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Getting My Time Back

Like most folks in 2019, I spend too much time on my phone. And like most folks, it’s primarily wasted time. It causes me to live inside my own head and enables me to replace idle moments with the consumption of (mostly useless) information. I’ve been trying for years to develop a healthy relationship with it and or the most part I have failed.

Of course, the device isn’t all bad. When I travel for work, it helps me navigate the streets of Brooklyn / San Francisco. It keeps me connected to my wife and children, enabling me to video chat with them whenever my heart desires. It’s a companion at the airport when the only folks around are strangers (who are also looking down at their own devices).

But every few days, I pick it up and I think to look at my usage. And when I look my usage, I always get a twinge of regret. Days upon days of idle time frittered away by the pursuit of worthless information and the buzz of notifications. I could have spent the time doing other things – working on a side project, reading a book, or even just sitting in silent meditation. Surely the time would have been better spent. And I don’t want to guess how much personal data I’ve inadvertently shared about myself and the people close to me.

My point is, I need to change something. Quitting social media hasn’t been enough to stop the negative influence the device has on me. I’ve realized that if I can’t find a way to voluntarily restrict my time on the device, I can at least make the device less powerful (and less pleasant to use).

So with that in mind, I’m switching to a banana phone (the Nokia 8110).

I don’t expect it to be a silver bullet, but I’m fairly eager to try to KaiOS. It does everything I need a phone to do, it just does them badly. Which is exactly what I want. I’ll still be able to:

The phone can even serve as a 4G hotspot for my laptop. I’m hoping this will be just enough to keep me placated, while not putting me on the treadmill of overstimulation.

Will I stick with it? I sincerely hope so. I need to get my idle moments back.