Presence with others
ability to focus
- MLB - 1hr 22m - I listen to Baseball games while I do chores. - Does this count as screen time?
- Sarafi - 47 min - Reading Blogs
- Youtube - 33 min I have a love hate with ol Youtube
- imessage 27 min
“Best decision I made was getting rid of my “smartphone and upgrading to a wise phone.” - Anna in an email to me.
You know what a smartphone is.
You know what a dumb phone is.
But what is a wise phone?
Introducing the Wise Phone
A wise phone is not a brand of phone or a style of phone. It is lifestyle phone. A wise phone makes calls. A wise phone uses sms text messages.
That is all the base model does.
Some opt for more complex options such as GPS, music or camera.
If it sounds like it will be less convenient it will be. It is the hard way.
But a lot of good things come from doing hard things. Here is a list of benefits that I experience.
Plus is it generally cheaper than any smart phone.
But despite these advantages people still doubt these benefits are real. The most common objection I hear is that they could not live without a smart phone. Or why would you even want too?
Sometimes it is difficult to see the cause of problems we face. It is part of being human.
If you sit in a bar or pub filled with cigarette smoke. After a while you do not smell smoke or at least you smell it less. But if you walk outside for a few minutes and then walk back in the smoke overpowers you. You smell it again.
Your smartphone is like the smoke.
You might not even notice that your phone is driving your insecurity and/or anxiety.
That is why people like Laurence Warner advocate for taking a break for one week a month from your smartphone. That is a good start. But I think the time has come to make more radcial choice.
Wise Phone Name
In a youtube rant I said that the world needs less information and more wisdom. Once Anna gave me the term Wise Phone - I decided to use it and make it stick.
A basic definition states that being Wise is “marked by a deep understanding, keen discernment and a capacity for sound judgement.”
Let me offer more nuanced definition.
Neil Postman in his 1999 book “Building a Bridge to the 18th Century” defined Wisdom as “the capcity to know what body of knowledge is relevant to the solution of sigificant problems”
Nicholas Carr commented in a talk that the more dangerous part of smart phone use is that it has the ability to influnce if not direct WHAT we think about.
When we couple these 2 together you realize that smartphone and even internet use keeps us from finding solutions to our problems. Instead we have less focus and remain distracted.
If you do not believe me, leave your phone behind for 2 hours and go out into the world. Shop or go to a coffee shop. Then report back to me what you see.
Is it a wonder that the self help space is a 11 Billion dollar industry?
Most are searching for something to add to their life when the answer is to subtract.
The Path Forward
There is a growing group of people moving to wise phones. I do not think it is a fad.
When I show people my Sunbeam Daisy flip phone, they are curious but conclude they could NEVER do it. They could not live without a smart phone. You can join my [priviate email list](Flip Phone Files (ck.page)) where I work to help you overcome that fear.
I have started to interview people about their experiences using a wise phone in hopes that it might make an impact on you. Here is a link to my Youtube playlist of those.
I never think about my phone.
I think of all the time and energy that I have given my iphone for the last 12 years.
All of the energy of trying to “manage” screen time. Too much light in my eyes before bed etc etc.
My Sunbeam flip charges in a little stand on my desk. With a glance across the room, I can see if I have a missed call - blue icon or a txt message - green icon. If nothing is on - I move on to other things I am working on.
I am blown away by this. This was something I was not expecting.
I had been using the system for a year prior and was excited to see what he made. It fired me up to double down into the bullet journal system. I used it for full capture. Of course I did migrate some things into digital but this book was with me at all times.
I stray from the system from time to time - thinking I can do it better. But I feel uneasy when I do not have my journal with me.
I am glad that Ryder, who I understand is introverted, was brave and shared this with the world.
He has a problem with alcohol.
He cannot handle his booze like us normies.
Would anyone use the logic above when talking about someone using heroine?
Alcohol has won the battle. Alcohol is ethanol. It is a poison and our bodies treat it as such. It is addictive and big alcohol spends a good deal of money to keep us using it.
I say alcohol has won the battle because when someone wants to stop drinking - they are said to have a have a drinking problem.
They make a healthy choice to move towards healing and are blamed for not being able to handle their booze.
Social Media companies are winning the battle too.
We know that social media causes problems with people mental health. Services designed to make the user want to use it more. Doom Scrolling. We all know it. You versus the algorithm.
Yet when someone stands up and quits social media or speaks out how they gave up their smart phone to help heal themselves they are met with the same response.
They cannot handle it. They need to learn moderation. The phone is just a device.
Is there a true cost to value proposition that would justify using social media?
At what point do you stop using a product or service because of your values? To take a stand for what you believe in?
We will live in a post social media world.
Start your healing.
In 1993 I saw the movie, Shawdowlands.
Shadowlands is a 1993 British biographical drama film about the relationship between academic C. S. Lewis (played by Anthony Hopkins) and Jewish American poet Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), her death from cancer, and how this challenged Lewis’s Christianity.
The movie is about making meaning out of suffering. Is life Happiness and Joy or Pain and Suffering. It is worth the time investment.
The scene that came to mind today as I was cleaning up my desk area was when Joy (Winger) meets Jack (Hopkins) in his home study. It is a pleasant scene.
The room was full of books, pens and paper and a beautiful lamp and desk.
What was absent and of note to me - no computer and no phone.
I think there was a typewriter but growing up in the 80’s at the height of WordPerfect - the most modern Wordprocessor of that time - a typerwriter did not register as technology or a tool to use for any work.
The year was 1993. I was 25. My computer was a 386 running Windows 3.1
I can remember thinking “How does he do any work?”
Today I am 53. I have a similar room of my own. I do have a computer - still running windows. I work from home as an insurance agent. So yes I have to have a computer to work. It is 2021.
However, I am writing this on my other side of my desk in my office. My office has a U - shaped desk built in. It is designed to have 2 workspaces. I have chosen to have one side as my work side and the other as my personal side for journaling and reflection. I do keep this iPad on this desk for when I want to write something like this.
I believe in the movie C.S. Lewis called this room his study. I call my room my office.
Neil Postman talks a great length about the language we use around technology and how techology changes the meaning of things.
Each of us are bombbarded with distractions that cause mental context switching and decrease our ability to think deeply. To sit and study a topic or event.
Office vs Study
If walk into my study the name itself implies my task is to learn and reflect. To think deeply about a topic or book. There is no implied output.
If walk into my Office, the name implies output. Work implies the production of something. Often times this can turn into just doom scrolling.
Over the last 2 years I have spent too much time thinking about which app or device to use for different tasks. I have spent time watching YouTube videos trying to sort out my approach or how it improve. I scoffed at Ryan Holiday’s use of 4X6 cards for his commonplace book because it was not digital.
From my journal Nov 2020.
Life is not about fixing that one problem area or understanding that one concept that will unlock the secret. This is the modern lie. Rather I want to be a guy with a journal. I want to cultivate a deep life. A life where my values get translated into action.
Today my office is now called my Study.
The best advice I heard and verified in my own life is the following for quitting something.
Keep quitting until you have quit.
Decide that you are going to make a change. You know without a shred of doubt that it is bad for you.
Never doubt the decision.
Step 3: (if needed)
If you fail, repeat steps 1 and 2.
How To Track Your Way to Success!
The only metric I would suggest you track is the amount of time (mins, hours, days, weeks) that passes until your restart.
If you can shorten this time you are on the path to success.
If you ignore the fact you are off course then you are heading in the wrong direction.
The hardest part is to not ignore the truth that you have committed too.
Ignoring a problem can feel good in the moment but it delays the pain. We all know this.
When I wanted to stop drinking alcohol, and I would drink again, I stopped worrying about how many failures happened and I focused on starting again.
I would restart my journey.
It took me about 3 years.
The last time I opened a beer I took one sip and I threw the rest away. That was my last drink.
Last night was my wifes birthday. We had a lovely time.
In my exploration of phone/no phone/flip phone/apple watch - BS that I have been wasting too much time thinking about - I went out with out any device.
I had a lovely time.
The person I care the the most about in the world was with me. I was with her.
If someone else needed my attention they would have to wait until tomorrow.
I found him on my blogging platform micro.blog.
First, can we just agree that people can be amazing and with technology - which I am about to rip on a little - we can click a few things and spend 30 min together having a nice conversation and learn from each other. Powerful.
I found him on micro.blog and his blog because he champions something called Flipph.one This is a personal project where on the first Monday of the month he challenges people to join him with using a flip phone. While you are on that site - play his song “Burner” - I keep it on repeat.
Here you can watch his vlog at the conclusion of one of the weeks.
Techology has always changed people and culture. Neil Postman and others have elegantly described this processes. From the clock to the printing press to the internet.
With each new invention there are winners and losers. (Postman)
It is clear to me that in the case of social media - the users are the losers in the equation.
Since smart phones are the primary device that most people access social media from the smart phone has received and will continue to receive a blacklash. Go to YouTube and search flip phone and tell me what you see?
Is deleting your social media accounts and still using the smart phone enough?
Is this “problem” limited to just a small % of the population that “cannot handle it”?
I think it is complicated and requires a nuanced approach.
I would recommend saving L. Warner’s website and engage with his art as he wrestles with these questions.
I am on that journey an well.
As I have thought more and more about not using a smart phone, I have gone through the various things I use a smartphone for and thought about how I would adapt.
Music, Photos, Podcasts I can find workarounds for.
imessage is one I cannot.
Messages has become how people have conversations. How my wife tells me she is done in the store while I sit in my truck waiting for her.
It is how I get included in events via a group text.
I think I could train people that I do not use text messages as much anymore. But then it might impact my social engagement with friends.
If I ever did go flip phone - I would not spend the time to learn to hunt and pek out a text. I would be call me or nothing.
Love to hear your thoughts.
My iphone screen time report 52min of Daily Use Down 45% over last week.
Today I am breaking the first rule of No Social Media Club.
I deleted my twitter account that I created in 2010.
In 2018 I deleted Facebook. It took me a while to click the button. But I did and I never looked back.
In in 2019 I deleted my Instagram account. I was more addicted and doomed scrolled instagram way more.
What I learned was people on instagram who I was keeping up with, thought were friends where not my friends.
Today I deleted my Twitter.
It was more difficult because I keep thinking I need it to keep informed. That is a lie.
People like Cheri of HyperText Monster reminded me that my emotional health is more important than FOMO.
I also do not want to be a part of the surveillance capitalism
No More Doom Scrolling. I am free.
In March of 2021 took our family pop up on a week long solo camping trip to the South Llano State Park.
It is known as a birder park and the spring is a perfect time to come and see them for 2 reasons.
First, most of the trees are pecan and unlike live oaks (another popular tree in our area) drop their leaves. So it is easy to see the birds.
Second, this area of Texas is part of the bird migration pattern and there are several birds in the spring that we might
While there I spoke with a man who was an experienced birder and he told me what he does to track the birds he sees.
He keeps a bird journal and uses a simple setup. Each year he starts a new list. He counts each bird he sees once and logs it. He counts the male and/or female as one sighting.
An example of headers might be:
I hope you try it.
PS. Get yourself some binoculars too!
Austin Kleon in his 2014 book Show Your Work quotes C.S. Lewis about being an Amateur.
The fellow pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten
C.S. Lewis h.t. to Austin Kleon
That is the power of the modern internet. Finding others amateurs to help you on your journey. That is why I started to write. That is why I hope you write on your own blog.
There are far too many amateur’s posing as professionals putting together courses to make a buck, selling you the 9 steps to a successful life.
Rather find a fellow student in your field but who might be a few grades ahead of you and ask to study together.
Fall of 2019 I deleted my facebook account.
Fall of 2020 I deleted my instagram account.
I never looked back.
Do not doubt that there was an addiction. It took a week for me to stop wanting to pick up my phone and look at what is going.
It was not just “The election” or “Covid fatigue” - It is that I wanted my mind back.
People tend to complain about Facebook as if something recently curdled. There’s a notion that the social web was once useful, or at least that it could have been good, if only we had pulled a few levers: some moderation and fact-checking here, a bit of regulation there, perhaps a federal antitrust lawsuit. But that’s far too sunny and shortsighted a view. Today’s social networks, Facebook chief among them, were built to encourage the things that make them so harmful. It is in their very architecture. - Facebook is a Doomsday Machine, by Adrienne Lafrance The Atlantic December 15, 2020.
In your bones you know it is true. Facebook preys on our worst behaviors to make money. They use the power of addiction to make users use more.
Break the cycle.
In the words of The Chicks “Be an Army of One”
I made a list of my friend that really matter to me. I made 100% sure that I had their details in my contact list on my phone and I used it. I sent iMessages. I called. I emailed.
I will continue in 2021 and I will do more of it.
I do want to share what I am doing. I want to provide context for the conversations I am having with people. Life’s celebratations and life’s difficult lessons learned.
I want to say. “Here’s what I see, here’s how you can be part of it.” Seth Godin
A new school but old school personal blog.
Welcome to my micro.blog
Here, I write for you.
For you, I am always here.