Nearly two months ago, I wrote that I had canceled the data plan on my mobile phone. I'm reporting back that it has been a smashing success. I love being connected... to the people around me rather than the interwebs.
If you're disciplined about keeping the phone in your pocket, good for you. If you're not, this might be an option for you.
The experiment was given an extra boost when two weeks into the experiment I promptly lost my non-smart phone. Brilliant move in retrospect. I avoided the nervous, fidgety grabbing of the phone to look to see if a new message arrived. One might say that I went cold turkey, and it likely made the whole transition easier. So easy, in fact, I often questioned whether I needed any kind of phone at all!
That's not to say that the data plan isn't missed. My expectations were pretty spot on. I miss Google Maps and posting photos for the family. Here are the few notes I've jotted down along the way...
Let's get it right out there... I miss having reading material when I'm on the pot. If you have a smart phone, you know what I'm talking about.
I miss access to my calendar... I haven't missed big meetings, but I have missed those non-vital but still important events that aren't necessarily on my radar every day. I've looked into the Google API to get access via SMS and will try to implement this one.
I'd like to find a better desktop tool for Twitter. Now that I see less of it throughout the day, it would be nice to find a tool that helps me catchup on some feeds I don't want to miss.
Email becomes less important - which is good. Everyone talks about the email tax where you can't control inbound email. I've found that by sending less and reading less frequently, I've been able to lower the burden of managing email. It now comes in well controlled bursts - those blocks of time that I dedicate to my inbox. I've also become ruthless with unsubscribe options.
I haven't quantified this, but it feels like I have better focus through less distraction. If you're not pulling your phone out all the time to check in on your online life, you've improved your chances of focusing on a specific task whether it's work, a game with the kids or cleaning up around the house.
You all have become more annoying
I'm now way more annoyed by people who choose their phones over me. Whether it's to take a phone call, respond to a text message and check the sports scores, it's nothing short of annoying. I don't know how much I did this to other people two months ago, but I'm glad I don't do it anymore.