May has been an interesting month for me. My phone went kaput.
|RIP Nexus 6P|
so I ordered a Pixel 2 to replace it and switched over to using an old Samsung phone I had lying around with no phone service or mobile data while I waited for the replacement to arrive. Then due to a shipping problem the replacement didn't arrive for several weeks and I ended up "roughing it" for a while.
|2012 called… it wants its technology back|
It was a bit of an adjustment but an interesting experiment for me. In particular
- WiFi only — I couldn't communicate with anyone if I wasn't near an access point
- No work account — Couldn't access work calendar, chat, or email on it since it was too old to use with my company's device policy
- Some of my frequently-used apps would not install on Android 4.3
I felt some of the pros & cons you'd expect, but some surprises too. Leading up to that time I'd also been struggling through a ridiculously stressful period at work, so being a little harder to reach was kind of a reprieve. I had also just finished reading Cal Newport's book Deep Work on achieving focused success in a distracted world, so having fewer distractions worked nicely and I was able to rely more fully on some pen-and-paper strategies for focus and productivity.
The biggest change was the lack of work chat on my phone, both at home and at work. In my role there are dozens of people trying to communicate with me over chat, email, or in person on a daily basis. It's rare to go 30 minutes without someone popping up on chat for troubleshooting help or an impromptu strategy discussion with a group. I don't always feel just how prevalent it is day-to-day but I sure felt its absence. Some of the burden just transferred over to coworkers, some turned from chat into emails. I'd like to maintain some restrictions on how I use chat going forward and see what develops after giving the situation some time to stabilize.
Less convenient access to my calendar for work during the day was another big change, not being able to sign in to my work account. I've come to rely on calendar notifications to buzz me for upcoming meetings and tell me where to go, and without that I ended up late or missing for several meetings, and only noticed the "where are you?" messages in chat afterwards. I got a little time back from some of those missed meetings, but also sunk time into some reactive catch-up conversations after some of them.
One kind of surprising aspect was how not being able to be spontaneous affected me. My plans had more "momentum" to them for better or worse since I wasn't getting messages or able to quickly look up info that would have led me to update them, and I would have to decide on time & place to meet beforehand for social activities. I felt out of the loop but a little more in control of my weeks since I could plan on a slightly broader time horizon, not having so much minute-to-minute noise and deliberation eating up my planning time.
Overall the advantages weren't as extensive as I would have expected, but I got to step outside of my normal mode of operation for a while and understand better which aspects of it were serving me and which weren't.