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Experience 2 weeks without using smartphones

On a Monday morning, I woke up with glazed eyes and got ready for work. At this point, I received a notification from my phone, warning that my screen time in the past week had increased by 60% to an average of 19 hours 24 minutes per day.

I stared at those numbers for a while. If a person sleeps 8 hours a day, their remaining time is only 16 hours. As such, I spent too much time on my phone.

Experience 2 weeks without using smartphones - Photo 1.

Stopping using smartphones is not a pleasant experience (Image: The Guardian).

Due to the demands of my job, I am forced to be glued to my phone screen throughout the day. However, more than 19 hours seems like too much. According to iPhone statistics, in the last week, I received no less than 3,845 notifications, unlocked the phone 1,635 times. Therefore, I told myself that I had to stop using smartphones for a while.

Of course, in order not to affect my work, I still have to access the Internet and work through my laptop. I switched to the Nokia 105 – a “brick” phone model. This model is only equipped with basic features such as making calls, texting, listening to FM radio, turning on the flashlight and playing the Snake game.

Test date

Before starting the 2 week period of not using my smartphone, I wanted to test it a day in advance to see what the impact would be. I still have my smartphone with me, but without the SIM card and set to airplane mode.

I use the Nokia 105. It is very compact, only 1/3 the size, the weight is only 1/4 of the iPhone that I am using. I discovered that throughout the day, I kept opening the smartphone screen to check notifications, about 30 minutes each time even though I no longer had the SIM in the device.

The first day

The first day went by pretty easily, as I barely left the house. My life is also free of any disturbances.

Second and third day

During my morning commute to work, I realized that the game Snake wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be. No smartphone means no social media, no online journalism, no podcasts, no audiobooks or music. To ease this boredom, I decided to bring a book.

The forth day

That day, I had an outing with friends. When I went to a pub, I suddenly found another Nokia 105 already on the table. Initially, I really wanted to find out the owner of this phone so I could take a commemorative photo.

Experience 2 weeks without using smartphones - Photo 2.

Currently, “brick” phones can hardly meet the needs of daily life (Photo: The Guardian).

However, my friends say that a small, cheap phone with no WiFi or 3G like the one I’m using could be a drug dealer’s device. So they were adamant against my idea of ​​taking pictures.


The experience of texting on a “brick” phone was much more difficult than I remembered. In order to enter the letter “S”, I had to press the number 7 4 times in a row. The T9 keyboard’s predictive system is also very poor, it looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999.

The sixth day

For the first time, my phone rang in the office. It was an old Nokia ringtone, something I hadn’t heard in a long time. This also caught the attention of many of my colleagues.


At this point, I’m halfway done. I also noticed some positive points such as my sleep improved markedly. However, I hate being away from my smartphone. With it, I can share interesting or silly things with hundreds of people.

The eighth day

At that time, I was in a pub with a friend, about to go to a birthday party. All of a sudden, my Nokia ringtone came on and it was very loud. The bartender quickly reassured the room: “Oh yeah, sorry, that guy’s using his phone from the 1990s for some reason.”

Ninth day

I have a birthday party near Waterloo station in London. However, when I got there, I suddenly realized that I had absolutely no idea where the party was exactly. I had to go around and wander for about half an hour, until I came across an acquaintance and was led to the place by them.

This is like a reminder that life can be difficult without a smartphone. Smartphones are becoming increasingly important, making it easy for us to socialize, get directions, pay bills or other expenses.

10th and 11th day

I spoke to a smartphone addiction specialist. Dr. Anna Lembke, head of the Dual Diagnostics Clinic at Stanford University, says smartphone addiction is real.

Experience 2 weeks without using smartphones - Photo 3.

Smartphones are gradually becoming inseparable objects for many people (Photo: The Guardian).

“With any stimulant, most users will not become addicted. However, there are still about 10-15% of users who may have trouble and potentially become severely addicted. Preoccupation of the spirit. Mentally with the phone increases distraction and responsiveness,” Lembke said.

12th and 13th

I find myself potentially a smartphone addict. I even feel anxious and stressed without it.

“There are cases where people become too dependent on their phones and lead to negative behavioral changes. However, such extreme cases are not many,” neuroscientist Dean Burnett said.

In my case, Burnett suggested that the right term might not be addiction but dependence. For me, smartphones are not a need, but to meet existing needs.

Day 14

The last day was nothing special and it went by very quickly. In the past two weeks, I have been able to see positives that I never had. I only had to charge my phone three times in two weeks. It’s so light and cheap that I can leave it anywhere without worry.

However, I still just want to go back to my smartphone with a bunch of utilities like maps, Google, the ability to quickly check email or send a short note.

Our lives are evolving. Many of us are also working remotely. Therefore, constantly staring at a device to bridge the connection gap is essential. However, we also need to plan to use smartphones in moderation, avoiding relying too much on them.

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