To survive without a smartphone there are five things you can do: notify friends and family, buy a GPS or local maps, plan to connect with others, purchase a printer, and prepare new downtime activities.
The ability to survive without a smartphone is something the world took for granted twenty years ago. Now smartphone technology is tied to everything from rideshares to bank accounts to how we connect with friends. I got rid of my smartphone at the beginning of 2023 and love the freedom I now have. It did take some work to disconnect so many aspects of my life from my phone, but now that I’m on the other side I know it was worthwhile.
Notify Friends and Family
It is important to plan to connect with others to survive without a smartphone. Gone are the days plans are made over the phone or by text. Now there are more social apps than I care to name. There is a good chance your friend group uses one of them to make plans.
To not be left out, let your friends and family know you are giving up your smartphone. Suggest that plans be made through a group text or through GroupMe, which will send you a text if you don’t have the app. If this doesn’t work, talk to one person in the group who has a smartphone and see if they are willing to keep you in the loop with plans.
When notifying your family and friends of your new life change, also remind them that you won’t be able to follow links the text to you. Some dumbphones can send and receive picture messages. If yours isn’t one of these let them know that as well. Ask your friends and family to email you links and pictures. This way you will be able to easily view them on a computer or tablet.
Connect with Others
To survive without a smartphone, it is important to plan time to connect with others. Smartphones and social media drive a lot of modern social life. Without one, you are choosing to remove yourself from that way of connecting with others.
Work time into your daily or weekly schedule to intentionally connect with others so you don’t find yourself longing for the shallow connections a smartphone offers. Make a habit of calling your dad during your commute. Plan a monthly hobby night with other enthusiasts, and invite friends over for brunch on the weekends. All of these intentional social interactions will keep you connected to your community, and will probably foster deeper relationships than texting ever could.
Buy a Printer
If you don’t own a printer and want to survive without a smartphone, I strongly recommend getting one. Life without a smartphone means you will need a lot more physical copies of things than you did before. Gone are the days of online recipes, airline apps, digital tickets, and mobile receipts.
Surviving without a smartphone takes a little more planning than you may be used to. Soon it will be second nature to have a folder with important documents in it. If you live in a city, memorize or gather public transportation timetables. When traveling make sure you print off copies of all travel and lodging plans. Before heading to an event or concert print off your ticket so it’s ready at the door. If you need to buy a printer but don’t want to break the bank, check out this list of budget-friendly printers that actually work.
Buy a GPS or Local Maps
Having a GPS or local maps in your car is important if you want to survive without a smartphone. Either one will ensure your ability to get where you are going on time, and stress-free. I opted for a GPS and find it much easier to use than my old smartphone’s navigation system. We live in an area of the country that has poor cell reception. My GPS has all the maps uploaded and can get me to my destination without needing cell service. If you’re thinking about buying a GPS, check out Forbes’ comprehensive analysis.
Local maps are also invaluable if you choose to live without a smartphone. If you are looking to eliminate as much technology from your life as possible, they are a great option. Local maps can also be used if you don’t want to pull out your GPS, or as a backup if your GPS can’t pick up your location. Rand McNally was a go-to map provider before the modern travel era, and they still sell city and state maps on their website.
Prepare New Downtime Activities
One of the best things you can do to survive without a smartphone is to prepare downtime activities. The average American spends 5.4 hours per day on their smartphone. That is a lot of time to fill, and your brain is going to be signaling you to go back to the comfortable routine of scrolling through apps if it doesn’t have something else to do. By preparing downtime activities before you get rid of your smartphone, you have a much greater chance of making it through the initial smartphone withdrawal.
What activities should you prepare, though? To answer this question think back to before you got your first smartphone. What did you spend your time doing?
- If you enjoyed playing a sport, look for an adult league of that same sport
- If you enjoyed reading scroll through Goodreads and purchase or request three books from a library that look interesting
- If you enjoyed being in nature, plan a walking or hiking route that is close to your house
- If you enjoyed knitting or crocheting look up an easy pattern and get the supplies needed to complete it.
- If you enjoyed cooking, plan a menu and obtain the ingredients needed to make it.
- If you enjoyed collecting something, find a local collectors group and add their meeting to your calendar.
No matter what downtime activity you pick, there is bound to be at least one magazine written about it. Order a magazine, or a subscription to a magazine, and wait until the day you get rid of your smartphone to start reading it. Our brains are used to short content, and magazines can help retrain them into longer periods of focus.
Read More About How to Survive Without a Smartphone
Are you thinking about ditching your smartphone for good, but aren’t sure if now is the time? To help you decide whether or not to go smartphone free, check out my other articles on the topic:
I would love to hear about your journey and the benefits you are looking for in getting rid of your smartphone. Thanks for stopping by!