I gave up my smartphone for a week and lived with a phone that only places calls — and I hated it

Key Points
  • I gave up my smartphones and used a basic phone called the Light Phone for a week.
  • It's simple and only places phone calls.
  • The Light Phone didn't offer enough features, and now I'm back on my smartphone again.
Living with a 'dumb' phone was the most stressful week of my life

I recently returned to work after maternity leave. I found that my hectic schedule was leaving me very little time with my daughter. To make matters worse, the short amount of time I did have with her was constantly interrupted by a symphony of pings, buzzes and tones from my two phones telling me my attention was needed elsewhere.

It was time to unplug.

I purchased a Light Phone, a minimalistic, credit card-sized cell phone designed to remove all distraction from your life. It doesn't have texting, apps, GPS or a camera — it only makes phone calls. Then I turned off my smartphones to see if I could get by for a week with something more simple.

So how did it go?

Not well.

It turned out that, for me, living without the many conveniences a smartphone has to offer was nearly impossible. It was an incredibly stressful week. I had trouble getting in touch with anyone without texting, I missed some important work emails, I got lost while driving to an appointment and I was late to a meeting because I couldn't find a taxi. I never realized how heavily I rely on apps like Google Maps, Lyft and Uber. Plus, I really missed having a camera in the palm of my hand.

It was quite nice on the weekend, however. My husband and I took a ski trip to Lake Tahoe and I loved just enjoying the mountains without a slew of texts distracting me all day. I borrowed my husband's phone whenever I wanted to take a photo. This could be a good vacation phone for those that really want to get away from it all.

Another thing I loved were the evenings with my daughter. I plan to keep my phones on silent and tucked away when I get home each evening until she is in bed. I don't want her to grow up seeing me with a phone in my hand at all times.

I definitely did not miss having social media in the palm of my hand while using the Light Phone. I noticed, on a crowded bus one morning, that I was the only one not staring down at my phone. It made me think that just a decade ago everyone was looking around instead of down, and as a result I have decided to delete Facebook and Twitter off of my phone.

Light is coming out with a new phone that includes some of the things I missed most, like texting, my contact list and an alarm clock. That is a phone I may actually consider.

For now, I'm going back to my smartphones.