I recently tried to buy a beeper.
I literally couldn’t find one that I could actually get service for. I looked high and low on eBay, mobile service providers, etc—no dice. Turns out the only people using beepers these days are nurses.
At first the thought was something of a novelty. Imagine you’re at dinner with a friend—you hear beep-beep-beep as they check the number to screen the call—then they say, “Excuse me, I have to go make a call.” Not only would that be hilarious, but it would be a forced way of really screening your calls.
Then 2020 happened—without question a year in which I was more “connected” than ever before. Between working tireless hours on my start-up and being transfixed by the news, I realized I was on my phone a lot. Almost all of us are these days, and it’s hard to realize how much of your time is consumed by your phone until you find yourself reaching for it and it’s just not there.
This all got me thinking. As a marketer that’s working on a start-up, I’m already as “connected” as can be for the 40+ hours per week that I sit in front of a computer. Phone, email, Zoom meetings, Twitter—I basically watch that stuff in real-time. Isn’t that enough?
And I found myself wondering:
- What am I missing out on during all that time that I’m staring at my phone?
- Is there really any ROI from a business perspective to being reachable 100% of the time and checking Twitter incessantly?
The rational person in me knows there are plenty of better things I could be doing with my time. And the ROI? It’s just not there. In fact, I’ve found that I do my best deep work—the work that does drive ROI—when I’m not as connected.
So I decided to do something about it.
Moving to Hawaii was in some ways a toe in the water towards stepping away from all that noise. And while my dreams of owning a beeper didn’t come true, I am now the proud owner of an Alcatel flip phone.
This baby’s got numbered buttons so large that your grandma can trip and lose her glasses, yet still find her way to dialing 9-1-1.
Perhaps most appropriately, I wasn’t even able to transfer my contacts from my smartphone to my new flip phone because smartphone data is stored in a file format my flip phone can’t ingest (I tried). As a result, I whittled my contacts down to a mere 12 contacts and manually punched those into my flip phone.
No apps, no internet, no nothing.
If you want to get in touch with me outside of the 40+ hours I spend in front of a computer every week, give me a call. I have a feeling I’m not missing much.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s taken actually making this move to realize how much I liked my smartphone… and how much I was on it. This is an experiment, but I’m curious to see how it goes.
Today is day one of flip’n….
Ask yourself—how connected is too connected?