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Thoughts from eleven days without a phone

Sanna Stefansson
Sanna Stefansson
2 min read
Thoughts from eleven days without a phone
It did wonders for my reading goal though.


Thank you past self for pouring a glass of orange juice all over the keyboard of your brand new Macbook Pro in the summer of 2011. It taught me two things: I need a safety distance of one meter between my laptop and any beverages and back ups should be done religiously and often.

Seriously, kids, back up your shit.


The sun was setting and I stood at the back of the bungalow boat, with one hand on the anchor rope, the other holding the depth measuring stick to see if it was shallow enough to stay.

I leaned ever so slightly forward and my phone jumped out of my pocket. It didn't fall, I swear it actually leapt. It was not an accident on its part; this phone was done with me.

This was Saturday November 21. My partner and two fishermen did a rescue attempt, but it was too cold, too deep, and the current too strong. Well, that's a bummer, I thought. I guess I was overdue for a phone detox, and assumed I would just get a new one on Monday.

We got the fireplace going, did a quick swim in 7 degrees, opened a bottle of red and made ourselves comfortable on the couch with our books.


Timing was ... unfortunate. Apple released the iPhone 15 Pro a month ago and it was currently sold out everywhere. My partner suggested it would be a great time to switch to Android. I consider that to be a deeply offensive suggestion.

Found one place which promised to deliver in three days.


After roughly 72 hours I noticed my mind becoming slightly less fragmented.
My thoughts more coherent. I felt bored, but calmer. Fair tradeoff.

I brought my old iPad with Google Maps downloaded everywhere I went, in case I got lost.

I scribbled addresses and directions on pieces of paper when I left the house.

I sat in a cafe with my flat white and tried to figure out if the couple next to me were on a first date or something else.

I thought about how inconvenient life without a phone is. When you're not able to be on smooth autopilot you're forced to pay attention to what happens around you.

It is not all bad.


Closing my laptop means being out of reach.

There is a strange sensation of no longer being part of society.

Usually, I check my email and messages several times per hour. Without even being aware. Open, close, open close, read something here, something there, open, close and on it goes.

I noticed all the times I would, without real awareness, stare on my screen: in line at the supermarket, past seven stops on the subway, between switching tasks while working.

I was mostly out of reach for 11 days and nothing happened. Nobody got mad that I wasn't available. Nothing important was missed. Life went on.


New phone finally arrived. I had missed taking photos of little moments, scribbling down notes with thoughts as the came up, feeling connected with friends I rarely see. The dopamine rush was intense.

One hour later (and ever since) I miss the freedom and I keep thinking about what the fuck we are voluntarily doing to our brains.


Sanna Stefansson

Lisbon-based Swede who dabbles in creative writing and has too many hobbies. By day I freelance in Product and Project Management and advocate for working remotely.


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