Living in the moment is the core tenet of mindfulness and it teaches us to begin living a life of fulfilment. Many digital minimalists find that ever-present connection to the internet can be a burden.
One way to get started with digital minimalism is to switch from using a smartphone back to using an old school flip phone. Simple phones can help us reduce distraction, and can be a forced form of self control.
Not everyone will be happy using an old phone as opposed to a newer iPhone or Android device. Though for some of us, it may feel like a switch is essential.
Signs that switching to a flip phone is a good idea
If your phone usage has been increasing, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get rid of your device. Even if you’re not using your phone all the time, some people may still feel like switching to a flip phone is a good idea.
Though most people that fantasise about flip phones have telltale signs that their smart phone is holding them back. This is things like;
A clear phone addiction – Sometimes the signs are clear. If you check your phone whilst driving, or lack the self control not to check your mobile device, it’s pretty obvious you need a break from it.
High screen time – You can manually check your phone to see how much time you spend on it each day. If it’s multiple hours, this could indicate you need to reduce your screen time to get more out of your day.
You have a short attention span – This can be something as innocent as checking your phone too many times whilst you’re watching a film. But it can also have a stronger impact than this, like not paying enough attention to your child.
Whether it’s a minor or major issue, many people can benefit from switching over to flip phones or an old phone.
Advantages of Using an Old Phone
The biggest reason why people want to switch back to a flip phone is so they can be more focussed in their day-to-day life and increase their productivity.
Being constantly interrupted by a text message on WhatsApp or a notification within your social media apps can be an unwelcome distraction, and it can stop you from being able to tap into your flow state.
Getting rid of the distraction of text messages and app notifications is the easiest way to ensure you stay productive.
Presence with friends and family
Almost everyone has to work for a living, and outside of these times, it’s important for us to spend time with our loved ones.
But some people find that their smartphone subconsciously drags them away from really investing quality time with them. Checking your phone whilst having a conversation can make the other person feel like you’re not really listening to them.
With the free time that you have, you may want to spend it really connecting with others in person – and a smartphone can hold you back from doing that.
Practice Self Sufficiency
There’s no denying technologies role in society is important, but many feel like they’ve built a reliance on their phone that is detrimental in the long term.
An example may be with math and critical thinking. If you have your smart phone with you, it’s easy to search for the answer or use an app to figure it out.
Without it, you’re forced to work out the answer on your own. Getting rid of your phone forces you to be self sufficient and think for yourself.
Improved self esteem
On social media apps, you follow your close friends, but you also generally end up following a bunch of strangers too. This can be athletes, models and influencers sharing pictures from their latest trip to Dubai.
But, you only end up seeing the highlight reels of someone else’s life, not the reality. And this can be bad for your self esteem sometimes, even if you know that you really shouldn’t be.
Not something that’s often mentioned, switching back to a flip phone can actually be a positive thing for your bank balance.
You can get rid of some expensive subscriptions and stop spending money on applications overnight. Plus, it will limit your data usage and phone calls too, which can stack up quickly depending on your allowances.
Get a better night’s sleep
Using your phone before bedtime is a bad idea. At the end of a long day, it can be tempting to doomscroll your socials until you eventually fall asleep. Phone screens can be bad for your eyes, especially if you use them constantly.
Reducing blue light before bedtime can help to improve your sleep, so it’s clear potential benefit of switching back to a flip phone.
Block out the outside world
Many of us rely on our phone and our computer. In some circumstances though, it can be nice to just block the outside world out of your life entirely.
It’s clear that there are many advantages of ditching smart phones from our lives. Though truth be said, switching to an old school flip phone can be frustrating at times too. There are a few reasons why this can be the case.
Downsides of Ditching your Smartphone
Though there are many benefits to doing this, it’s only fair that we run through some obstacles that you may come across too.
There are some impracticalities of using a flip phone, especially if you have children or have a career that requires one.
Online Banking is important to most smartphone users, and some banks actually don’t even have a web browser or desktop version that you can visit.
The convenience of sending payments and accessing your banking information is something that many people need on a daily basis, and it’s easily accessible on iOS and Android.
When you add in the fact that many of us use our smartphones for payments – like Google Pay or Apple Wallet – it makes ditching your smart phone even more impractical.
Google Maps has been one of the most useful inventions of the last few decades, easily giving us data on how to get from A to B. A sat nav is an easy replacement for this.
But even then, there are many more travel apps that can make your life easier. Whether this is easy access to train and flight tickets or booking your Airbnb, smart technology has undoubtedly make this process easier.
Smartphones have an abundance of other features that you may find useful, but not necessarily a necessity.
This can be like having the ability to send group texts with your friends, using the video camera to record impromptu moments, and a lack of access to convenient video calling. It’s worth weighing up the pros and cons before you decide to get rid of your phone.
Ironically, most people that switch to using an old phone work online, and are seeking an escape from the endless connection to the internet. Though, it doesn’t have to be permanent.
How long should I switch for?
Something that many people seem to forget when moving back to an old flip phone is that this doesn’t have to be forever. It can be, and you may find that you prefer your life without having the constant internet access.
However if you don’t, you can always go back to using a smart phone again a few weeks or months after you’ve started. This can actually be a good idea, as it can teach you where your addictions and social cravings are, so you can monitor them better in the future.
And if and when you get your smartphone back, you can easily put restrictions in place to make sure that your smartphone addiction doesn’t rear its ugly head again.
In conclusion, a regular amount of smartphone usage every day is normal. But some of us find those hours creeping up and up, which is no surprise with the amount of new apps that are released.
One way to combat this is by switching back to using a dumb phone, like a typical flip phone. For some people, this may seem like a crazy idea. But for others, it’s the ultimate way to truly live in the moment.