Cell Phone Overuse and Reduction

I recently wrote about my quick trip to Seattle that mostly excluded the use of my phone. See that write-up below:


After two weeks of thinking about the impact of phones of adults, my kids, etc, I realized that I didn't really receive much of any value in having my phone so integrated into my working and personal world. I still use my phone for conference calls and calendar planning, but I have greatly reduced the notifications and the use cases for cell phone use that everyone else seems to live by. 

Why I reduced my cell phone time:

I've never had an active social media account until I recently added a twitter account in order to deliver and receive personal finance blogger information. As soon I setup that account I found myself continually muting adds and other non personal finance related noise. I am interesting in investing and real estate topics, I'm just not interested in dog videos and other elements of social media advertisements entering into my thinking each day.

What would Steve Jobs do?: 

I had read somewhere that Steve Jobs, the leader and founder of Apple, the company that created the iPad didn't allow his kids to use the iPad. He clearly knew the addictive properties and methods that these devices were based upon. 

I manage software development, and I understand that designing applications gives you full control of the data flow, how the app is used, how data is locked, etc. In other words, you have full control of the direction of the user experience. Used incorrectly, apps can easily promote addictive behavior- this is exactly what social media apps do, and this is exactly what I don't need on my phone. 

Bigger Bagel Store Impacts

I have been leaving my phone in the car for most of the weekend when I have free family time. Last weekend when my family and I went to a bagel store for lunch. I noticed two other families with small kids directly across from us. In both cases, both parents were completely transfixed on their phones and unavailable to each other and their own kids. I watched one parent scold his young child for being too loud without ever leaving his eyes from his own phone. 

Removing all notifications: 

After the bagel store lunch I knew that it was time to completely silence my phone, remove the twitter app from the phone and even reduce my cell phone data plan, as I mostly use my phone at work and at home where I have wifi. 

I'll still keep twitter on my home computer, but I just don't need to remind me of anything on my phone. 

Silencing the iPhone X.

Here is what I did on my phone. 

-First off, I removed most of the apps from the home screen. I really just need a few, my podcast app to help with my daily two hour commute, my Evernote app, my Calculator and Photos app and phone and text apps, beyond that however, I just don't need to see the other apps all the time.

-Under notifications, I changed the settings to "never" show previews.

-I turned the "Do Not Disturb" function on, and I set silence to "Always"

Do I still need a Phone?

Yes, I need to check my phone between meetings at work to plan for the next meeting/conference call, presentation or planned discussion. I also need to take the occasional call from the school when my wife is unavailable. Beyond that, I don't see a need for so many annoying lights, sounds and updates when my phone is now limited to just a phone call communications device, not a social media reminder.

These changes should help to reduce the dependence on my phone. I will try this new silencing out for a month or so. I recommend checking how often you use your own phone for social media and determine if you are getting any value out of it. In my case, I certainly was not...

Note that I am not a financial or legal professional, nor am I licensed to sell securities, or any other financial instruments. Given this statement, I strongly recommend that you consider this blog as entertainment value. Although, I sincerely hope that I can motivate you to learn to build your own financial knowledge and wealth.