• Andrew Wien

Make it difficult

If you haven’t heard, I’m breaking up with my smartphone. I’ve been in a toxic relationship for too long, and it is time to get out.

Contemplating the breakup gives me anxiety. Will I miss my phone? Do I underestimate how much I value convenience and overestimate how distracting it is? Deep breaths. I made a clear-headed decision last week, and now it is time to execute and manage through the anxiety.

The problem I’m solving for is how to spend less time on my phone and more time with the rest of the world. In finding a proper substitute, I took advice from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.

Clear writes that if you want to do behaviors more often, you should make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. The problem with my current smartphone (iPhone 8) is that it makes things too easy. To do anything, I pull out my phone, push a few buttons, and that’s about it. Texting a friend, looking up directions, browsing social media, reading the news, snapping a photo. It even has handy shortcuts for features I use often to make them even easier.

Clear writes that the opposite is true for behaviors you want to reduce—make them invisible, unattractive, difficult, and unsatisfying. How do I make using a phone more difficult? Easy. Tonight I’m switching to the smallest “smartphone” on the market (Unihertz Jelly). While this phone runs on Android and has access to all the apps, using the apps seems paralyzingly difficult. The screen is less than two finger widths wide. It takes about 4 of these phones to cover the screen of my iPhone 8.

Here we go! How would you feel about making the switch? Comment below and let us know.

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