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Author's profile photo Andy Silvey

SCN’s Day Without A Smart Phone Challenge

Although fascinated by enterprise technology, I’d never really been into domestic or
home technology.

Until 2 years ago I’d refused to get sucked into buying a smart phone and was
blissfully happy with an old Nokia phone, like  this:

Picture 002small.jpg

Then 2 years ago, calculating airmiles I found there were enough to order a
Samsung Galaxy SII, ok, let’s go for I thought and ordered it with the airmiles.

The phone arrived in a nice box, a couple of hours were spent setting up emails,
and then over time, applications were installed, Skype, Viber, WhatsAp etc.

The phone, really a computer in my pocket opened a new world, the 8 megapixel
camera was invaluable for catching interesting spur of the moment photo opportunities
especially with the children in situations where one wouldn’t normally think to
bring the camera. The videos possibility proved equally rewarding for the same

Surfing news sites and web sites of interest and keeping up with areas I am involved
in was easy, just lift up the phone and see the latest news.

My conclusion became, this device which I’d never been interested in, became really invaluable,
and I had become a convert.

Fast forward two years, and these days, more and more I hear my children say, Dad leave the phone
and come and play with us, oh my goodness, am I a sinner and feeling bad especially as
through my work I now have an iPhone 5 with work email integtrated, like this:

Picture 007small.png

Mark’s thought provoking piece last week was for me a wake up call and a reminder about any

doubts we have that we are really getting the right amount of quality time for our work and our

domestic life.

Then this weekend a funny thing happened, I left the phone charger at work, at the office, and
had I been on call I’d have gone out and bought a phone charger, but no on-call this weekend,
so I thought, I’ll put the smart phone away and swap the sim card into an old Nokia.

That was on Friday evening.

Today we are at Saturday evening and I feel liberated, emancipated, free. As the smart phone’s
battery is flat and I free from it, free from it’s distractions which are so easy to get sucked
into, just a quick look at this a quick look at that, just check this, just check that.

Not using the smart phone for the last 24 hours has provided a freedom from distraction which
I’ve not seen for a long time.

And this got me thinking, I challenge the community, to set themselve’s a personal challenge,
to take the sim card from the smart phone and put it into an old phone for a Saturday or a Sunday.

This is a personal challenge, because nobody is competing against anybody else, in this exercise,
we are simply competing against ourselves.

So the challenge is laid down, for one Saturday, from the morning, until Sunday morning, 24 hours,
put the smart phone away and use an old non-smart phone.

In a nutshell, this means:

1) Pick a weekend when you are not on call or not expected to be checking work email

2) If you have an iPhone with a small sim card, as preparation for this activity you might need

to order a normal size sim card for the same number that you can put in the older phone,

so check the sim card size and order the bigger sim card if necessary

3) Saturday morning when you get up, take the sim card out of this kind of smart phone

[if you don’t know how to get the sim card out then look on google]

Picture 007small.png

4) And put the sim card into this kind of phone

Picture 002small.jpg

5) Keep the sim card in the old phone until Sunday morning

It will be a rewarding journey, and it would be interesting for those who try it to report in the

comments of this blog, how it went, what they felt and how they used their new free time,

unleashed from the smart phone.

Looking forward to people’s feedback and experience.

We could take this further, one weekend per month, no smart phone. Why only one weekend,
why not the times when we are not on call, if we’re not on call we don’t need to read our email,
and if people need us they can call us can’t they, you know, the old way.

So, give it a try, and report back how it went.

All the best, and enjoy your new free time,


p.s. pictures are mine, taken in the kitchen on a Nikon D3100, which I’m still learning

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      Author's profile photo Jason Lax
      Jason Lax

      It's a good challenge and I'm not sure I'm ready to give it a try just yet. However, I have occasionally turned of the cellular data on my smartphone so that I won't be distracted with notifications or tempted to checkup on things online.

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Jason

      thanks for your reply and feedback

      Switching off data is shall we say a pseudo way of a achieving the strategy advocated in the blog, the only challenge with your pseudo solution is the ease with which data can be enabled and therefore the difficulty to resist temptation.

      Still, for the stronger willed it is a good solution.

      Alas, it seems we're not the only ones doing this, checkout this guy in the New York Times article he's also swapped his iPhone for an old Nokia !



      Author's profile photo Steffi Warnecke
      Steffi Warnecke

      Hello Andy,

      now that's one hell of a challenge! ^^

      My private phone is a Nokia 6020, that I have for quite some years now (at least since 2005, because the oldest photo on it is from then) and I, too, refuse to change it to a smartphone.

      I have a Blackberry as company mobile and an Ipad mini to go with it, so I'm pretty much hooked up smartphone-wise by my company. At first I thought "well, could be useful, somehow...". But as you put it:

      free from it's distractions which are so easy to get sucked

      into, just a quick look at this a quick look at that, just check this, just check that.

      I got pretty fast pretty used to have the world in my pocket. I even started checking emails on weekends or on my way to work. The temptation is so high, the only way to stay away from it is to be far away from the devices. Or having no internet connection whatsoever. 😀

      The challenge is tough, but I want to stay away from the work-related emails for the weekends and holidays. I will be strong! I... hope...

      Thank you for another thought-provoking blog! 🙂

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Steffi,

      thank you for your reply.

      It looks like you are ahead of the curve on this, and the rest of us are just discovering it and trying to catch up 🙂

      We are living through change and it will be interesting how this evolves.

      All the best,


      Author's profile photo Steffi Warnecke
      Steffi Warnecke

      Oh I'm not ahead of the curve (or maybe I misunderstood). ^^ The temptation is still there, I checked my mails on the weekend. 🙁

      Maybe I should disable the vibration alarm on my Blackberry, since the sound of that from my apartment hallway (where it "lives" when I'm at home) seems like an unresistable calling... "brrrrr... check me.... brrrrrr... check me..."

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey
      Blog Post Author

      you're right Steffi, you're in the same mess as the rest of us 🙂


      Author's profile photo Steffi Warnecke
      Steffi Warnecke

      😆 Thank you! Nobody likes to be an outsider.

      Have a great day! ^^

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      This is a great idea.  I have an old "world phone", that I can use in an emergency.  It didn't occur to me until I read your blog that I could take that with me on weekends, instead of my usual dual-phone companions (Blackberry for work and iPhone for personal stuff).  I think I will give it a try this coming weekend; that way I have a phone if I *must* make a call, but at $1.40 per minute, I'll be unlikely to do so!  And it has no web/data capabilities.

      This morning I also read about "#PhoneStacking", a movement where people going to a meal or event together stack their phones in the middle of the table.  The first one to give in to temptation and check their email, etc. has to pay the tab for everyone!  (If no one checks their phone prior to the tab arriving, everyone pays for themselves).  This is a great way to reinstitute the lost art of conversation.

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Marcia,

      great to see another convert.

      Don't forget to come back next week and let us all know what happened 🙂

      Thanks for the #PhoneStacking.

      All the best with your new found freedom,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Andy,

      Great idea to get attached to our family and kids (i mean away from work), atleast on the weekends. Our work might not permit us to do the same on working days.

      This is definitely an challenge to almost everyone who are deep sunk in the Smart World.

      I recently heard that "Doing something which is supposed to do would be easier than resisting something which is not supposed to".

      Similarly, checking our mails/ reading news on a weekend is not actually very important than spending time with our family. But resisting the same is a hard task.

      And we may combine both the great ideas (of Andy and Jason), switch the phones on the weekends and try to toggle the data connection on the phone (to resist using smart phone during lunch times/driving etc) on weekdays.

      Ofcourse this is an excersie to control our temptations and not challenging any other.

      PS: be sure/aware of all the consequences while trying the same.


      Krishna Teja Peddada.

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Krishna,

      thanks for the feedback, that's a nice quote,

      "Doing something which is supposed to do would be easier than resisting something which is not supposed to".


      Good luck with the challenge and let us know the consequences 🙂