Ben Leander Willgruber | Visual Designer and Writer

One month without a phone

Because I wanted to validate my own findings that using social media less makes us happier, I already spent a week without social media. It’s an experiment I can only advise you to undertake for yourself. Now you may think that I decided to take it even further. But it wasn’t a choice, really. My phone just died.

And you know, I’m half-German.
I don’t like to spend money if I don’t have to. So, I used my phone until the VERY end. After I purchased my new phone, my old one gave up entirely. You may think that that was great timing, but no, it wasn’t because that meant I lost all phone numbers. And no, I didn’t backup because I live life on the edge.

I spent about two months with a semi-working phone.
The last couple of weeks, the battery of my phone was so weak that I couldn’t use it without a power bank. Whenever I got called, I went into panic mode, trying to connect the phone to my power bank as quickly as possible. Usually, my phone died before I could make it but even if I did I was usually too slow to answer the phone. Basically, nobody was able to call me.

I had to schedule time in the office to use the landline.
Everyone thought I was crazy and I probably was. But I committed to not getting a new phone. I felt like I was in the 90s again. There just wasn’t a way to communicate with me without seeing me (or writing me on Facebook). In the end, people stopped trying to reach me all in all. That made me feel quite lonely, to be honest.

At some point, I started leaving my house without a phone. I had to make plans and not change them. That was actually quite fun and a good way to deal with FOMO. I followed the people I was with, let them decide what we were gonna do and just went with the flow. I wasn’t there to reach anyone. If people really wanted to see me, they had to find a way.

My clients probably were annoyed about this situation.
They already know I’m a little… special. They know since the moment they hired me: on my business cards it says that my working hours are from noon to 10 PM (no, I’m not kidding, I don’t like mornings). In a month without a phone though, I had to re-schedule all calls to online meetings and email conversations. That was when I started to realize I actually needed a new phone.

What was left of my old phone. Also, ignore my dusty desk.
What was left of my old phone. Also, please ignore my dusty desk.

I had already eyed the new Huawei series for quite some time. And just on the day they hit the market, my best friend wrote me that she was shopping for a new phone. I knew it was a sign from the universe that I had to get one too. So, I told her to go day-drinking for an hour until I could be there and get a new phone too. I went with the Huawei P20 lite and I must say that it’s the best phone I ever had and I love it (not sponsored – I wish it were though! Hit me up, Huawei and don’t judge me for not knowing how to pronounce your company’s name).

In contrast to ‘A Week without Social Media’ this is an experiment I wouldn’t recommend unless you wanna feel lonely, piss off your clients and live in a social bubble. The only thing I enjoyed was going out without having my phone on me. Do you ever do that? Or do you wanna be reachable at all times?


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12 thoughts on “One month without a phone

  1. I don’t like being attached to my phone. My new work (nothing special, no life or death situations) provides me with a landline, but it seems like everyone has each other’s cell and the call each other all the time. I refuse to do it. If you cannot reach me on my office phone chances are I’m busy and not just ignoring the phone. And if I was, I would ignore your cell call anyway.
    Often times I wish to go out without my phone, but then I think of emergencies, and so I take it with me.

    1. Oh I don’t like when clients have my cell. I don’t like being called in general and not at crazy office hours. This world we live in, however, doesn’t roll that way and in the end I am grateful for the possibilities smartphones and social media gives us. It’s just hard to monitor the usage. I also think about emergencies and ‘what happens when I miss that important call’. I don’t think that has ever happened but I take it with me. Now I’m kinda glad my dying phone reminded me that it’s really not necessary to be connected 24/7.
      Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

    1. I wouldn’t do it again either unless my Huawei lasts similarly as my old Samsung lol But you can try going out with a phone – that was actually really nice fore a change 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  2. I think your experiment was marvelous! Would I do it? I cringe to think no. I use the excuse I’m a short, older, pretzelly kind of woman that needs my phone in case i get lost. Or in trouble. That’s a lame excuse, because I use my phone all day. Maybe that’s why I can’t sleep at night. I can’t give it up completely, but I am not going to let it run me anymore. Thanks for the pep talk.

    1. Haha I totally get it! And I wouldn’t wanna live like I had to again. But it also made me realize that it CAN be nice to disconnect for just a couple of hours. And you’re totally right about your phone affecting your sleep… I always advise people to turn it on airplane mode or at least deactivate the internet while sleeping 🙂 Good look and thanks for the comment!

  3. Well done, Mr Adventurous!
    I have a friend that went back to an analog style cell phone versus a smartphone last year and loves it. He says it makes him much more present in his daily life…and I believe it!
    Good for you both!

    1. Uh, love the title! To be honest, writing about it makes it more interesting to try things, like I did here. Even though I wouldn’t wanna go back to an older phone I understand everyone who does. I personally try to set limits, e.g. don’t allow apps to use push messages, turn my phone on airplane mode when I’m sleeping etc. Of course, there’s always temptation.
      Thanks for the feedback! xoxo

    1. Thank you very much. It was interesting, I’ll give it that. But I wouldn’t wanna do it again (till the next phone, probably). xoxo

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