Smart Phone Made Me Stupid

In March I disconnected the data service to my Smart Phone. This means no e-mail, Facebook or web browsing on my phone. Text messages are OK, that’s it. My phone may have less IQ right now, but boy was it a good move.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this single move has had the biggest impact on my ability to get things done, focus and more effectively manage my time in the past few years.

My Motorola Q not so Smart Phone
My Motorola Q <not so> Smart Phone

You see, when I have 24/7 ubiquitous access to email <work and personal> I take advantage of that to allow what I call “slop” to encroach in during times when I should be focused. Instead of focusing and getting work done during the day so I can relax and spend time with friends at night, I dink around during the day and then try to stay connected and take care of business when I shouldn’t.

It also makes it so much easier to just react to other people’s bad behaviors. I work in an environment where people e-mail at all hours of the day and night. In only a few limited cases are these after hours emailed really urgent (like maybe once a month if that). When I had e-mail access on my phone, I would play into the drama and react to mail at the wrong times.

…and don’t get me started about Facebook….updating my status over phone had zero impact on solving world hunger.

Perhaps the biggest thing….is that work would just be on my mind more. Checking e-mail quickly before walking into a movie theater would keep me from really enjoying a movie. Any thought leaves a residue behind and it takes a while for that residue to fully dissolve. It keeps me from really being in the moment.

So now, 10 months after embarking on what was a 30-day challenge to go “smart phone free” …..I am still sticking with it and have no plans on turning back. Right now, I just don’t have the will power to use and not abuse the full capabilities of a Smart Phone and my guess is that neither do most other people.

Published by Ravi Raman

Executive Coach + Yogi + Endurance Athlete

2 replies on “Smart Phone Made Me Stupid”

  1. Having read the 4-hour work week I am so curious to know if you as a Microsoft professional use any of these technological wonders to enable you to have more free time for yourself. I just saw this one today…If I lived in the us I think would use it.

    Or do you believe it to have a negative impact on your productivity, creating more distractions.

    Best regards,

  2. Hey Darri thanks for the comments. At Microsoft I use TONS of technology during the day to be more productive. Portals, applications, etc.

    However, I’ve found a stasis outside of work where I am able to effectively do my job while not needing a Smart Phone. I actually think that Smart Phones can be INCREDIBLE tools for increasing productivity and freeing up time (by allowing you to take advantage of “slack” time between appointments or while you would otherwise be waiting).

    However, for me personally….I devolved into abusing the tool and overchecking e-mail…so I gave it up. At some point, I think I will re-enable the data plan on my phone (note that I do still use it for calendar and contact management)…but only when I have more self control 🙂 ….I also enjoy being a little more “low-tech” when I am outside of work since I am surrounded by it all day.

    As for Grand Central…I know several people who use it and get a ton of benefit out of it. Personally I haven’t used it though. I think for a mobile professional or business owner, it could be a great asset. For me, my company provides us with great technology so I don’t need to rely on outside services as much.


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