Recently a friend and I decided to spend a Friday working from a nearby island. It was a great change of pace at the end of a long week. I really enjoy finding opportunities to co-work with friends; it’s a great opportunity to catch up, get a new perspective, and discuss ideas. One topic we discussed was smart phones - those great little computers that fit in a pocket and can do almost anything. But are they really great?
When you really think about it, what do you spend time doing on your phone? For me, there are two categories of answers. The first is the things I’m happy to do on my phone and which I consider quite valuable uses:
- Getting directions to wherever I’m going
- playing music
- Reading without my kindle
- Misc work tasks on the go - messaging, calendar, email, etc.
- Quickly looking things up
There’s a common theme that ties most of these together - they are mostly short tasks done away from a computer! I’ve come to realize that my productive work is done at a computer, not on a smartphone. The smartphone is a complement to the computer, but not a replacement when it comes to doing productive work.
Unfortunately, I’m also a fallible human. I don’t use my phone for strictly productive work while away from a computer. I also play games, read twitter, and spend more time than I am proud of scrolling through short-form videos. Because the phone is so low-effort, I’ve found I’ll often pick it up even when I have access to something better for the task at hand - namely my laptop. As it turns out, I’m a big stupid dopamine-seeking monkey!
I’ve come to the realization that I don’t really want or need the latest and greatest phone. It doesn’t need to have the largest screen or the fastest processor. I’ve decided that my next phone will be smaller and less enticing to use, and that it’s better that way.