I ditched my smartphone for a year and a half: ‘I felt much more in the flow and had more mental energy’

Renée OnqueCNBC
Anastasia Dedyukhina ditched her phone for a year and a half. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconAnastasia Dedyukhina ditched her phone for a year and a half. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Anastasia Dedyukhina spent a lot of time on her smartphone when she worked in digital marketing; so much so that she wasn’t sure if she was selling a product or if she was one.

Ms Dedyukhina’s next move surprised her: she ditched her phone for a year and a half.

“I never expected it would be for such a long time. I was just planning to do it for a few weeks, but I liked it,” she tells CNBC Make It.

Yet, the transition wasn’t an easy one. It “actually took me about four or five months to commit to the decision,” Ms Dedyukhina says.

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She bought herself a “dumb phone” which has no touch screen and none of the functionality for apps and social media.

But even after making the switch, Ms Dedyukhina “kept moving the SIM card between the smartphone and the dumb phone.”

To fully commit to ditching it, she gifted the smartphone to her mother. “Then things were surprisingly easy,” she says.

Here’s what Ms Dedyukhina’s experience was like during her year and a half without a smartphone.

‘I felt much more in the flow, and I just had more mental energy’

Ms Dedyukhina quickly learned that not having a smartphone required much more planning. When meeting up with friends and family, she had to remind them that the best way to reach her was by text, not via messenger on social media platforms or email.

Getting from point A to point B also required more effort than it used to. Thankfully, Ms Dedyukhina was living in London at the time, which “actually has maps exhibited all around.”

An unexpected side effect of not having a smartphone was that Ms Dedyukhina “started talking much more to people on the streets.” She became more aware of the people she encountered as she travelled, and noticed things like their emotions and the nice clothes they were wearing.

“I felt much more in the flow, and I think I just had more mental energy,” she says. “I ended up building a business (and) writing a book because I think I wasn’t spreading myself thin.”

Ms Dedyukhina left her digital marketing job and started Consciously Digital, where she works as a digital wellbeing expert. During that time without her smartphone she wrote a book about how to develop a better relationship with technology.

“I mean whether I would do it again,” Ms Dedyukhina says about ditching her smartphone, “Probably, but I like to be reasonable and down to Earth.”

“Sometimes (I) do need maybe like a few days,” she says. “Just swapping your smartphone for a dumb phone for two (to) three days can be very liberating.”


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