In an earlier post, I mentioned John Mark Comer and his call to silence and solitude.
I wanted to follow up that post with a very practical step you can take: make your smartphone a dumbphone.
How to Turn Your Smartphone into a Dumbphone
These recommendations come from Comer himself…
- Take email off you phone.
- Take all social media off your phone, transfer it to a desktop, and schedule set times to check it each day or, ideally, each week.
- Disable your web browser. I’m a bit lenient on this one since I hate surfing the web on my phone and use this only when people send me links. But this is typically a key facet of a dumbphone.
- Delete all notifications, including those for texts. I set my phone so I have to (1) unlock and (2) click on the text message box to (3) even see if I have any text messages. This was a game changer.
- Ditch news apps or at least news alerts. They are the devil.
- Delete every single app you don’t need or that doesn’t make your life seriously easier. And keep all the wonder apps that do make life so much easier – maps, calculator, Alaska Airlines, etc. What Knapp put in one box and labeled “The Future.”
- Consolidate said apps into a few simple boxes so your Home Screen is free and clear.
- Finally, set your phone to grayscale mode. This does something neurobiologically that I’m not smart enough to explain, something to do with decreasing dopamine addiction. Google it.
He also suggests no texting and driving, putting the phone to bed before you go to bed, and keeping phone off until after morning devotions. (Comer, 2000, pp. 226-227)
I have tried these in various combinations, though I have not followed this exactly. My biggest favorite has just been to turn off notifications and badges, even for text messages.
Give it a go, and let us know what you think.
Comer, J. M. (2019). The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World. WaterBrook.