By Week Two I needed to change tactics...

I am mobile phone junkie, that's the truth of it. A detox has been on the cards for a while.

My plan for this Challenge was to take the SIM out of my iPhone 6s and to do the detox from 8am to 5.30pm each day, and then to use my iPad and Android phone in the evening. For a month.

The first two weeks I pretty much followed this, but with travelling around and attending a funeral of a friend I found I used my Android backup device (with Wi-Fi) more and more to fill the gaps. Buying a physical train ticket when visiting family again seemed anachronistic to the extreme. Typing on the MP01 was fine for simple replies but took forever as I like to write in full sentences – it reminded me why I loved going over to Blackberry back in 2010! I discovered that not so many people text these days. With my main SIM in the MP01 I had to turn off iMessage and FaceTime, not as big a deal as I had expected. Soon found that most people on my Contacts list, including customers, use Facebook Messenger.

By Week Two I needed to change tactics. My SIM returned to my iPhone and I used a second SIM so that I could forward all calls to the Punkt phone; I could then allocate time to work distraction-free. My fitness band, a Xiaomi Mi band 2, was connected to Facebook Messenger so if there was a message I could look at my phone if I needed too. (It says who has left the message so I can respond accordingly.)

The MP01 itself is charming and simple to use, with none of the extras found on other dumbphones, The audio sounds are really fun and the battery life, as you can expect, is amazing. I had no trouble fitting either my giffgaff/O2 or EE nano-SIM in an adapter in the phone at all. Swapping wasn't too hard.

I think towards the end of the period I started using a spare Android phone without a SIM – like an iPod – to catch up on podcasts, catch YouTube videos, etc. that I’d missed out on listening to. My Facebook detox was much more successful but I still posted there via the Instagram app. I used my laptop so much during this month; I realise that I have transferred all my typing to customers and website-use to this from the smartphone. Explains my normal battery drain by mid-morning!

In future I plan to keep using the call-forwarding function in the mornings when in the workshop to keep my start clear. Working from home, this means leaving the smartphone in the living-room on charge and out of the way. The same for overnight, or if out with friends. I will try to limit podcasts to the afternoon or when doing repetitive tasks. Doing this demi-detox helped to break my iPhone use, I think: I was worried about not having iMessage and the Mail app but I didn't miss any messages. My contract has just ended, all I have to do is decide which Android phone I want to get…

In many ways, I failed my full detox but I learned a lot, I had underestimated how much I rely on things like Facebook Messenger for work and family, how few people (other than my wife and youngest daughter) text. Most of the texts I did send were for authorising accounts and delivery updates.

When travelling around I realised how dependent I was on Google Maps and travel apps for tickets, but for social gatherings I saw the benefit in having a dumbphone, in not being distracted by devices when people were about.

I have broken my night-time smartphone habit: it now stays downstairs plugged in to charge. Calls are forwarded to the MP01 and its alarm works fine. Aiming to stay smartphone-free in the mornings 8am to 1pm these days: more realistic than all day, while still ensuring that the heart of the day is more focused and distraction-free.

Digital detox!

Michael King
Nuneaton, England

Back to the Challenge