Why I’m moving from a smart phone to a dumb phone

IMG_4261Call it a digital life adjustment experiment (DLAE for short).

I’ve been mulling over the implications of being constantly accessible, online, responsive and honestly, much of the time, digitally consumed. It’s been weeks of mulling. Today, I pulled the trigger. Here’s Part 1 of my DLAE.

I boxed up my iPhone 5 and put it in a drawer. I dug out our trusty old Sony Ericsson w810i from a drawer, charged it up and took it to AT&T for a SIM card. The welcome screen still shows “Cingular.”

Here’s Part 1 of the plan. I’m selling my iPad 2 and have bought an iPad mini with 4G capability. I’ll carry it around and use it when I need access, but for the most part, I’ll use it like I used my iPad 2 – for meetings, taking notes, reading, email, and preaching.

There’s more to my DLAE that’s coming soon. I’ll keep you updated, but today has been spent getting “ready.” One fun freebie – we found a ton of pictures on the massive memory card (256 mb) in the Sony phone. It has a 2 megapixel camera that is surprisingly crisp. (Check out the image below that I took this evening when Sam returned from fishing with Adam and Paul.)


Some of you are probably scratching your heads, wondering why. The short answer: to take back the margins of my life’s pages. They’ve been too filled in with digital noise and distractions. Stay tuned for Part 2.

On this day...


  1. Megan Brewer says:
    I did the same thing! Not on purpose though…I lost my
    iPhone in Europe and am back to my env3. I seriously love the
    switch! It’s made me so much more focused on the ‘now’ and I don’t
    freak out when there isn’t’ something to entertain me while I’m
    just hanging out. Dumb phone pals!
    1. Jeff says:
      One thing I’ve noticed in the past 24 hours. Since I’m using an ancient dumb phone (we’ve had it for at least 8 years), I have forgotten how to dial numbers… (Or remember them). Gotta get to work on my address book. Last night someone called, and since I didn’t have numbers in the phone, I had a panic moment…

      Aaaaaagh! To answer or not to answer?

      I did. It was the AT&T store guys offering to help me hook up the iPad mini to 4g.

      Another observation… Texting takes forever with T9! May have to find a dumby with slideout keyboard.

  2. Cory says:
    I’m working on the details of this right now too as it’s been on my mind for a few months. Contract with Verizon just ended. Debating on whether I’m going to ditch the smartphone completely or keep the smartphone, but only have access to its “intelligence” on wifi.

    I’m leaning toward ditching it and using the wifi iPad for its smarts.

    Interested in hearing more.

    1. Jeff says:
      Can’t tell you which way to go, but I realized the same thing coming home from AT&T… I could just use the iPhone as an iPod touch on wifi. BUT, for me, I wanted to get the iPhone accessibility and convenience out of my life for this time. So it’s boxed up and in a drawer.
  3. kate says:
    I had a dream a while ago that you did this and did an entire session on it at Northstar. Hmmm. I hope the DLAE adjusts for the better! Excited to see the outcomes and realizations…
    1. Jeff says:
      In your dream, was I looking over the shoulder of someone with an iPhone in a guilty moment of withdrawals? That may or may not have happened today.
  4. Prasenjit says:
    An excellent decision…stick to it. I am also mulling hard to eschew my smartphone , which is making me actually dumb…but I dunno why I procrastinate.
    1. Jeff says:
      If you’ll read subsequent entries, I’ve gone back to the iPhone but am using it much differently and actually enjoying it more. Thanks for the comment!
  5. William Thomas says:
    Mate, wonderful choice. Who needs every 5 seconds blinking notification (especially from social media !!), who needs to play movie in a 5.5″ screen (go get a TV !), and certainly you have to start a conversation on the dining table instead of touching you smartphone every now and then….I am a developer for Android for years….bought more than 10 smartphones, and then one day I woke up, sold everything, and using Nokia that has a screen (color), and buttons…Thank God…..
    1. Jeff says:
      William, that’s awesome. This year, I have not done the DLAE yet, and your quick comment provoked me to consider when I will schedule it. I learned so much through the experiment last year.

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