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.
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