I spend a lot of time on the computer completing my freelance writing projects, and I also spend significant time on the Internet dealing with my multiple blogs, promoting my services on LinkedIn, and networking with other writers and entrepreneurial types on Twitter, Google Plus, forums, and other blogs.
But when I’m not on my computer, I want to be unplugged from work and the near-constant distractions of the Internet. That’s why I don’t have a smartphone.
The Dangers of Smartphones
Granted, some of this applies to most phones, but I’ve seen far too many people doing dangerous things with their smartphones, like texting while driving (let alone talking while driving), and what I think is especially stupid, texting or reading with their phones while in crosswalks.
In short, smartphones and cell phones take people away from being fully engaged with the their environment. That can be very dangerous, and it also reduces the overall experience of being human.
There’s also mounting evidence about the negative impacts of constant connection to the Internet on how the brain works. I’ve written much more about that here.
I Do Have a Cell Phone
And it’s a Tracfone. Overall it costs me about a hundred bucks a year and it allows me to do the basic communications I need to when I’m away from home: calling and texting. (Now what do those smartphones and their two-year commitments typically cost?)
But my phone doesn’t have very good Internet capability, so I never use it to get online. That means when I’m away from my computer, I can be more in touch with my surroundings and my companions.
Does It Hurt My Freelance Writing Business?
Maybe, but it’s unlikely. It’s rare that responding to an e-mail at 7 a.m. on a Wednesday morning will make much difference compared to responding to it nearly instantaneously at 4 p.m. the previous Tuesday afternoon.
Why You May Actually Need a Smartphone
Some people’s businesses require them to respond very rapidly to e-mail and phone calls, and to be able to access the Internet at a moment’s notice. I’m very grateful my business is not like that.
And some people need to stay in touch with family. They have kids, usually, and they want to know where they are and what they’re doing, and be available when their kids need them. But a regular cell phone also works for that.
And Smartphones Have Some Very Handy Features
My niece lives in Virginia and was recently driving in her car when her phone sounded an alarm and told her a tornado was in the area and that she should take shelter.
On a more mundane level, smartphones can help you get found if you’re lost, and, nearer to my heart, they have a ton of apps to help you manage your time and boost your productivity.
Do you have a smartphone? What would your life be like without it? Don’t have one (yet)? Why?