In looking at writing today, I went through the “55 tips to help you say goodbye to your things” from Fumio Sasaki’s book “Goodbye, Things” that I continually discuss and use as my personal workbook for minimizing the clutter in my life.

Two of the things that he mentions were sticking out to me today. The first is, “Ask yourself why you can’t part with your things.” and the second is, “If you lost it, would you buy it again?”

It started a chain of thoughts in my mind. I keep thinking that I don’t need all of these applications on my iPhone. There are over twenty apps that I am for certain that I do not use on a daily basis or at all except for the one time I downloaded them. The next thing that came to mind is that the last time I went through and tried to delete apps that were a distraction or that I wasn’t using, I turned around later and downloaded them again.

I ask myself, “Why would I do that? What purpose is that app on my phone that caused me to redownload it back onto the device?”

My first problem is a lack of willpower. Last year, before I made my resolutions for this year, I would wake up early in the morning, go downstairs and into the kitchen, and start to gorge on whatever sweet things I could find. I felt like there was an emptiness in my body that I needed to fill. It wasn’t hunger, just emptiness. I made it a resolution that I would limit the amount of sugar I would actively hunt down in the morning.

Second, I have an enormous amount of disk space on my phone. I have an iPhone X with 256 GB of space. Do I need that much room? The more I think about it, the more I regret that I have that space. I regret it because I have no reasoning for trying to fill the phone with as much information as I possibly can because I know it can handle it. As one of my friends said a few days ago, while he was quoting Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame, he said, “This phone has more computing power in a small package that it can power a rocket and fly him around in space.” (I may misquote everybody involved, so I apologize!)

I am using my phone as a supercomputer, filling it with all this stuff, but missing the point of the phone in the first place. The phone should:

  1. Make a phone call.
  2. Check any messages from friends, family, etc.
  3. Check mail. (But even then, I could do that when I get home or wake up in the morning before I start my day. It’s not like I have any important emails at the moment that I have to answer.)
  4. Call 9-1-1 or any emergency calls.
  5. Tell time and date, in case my current watch has a dead battery.
  6. Remind me of things, such as medication times and important dates.

Honestly, that’s all I need the phone for. The only added thing that isn’t a necessity but could be a bonus is if it could take a typed message. Other than that, I don’t need the phone for anything else.

We depend on phones for so many things that we forget what the necessary things we need it for. Luckily, I live in the city where I am around a lot of people, so getting lost in the woods or needing the compass functionality of the phone is not a necessary thing for me to use. I only listen to one podcast, “Podenstein’s Lab,” and I only listen to it during car trips that I know that I’m going to be in the car awhile and not talking to anyone. I don’t like to listen to the radio, which is why I listen to the podcast. I’ve tried listening to audiobooks, but if I’m not 100% into the material, my mind starts to wander, causing me to miss half of what was said.

Am I telling you to get rid of your phone or downgrade? No, but I may do that, just for the reasoning of getting rid of all the distractions that I continue to download.

If I need to make a note, I have small pocket style notebooks that I use to write important messages to myself or thoughts that I have for later dates. If I need to play a game, which I only play one game on my phone, I must have too much time on my hands to not want to either talk to someone or that I can’t cure my boredom with something else more valuable to my time. Also, the weaker my eyes become, the more difficult the small text on the phone is, and you can only increase the size of the text to make things readable before changes to prescription need to be made.

Someone asked me if it was that important that I need my Apple Watch? And, can I live without it? The answer is yes. I could buy a watch that could tell time, show me my messages and emails, and keep track of my heart rate and possibly sleep patterns (of course, if you saw my sleep patterns, you would probably throw the timepiece out the window!). I like the idea of minimalization. I think it is a healthy way of living and as a future writer (heck, you could say I am a writer with the fact that I own a few blogs and a YouTube channel that I have to script!) the fewer distractions in my life, the better the quality of my work.

Maybe the first step this year is to look at my phone and decide what needs to stay, and what needs to go, and decide not to download it again if it is not going to be used.

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