Everyone has one. They use them to text, download music, watch streaming media, check their email, send files, stay in touch with their friends, and talk to family members no matter where they are in the world. Cell phones are, for many people, an addiction.
Do you have what it takes to disconnect?
Cell phones are items of convenience. Items of necessity…perhaps, in some cases, with individuals who work on the go and need access to bandwidth 24/7. I’ll be the first to admit that my job, who I am, and how I do business is all related to the Internet, so I can appreciate the “need” for something, such as a broadband connection. And as a traveler, I need a laptop rather than a desktop, so I can take it with me no matter where in the world I travel to. However, for the vast majority of people I would not consider a cell phone as a need. Rather, a convenience..
It is a rare occasion that I actually speak with a client. And when I do, I use Skype, which is now up around 24-25 million users online simultaneously daily, because almost everyone has it, and communication between Skype users is 100% free. No bulky cell phones to carry around, no extra chargers, no worrying about roaming fees or contracts or limits on minutes or international long distance rates: just 100% free. And if your client doesn’t happen to have Skype and wants to have a phone chat, Skype has pretty decent per-minute rates to call landlines and cell phones around the world, along with monthly plans for extended stays in certain regions, offering you (for example) unlimited calls to certain areas of certain countries, depending on what plan you pick. I have a package, for example, that is 7 dollars a month and gives me unlimited calling throughout the regions of Mexico I need, since this is where I’m headquartered presently, and you can do similar plans for different countries. But only if you need to. People who have Skype on their computer can have phone calls and video conferences with you real-time for absolutely free, no matter where in the world you happen to be. It’s an amazing tool for people working in digital media.
So first of all, when you can rid yourself of the cell phone you can literally start putting anywhere from 50-150 dollars a month back in your pocket, depending on how much your monthly plan is. Skype (and programs like it, such as Google’s new phone program), allow for free communication on an international level with everyone you know that has the same service, so if the only thing you are using a cell phone for is communication, this is a no-brainer decision: out with the cell phone, in with the 100+ dollars a month back into your pocket.
Second of all, you should notice a drastic increase in your daily productivity, no matter if it is reading a book, enjoying a walk in the park, watching your favorite show, playing a computer game, having dinner with your spouse, taking time off with the kids, or any other scenario. This is because you no longer have this gadget spliced onto your hip/hand/wherever that is controlling your life and manipulating you into spending money on an unnecessary feature.
If you have an Internet connection (which you do, because you are reading this), you have no reason to be paying for a cell phone bill if the only thing you use it for is talking to friends/family/clients. You can be doing that for free. It’s only if you rely upon a cell phone for a living that you could simply blow it off.
I work off of a laptop. I have a set window of working hours per day, during which I check and reply to emails, as well as make any necessary phone calls to clients. Outside of those windows, I don’t exist to the rest of the world. I literally disappear. I am unplugged and unwired and free to roam as I will, without the entanglements of someone texting me, leaving me a voicemail, calling me, and the continual, incessant ringing of the phone in my pocket, always begging for my attention. And as long as you have a laptop or desktop that you have access to on a daily basis, such as home (and who doesn’t have a computer at home?) you can easily get rid of the cell phone
Nowadays If I need to talk to my family, I call them via Skype. I have friends on Skype, and some of my clients use Skype. Free communication, no matter where I am in the world. And since I work via a laptop and have access to a computer on a daily basis, there is no point in me having a landline phone or a cell phone, because I can communicate when and how I need simply using a headset, microphone and a broadband Internet connection with my laptop. And it is controlled by me. I have no telephone number that someone can call. I have email. And once I have established a working relationship with a client, they go into Skype. But I still keep the vast majority (I would estimate 95% of my communication with client is done through email) of my clients on an email-only basis. This could be you, if you haven’t already made the step.
Living without a cell phone takes a little adjusting to. The first couple of months I was fidgety because I didn’t have this appendage attached to me. It was almost like losing an arm. But I suddenly found myself investing more time in creative projects. I started working out more, I started having more ideas, I started having 2-3 hours more a day to work on projects, and it was like a whole new world had opened up to me. I had forgotten what it was like to live free of the connection.
Disconnection is not for everyone. Some people can not handle being unplugged from the main vein of media. But for those of you willing to take control of your own lives, the option is there, putting your hard-earned money back in your pocket where it belongs, and freeing up more time every day for you to do things, whether it is work on creative projects, a hobby, spend some time with your kids and spouse, and just enjoy life on your own terms.