My Cellphone Became a Landline For A Week. Here's What Happened.

Recently updated on: October 13, 2023

Key Takeaways:
  • We are always connected to the Internet through our mobile phones, which is not good for our mental health, so I started this cellphone challenge.
  • The challenge was harder at the start but is easy to adapt to.
  • Its pros are mostly in the relational and mental health aspects, while its cons are in the communication and productivity aspects.

My cellphone hours have steadily increased recently, which has affected my overall productivity and well-being. So, I tried using digital minimalism again, like uninstalling all my social media accounts.

However, the results of digital minimalism are not as effective. I also used an Appblocker to block social media access to browsers and other distracting apps. Now, I had to try a different route.

Then, the idea of treating my phone as a landline for seven days popped into my head. The thought is that I would leave my phone in a designated location as if it's fixed to a wire.

The goal is not to totally disconnect my phone from the Internet but to limit my urge and the twitch of reaching out to my phone every few minutes.

For the young people out there who don't know what a landline is, it's a wired telephone. So, you can't take it outside your house.

Green Black Telephone
Photo by Pixabay on

The Challenge:

For this new challenge, here is the list of the conditions:

  • I can still connect to the Internet while inside the house. 
  • I can only bring my phone to my charger's length, around 1 m.
  • I will leave my phone at home when I go outside, whether for work or recreation. Constant connection has its pros and cons, especially during emergencies. However, up to the late 90s, phones were usually wired.
  • I can still use social media as long as I use my laptop. To avoid procrastination, I am also incorporating my desk timer for productivity.

I also had previous challenges to boost my productivity, so I'll add this to the list. Some of my previous productivity challenges are:

Lessons Learned:

This challenge brought me back to a simpler time when our phones were wired, and we were disconnected from the Internet but more connected to people and our environment.

In just seven days, the challenge provided a reminder of life away from our mobile phone handcuffs. However, it also posed some disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of the challenge.

Phone-as-a-Landline Challenge Pros:

I've become less dependent on my cell phone. We have become more obsessed with our phones than we did a decade ago. So, treating my cellphone as a landline reminded me of what it's like not having my phone all the time, even if I have to make do with not having information at my fingertips.

The urge to check my phone every minute disappeared. The first couple of days were the hardest because I never realized I had developed a mannerism of looking at my phone, especially my social media and video streaming sites. However, it became easier by the third day. 

I had more rested eyes. Since my screen time decreased, I felt less tension in my eyes. I also noticed that I can sleep better since I don't bring my phone inside my room.

More meaningful conversations. One of the best benefits of the challenge is having more meaningful conversations with my friends and family. I've become more in the moment to listen and converse.

More time with my thoughts. Since I didn't have my phone to distract me, I had more time alone with my thoughts. I had more mental energy to think about many things and write them down. 

Setting better boundaries. Because I don't hold my phone, ready to answer chats and calls, it became a boundary between me and the constant notifications.  

Phone-as-a-Landline Challenge Cons:

Phone calls are often missed. This commonly happens when I have a delivery. However, I think I can work around this using a dumb phone.

Getting one-time passwords (OTPs). OTPs are an important two-factor authentication method for getting scammed or hacked. So, not having a phone can be a chore, especially if I'm out of the house. But this can also be resolved using a dumb phone.

You may miss some chats and emails on time. A problem I encountered was being unable to update my whereabouts, like telling the location of a dinner or where you are in a mall.

Limited use of productivity apps. I have many productivity apps for exercise, budget, calculator, notes, health, etc. So, not having my phone nearby can be disadvantageous. However, I can revert to using a pen and paper for habit tracking and expenses, then transferring them at the end of the day.

No access to mobile wallets and online banking services. This is the biggest disadvantage I experienced throughout the challenge because it lessens my access to financial services. However, I can always use cash, which is a great control for expenses.


Limiting my mobile phone use is especially helpful for my mental health. However, I must also recognize that it poses challenges, especially in communication.

For now, I will continue with this challenge and hopefully turn it into a lifestyle. I also realized that a basic phone can help my issues with emergencies.

Would you like to try this challenge, too?

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