A dumbphone for 30 days: how it didn’t change my life (but also did)

As mentioned in a previous post and on my twitter, I used a dumbphone for 30 days. Specifically, a Nokia 6300 4G.

There are a lot of videos out there about how using a dumbphone has completely given that person back their attention span, focus, positivity, and so on. They sell it as a life-changing experience.

I can’t say I’ve found that to be the case.


What I have experienced as a result of using the Nokia, however, is:

The downside of this, however, was that I could no longer just shout at Siri to remind me to do something at a particular date, time, or location. Things therefore fell through the cracks now and then. On more than one occasion when driving I had to find the nearest place to pull over, the entire time chanting what I wanted to remember, so I could write it down. Lots of jokes about ‘burner phones’ and drug dealing! In short, a balance of positive, neutral, and negative things.

There were indirect side effects, such as thinking more about getting away from screens – I bought paper books and actively tried to read more. I didn’t read on my phone before, but thinking about screentime made me consciously move towards paper rather than my iPad or laptop.


My screentime barely changed. It averaged at around 5hrs/day before, during, and after. Now I’ve swapped back to my iPhone, the iPhone screentime only accounts for 34mins/day (avg) of that.

One reason for this may be that I primarily use my laptop when I’m at home – so I was still heavily using social media and engaging in mindless scrolling. It only cut down my time when I was out of the house. On days where I pulled long hours at work, away from home, my screentime dropped to mere minutes – 15-20mins, which I imagine was the ASMR videos I watched when falling asleep.

Does this mean my laptop is the problem? Possibly. Does that mean I’m going to try 30 days without my laptop? Nope. Not yet, at least.

How have I changed my habits now?

Um. Not massively.

I’ve deleted a bunch of apps – there were lots I only used on my phone, and not using them for a month showed I really didn’t need or miss them. I therefore still don’t notice their absence.

The scrolling at work came back almost instantly, which was disappointing.

The notebook will stay as I love that little thing.

So far I’m still reading more, and specifically more paper books rather than kindle ones. I even got a library card!

What did I learn?

Would I recommend the experiment?

I would, actually. I learnt a lot about how I actually use technology, which in turn made me more mindful about it.

If you use your phone as your primary device, you may find it has a more significant impact – maybe you will experience the lifechanging effects those influencers describe!

Either way, it was an interesting experiment.