30 Day Challenge Update

Last month I took on a pretty ambitious challenge: for 30 days, I would use my iPhone only as a phone. Basic call and text functionality was allowed, but no email, maps, checking scores, etc.

This was very difficult for the first couple days. But after that, it got much easier. Around day 15, I realized around 5pm that I left my phone at home that morning. I made it through the 30 days with only a couple small cheats–testing the mobile compatibility of a web site (work-related), taking a few pictures, and helping a tourist downtown get directions to their hotel. I didn’t use it to check email or a score once.

Anyways, here’s what I learned:

  • The forced time to sit and think made me very productive. With the time to and from work to think, I found myself coming up with creative solutions to challenges encountered during the day (as well as coming up with some good ideas for new projects / tasks). I thought I would be bored out of my mind, so it was nice to discover that I’m able to keep myself occupied 🙂
  • I read a lot (primarily on the bus ride home). It was nice to be reminded how enjoyable a good book is.
  • I found myself using a phone as a phone more often. I almost never call anyone. It was nice to connect with family members and friends with whom I don’t do a very good job of keeping in touch.
  • What I missed most of all: podcasts. I had taken for granted how helpful these are in getting me going in the morning. I was like a kid at Christmas on day 31.
  • Most interesting observation: my wife had no idea I was doing this until I told her on Day 29 🙂

Since this ended, I’ve gone back to checking email, etc. on the phone. It is pretty damn convenient. But I’m now much better about putting it away when I get home and leaving it at home when I’m going out with my wife or friends. And I don’t automatically put in the headphones and fire up a podcast if I’m running out for lunch; a lot of times, I use the “nothing time” to just think.

I’d highly recommend this challenge. The first few days are tough, but if you make it through you’ll be amazed at how little you miss it.


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