Many reading this would probably agree with me that smartphones (the iPhone particularly) are amazing. As a journalist, the iPhone is my most valuable tool. It lets me have instant access to news, notes and any other dozen things I need on a daily basis. More importantly, it frees me from my desk.
But as great as the iPhone is, it's easy for it to become hard to put down. Next time you're out, just keep track of how many times you glance at your phone –- or how often your friends glance at theirs. For one guy, Jake Knapp, a Design Partner at Google Ventures, the amount of time he spent checking his phone became a problem. So, a few months ago, he made his smartphone less smart:
It started taking away my appreciation of what was going on right then, in the real world. When I got bored for just a moment I'd take the phone out. And each time I was basically saying, "Gee, anything is better than this."
I felt like my attention span – not so great to start with – was getting worse. My head was kind of buzzing around all the time. And for what? The things I read on the phone tended to make me feel at best unsatisfied (because there's always more information out there that I haven't seen) and at worst unproductive and uncool.
Knapp ended up stripping his iPhone clean of all "distractions." He unistalled virtually every app. He shut off most push notifications. He even disabled Safari. And his one-week trial of dumbing down his iPhone became a regular thing. Do you have it in you to try making your iPhone less smart? Check out Knapp's blog to see how he did it.