking your attachment to it. Here are all the creative ways we can think of to help you learn how to live without your mobile device.
Figure Out Directions Ahead of Time
If we’re honest, my biggest concern for going without a phone is GPS. I get lost going to work sometimes. You know that place I go to five out of seven days of the week? That’s the one! My directional skills are nonexistent.
My mind doesn’t seem to picture how roads connect certain parts of town or make the connection with using the idea of east, west, north, and south. Realistically, I know that it’s not impossible. I could learn to drive all over town without a GPS, likely. But it would be uncomfortable and inconvenient for a while.
However, if we’re going to survive without a phone, the first thing we’re going to need to address is how to get directions to places you need to go. The simple solution is that you do it the old school way, by looking them up before you leave the house.
Memorize them, write them down, or print them out. In the event you get lost and can’t find your way, you can run inside a gas station and ask. If you want to be better safe than sorry, keep a map of your city in your car.
Other alternatives would be to get one of those old GPS navigators that hook up in your car. Just because you’re going without a phone, doesn’t mean you have to forego all modern conveniences. It’s likely that once you spend some time driving daily without GPS, you’ll learn the lay of the land and not need directions so often.
Focus on Purpose
In the above example of GPS, many would argue that there are plenty of times when plans change, or things come up during the day, and you’ll need directions to find them. While it’s true that things come up occasionally, there’s a good chance that you could minimize this problem by living with more purpose.
Allow time in the morning for planning and thinking about your day. Be purposeful, consider today, the next day, and a brief overview of your week. If you think there’s a chance, you’ll squeeze an extra errand in today, look up those directions, and be prepared.
Knowing directions is a good habit to build anyway, so you’ll only be doing yourself a favor.
Break Your Texting Habit
Okay, everyone uses texting for almost everything now. And not just in our personal lives, but often in our work lives now. Texting used to be considered unprofessional, but now it’s usually offered as an innovative solution in many businesses.
So, without your phone, you won’t be able to text. You’ll have to ask that people email you. The good thing is that most phone carriers will allow an email to be sent right from the texting screen of a smartphone. And if not, the email itself can be sent from most cell phones, so it’s not like you’re genuinely making it hard for anyone to contact you without an actual phone call.
So, you won’t be a part of the coworker group chat or the yoga club update chain, that’s true. But, after a while, it’s probably something you won’t even give much thought.
For those thinking that texting allows them to stay in touch, that’s true. We’ll give you that one, but we’ll raise your connection. Without a cellphone, people can’t text you to stay in touch. Now, they’ll have to shoot you an email as we talked about before or they’ll have to call you.
Wouldn’t you prefer to hear someone’s voice anyway? People calling to check in on you, talk about their day, or get your opinion, will get a much deeper connection from you and with you when they speak to you on the phone rather than text. That being said, you’d need a landline for this to be true.
In a world full of technology, one top favorite for many folks is the ability to take pictures and recordings of memorable things. Without your smartphone, how else will you capture breathtaking views, happy moments, or otherwise?
Most of us probably have other ways to take photos; we just don’t use them because we have phones. Two things can happen. You can live more at the moment and be less worried about capturing every moment on film (or in the cloud), and more concerned about really living in that moment.
Secondly, you can take this as an opportunity to live with more purpose. When you think about what you’re doing, you can decide if you’ll need to bring anything with you today. You might bring your digital camera, your iPod touch, your iPad, or your other device that takes photos.
The great thing about all of the available technology on the market today is that with a little bit of research, you can find all of these other devices relatively inexpensively used or new, older models. You shouldn’t have any trouble obtaining an alternate way to take pictures and videos.
Get Comfortable Being Alone With Your Thoughts
Ahah! Let’s be honest here; many, many, many people are using their phones to avoid being alone with themselves or their thoughts. And to avoid having to interact with anyone throughout their day.
We check out phones while you’re waiting for your food to cook, waiting at the doctor’s office for your appointment, or while waiting for your friend to show up at the restaurant for lunch. We also check them when we wake up in the morning and before we fall asleep at night. But have you ever thought about why?
What would happen if you didn’t use your phone as your alarm and didn’t check it upon waking up? You could use a different alarm, turn it off, and spend a few minutes in bed while your brain comes alive. If you’re alone you might give yourself a minute to stretch and think about your morning.
If you’re with a spouse, you might talk to them for a few minutes about the day before getting up. The same could be true for going to bed at night. Studies show that the blue light we get from the screen disrupts our sleep, so you’re likely to start sleeping better without it.
When it comes to killing time while waiting, you can be prepared by always keeping a book with you or a small task in your bag to keep you busy while you wait. Alternatively, you can live in the moment and talk to people who walk by, or enjoy the view you have while waiting.
Build Your Confidence
Is there going to be a time or two that you really must make a phone call while you’re out and about? Sure, it could happen from time to time. The reality is that most payphones have disappeared. However, you might just have to get comfortable with the idea of asking to use a phone.
You can ask an establishment, and although they might look at you like you’re a monk or an alien, they’ll probably let you use the phone. If there’s not a store or facility nearby to step into, you may have to step outside your comfort zone and ask to use a stranger’s phone.
It’s not going to kill you to ask someone to use a phone, it may cause you some mild discomfort at the moment, but as with most things, you’ll outgrow the trouble.
When it comes to the big picture, you might be thinking that not having a cell phone is going to be this horrible inconvenience. In reality, you’ll find that it just increases your resourcefulness. You’ll learn how to do all of the things you need to do without it. You’ll also be quite surprised by all the ways not owning a phone brings positivity to your life.
Let’s end this guide on a positive note and think about all the ways not owning a phone might bring some positivity to your life.
Things You’ll Be Surprised to Discover
As a society that’s been driven by consumerism into new depths, it’s no secret that we overvalue consumerism. When you take the time to either use your phone more purposefully or not use one at all, you’ll discover many things about what life has to offer. Here’s what you can expect.
Adopting A Slower Pace
Without a phone, you’ll remember to slow down and enjoy things. Your conversations over dinner with friends may run a little longer. You might savor moments that you aren’t photographing for just a while more than you would have.
You’ll start living your life with more purpose and intent rather than flying by the seat of your pants, right? Some of that planning just might help you to take the step back that you needed to start enjoying your life more!
More Time For New Things and Ideas
While you’re working on becoming more resourceful, you’re opening up your world to new thoughts, things, and ideas. You might have more conversations you may not have otherwise had.
You might realize that connections become more in-depth with folks you aren’t texting all the time but are having real conversations instead. Some people might fall by the wayside, or you may outgrow, and in that case, you’ve learned who mattered in your life.
As you start filling time that you would have been distracted with other things, you’ll begin to learn more about yourself and those around you. If you bring a book everywhere you go, you may discover your love of the written word. If that doesn’t work out, then you found reading isn’t your thing.
You might like to do word searches or other puzzles when you have downtime. You could discover that those extra few minutes you have on the train ride into work are great for meditation, planning your grocery list, or going over your budget.
The bottom line is that without a phone, you’ll be less distracted, and you’ll have more time to devote to discovering what kinds of things make you happy.
While you’re making phone calls or sending emails at home, a simple connection could turn into a deep, meaningful one. Rather than shooting your uncle a text on his birthday, you might call him. The phone call could be short, or it might spark into something else.
You never know what kind of connection you might rekindle with someone just by talking to them rather than only texting.
Practicing Awareness and Gratitude
Since not owning a mobile device will help you become more aware of your surroundings, you’ll be developing yet another useful skill. Observation and awareness are two things that folks these days tend to lack. Without your phone in hand, you may notice your awareness and observation skills growing.
With awareness comes gratitude. Rather than feeling like you’re going without, you just may conclude that your life is abundant and not only ‘just fine’ but better off without the cell phone.
Final Words on How to Live Without a Cell Phone
Cellphones, smartphones, and mobile devices can enhance our lives. There’s not a point in arguing that fact. They do allow us to do tons of things, all at the touch of our fingertips.
That fact doesn’t, however, mean they are necessary or that you are better off with them rather than without them. There are plenty of people who get through life without phones still, and you could be one of them.
By taking the time to figure out the things you need or want to do throughout the day without using a phone to do it, you will become more focused, resourceful, connected, and aware, at the minimum.
You could also find that you’ve been missing out on tons of joy and essential things going on in the world around you while you were too distracted to notice before.
Whether you’ve decided to cut off your phone due to necessity, social experiment, or otherwise, you’re going to survive and possibly even thrive without it.