I went (nearly) a week without a phone and this is what I learnt.

Inlove with my phoneA millenial without a phone. Is there a greater modern day tragedy? (Probs yes but shhhh.)

Last week, after a rather late night at the theatre I arrive home at 11.30pm exhausted. I stumbled through the front door and headed straight for the bathroom to take my makeup off and head to bed. I had done the hardest bit of the day, but the bathroom floor was too tough a match for my shiny Samsung and its glass screen.

I heard a thud and on picking up my phone saw there was a small crack in the corner that seemed to grow at an alarming rate. I’d have to get it fixed. So on Friday morning I sent it away, at least having time to warn my nearest and dearest I’d be off the radar for a bit. Here’s what I learnt over my phoneless time.

  1. You can adapt very quickly

After the initial outage the repair was going to take longer than I anticipated I adapted weirdly well for someone who usually is surgically attached to my device. Over the weekend it was even kind of pleasurable not to have the intrusion of continuous WhatsApps and notifications, and if I did want to get a message across Facebook messenger would suffice when I got to my laptop. People will just work out whatever it is themselves if you’re not around to answer.

… And while we’re talking WhatsApp, they really should allow you to use the web function without using your phone for authentication. The only reason I want to use WhatsApp web is if I don’t have my phone!

2. It’s worth remembering two of three important phone numbers when these situations arise.

Most people I know haven’t remembered phone numbers since primary school but for some reason I had always known my husband’s and my mother’s number. It proved really useful and meant I could borrow someone else’s phone if an emergency call was needed to just let someone know where I am and for a highly anxious person like myself this was really valuable.

3. OMG What time is it?!

This drove me crazy. How was I meant to catch a train or do anything on time without my phone to keep me in check? I once found myself checking a receipt for the time – I could decide if this was hideously archaic or rather quaint.

It was a relief to discover my tablet had an alarm function half way through my phoneless week. My only option prior was to get up the same time as my husband in the week (6.15am) when I don’t need to be up until 8am.

4. The only things I really missed were data when travelling, WhatsApp and Uber.

I’m on the train a lot and this is usually when I mentally go through my to-do list and message people accordingly. Other than not being as productive as I wanted in this way it was kind of fine. Most stations have Wi-Fi so I could do all my app stuff then too.

5. I read a book for the first time in ages.

I don’t read books all that much. This is largely down to an anxious disposition and the feeling I should be doing something more important and less self indulgent than read when I have a spare moment. But with no phone I positively whizzed through a 400 page novel I was saving for my holiday next month. I didn’t need to think “oh I should stop at this chapter and do …” because there was no other entertainment if I was Wi-Fi-less. It also made me realise my attention span is not as bad as it could be.

6. Dear God, how did people make arrangements to meet up before mobile phones?!

Instant messages give us SO much flexibility and ability to be so flaky without appearing rude (unless you do it all the time). If you don’t fancy doing something you already agreed to you can send an apologetic message an hour before and it’s cool.

I was going to the theatre with a friend on the Friday evening. I sent what felt like a rather dramatic message on Thursday evening to said friend saying we should meet at 6.15pm at a specific location if I couldn’t contact him before. It felt so make or break. What if we couldn’t find each other? We had to both be on time, in London! It felt such a ludicrous thought but we did both manage it, in fact we were both a little early with this added pressure.

7. It could have happened at a much worse time. 

It’s August. Everyone is on holiday. I’m not waiting for important calls regarding jobs, houses or sickly relatives. I told myself this every time I felt antsy about not being contactable.

8. Getting it back will be the greatest thing in the world.

You will do a small cry of relief knowing you can re-join the world again as well as the satisfaction you functioned pretty well without.



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