“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Someone (not Einstein)

Smartphones are addictive and highly distracting. Their mere presence reduces cognitive ability. I tried getting rid of mine - or at least of its intensive usage - many times over and have failed. Here’s my attempt at another shot, inspired by this article.

Day 1 (27.03.21)

Attempting to setup my old Ericsson T28s, which stores all contacts on the SIM card. iOS doesn’t allow to copy contacts to a SIM card anymore, so I found an old Android phone and connected it with my Google account to synchronize contacts. Tried 3 different SIM tooling apps but none of them manages to copy contacts over the SIM card. After a bit of research it turns out that most SIM cards issued by operators these days are read-only.

Resolved to using my old Nokia 5310 XPressMusic since this one can synchronize contacts. Set up PhoneCopy to import contacts via VCF and synchronize them with the phone.

Disabled iMessage on all devices - unsure if that is the case, still need to check it (if this doesn’t work I will miss all texts from contacts with iOS as they’ll end up somewhere in the iMessage nirvana).

Still need to migrate Google Authenticator to something else.

Day 2 (28.03.21)

Set up this journal post to document the process. Hopefully this will keep me more committed.

Synchronized all contacts with PhoneCopy rather than just a select few. The Nokia can handle it.

Still using the smartphone from time to time for WhatsApp. Wondering how to migrate away from that one.

Met up with a friend in the evening so I had to look up the route beforehand. Like in the good old times.

Day 3 (29.03.21)

Migrated all 2FA codes to a YubiKey to no longer need the smarpthone for this. There are still a few applications that don’t have an alternative, such as 2FA for banking.

Day 4 (30.03.21)

Removed a lot of applications on the iPhone that I don’t intend on using anymore. Chat applications (Telegram, Signal, etc.) still there, but intending to keep the interaction with that device to a minimum.

Day 5 (31.03.21)

Investigating an issue with iMessages ending up nowhere (i.e. people can send me messages but I don’t receive them). There’s a tool from Apple to remove the number, but it says the number is not registered.

Also logged out of social media, except Twitter on the iPad, though I find myself checking it from time to time during the day. I think I’ll be logging out of it and using it only to send things from time to time, rather than checking the stream.

The battery of the old Nokia is working really well, despite the device being from 2008.

Day 10 (05.04.21)

I still have the smartphone around, mainly because I’m finishing reading a book in HTML format that I didn’t find an easy way to send to my ebook reader. Some tasks (banking, mainly) also require it to be around.

I also logged out of all social media completely on all devices - and I don’t miss them. The only thing I keep on doing out of habit is to check Hacker News whenever I’m on a device that allows me to do that.

I’m noticing a sense of restlessness and irritability, i.e. the feeling of needing to do something. My brain keeps on nudging me to find something to do or think about even in situations where I could just lay back and relax.

Day 23 (18.04.21)

Spending most of the time just with the old Nokia. I don’t miss it anymore when being outside. I still do use the iPhone when at home, and so far it really is easy to fall back into aimlessly browsing the web when the browser is enabled (I had it disabled / restricted for a while, and re-enabled it to check a site, and immediately fell back into the old habits).

Also not having Twitter active on most devices helps. Really noticing how there’s much more noise on Twitter these days than signal.

Day 27 (22.04.21)

I’m noticing much more when other people use their smartphone and sort of “disappear” in it.

Still checking Twitter on my work computer (desktop) and e-mails on the iPad. The iPhone has no browser and no email client, I mainly use it to check messengers (WhatsApp and Signal) from time to time. The iPad is still a distraction, especially checking emails in the morning which is an old habit.

Day 33 (28.04.21)

Been using social media (well, Twitter) a bit more frequently the past days and it is interesting to observe how the reflex of checking it automatically (mainly on the desktop) comes back quickly. I guess this habit takes a while to get rid of.

Day 36 (01.05.21)

Checked Twitter. The “mean girl meme” girl sold a NFT for 500,000$ and DHH made a controversial decision. I think I’m done with Twitter for a while. I used to be able to go there to follow discussions from people I know. Instead, no matter the energy I put into defining filters, muting keywords, disable retweets, unfollow people, etc. the timeline is full of negativity. What I mean by this is that the content I get to see on Twitter is either something I don’t really care about (a distraction) or something that’s going to make me feel bad. So in a way I think Twitter has caught up with the traditional media, which also focuses on negative news.

I set up Twitter to send me an e-mail about direct messages and configured my Pi-hole to block Twitter.