...[phone-free celebs are] not trying to disconnect from everyone, but they are trying to get away from that feeling of being tapped constantly on the shoulder by all the calls, texts, and emails.

So many celebrities ditch their phone, disconnect from their social media, log off entirely.

A few years ago, Ed Sheeran shared a strategy...He hasn’t had a phone since 2015...Being phoneless hadn’t cut his contact to the world, Sheeran said, just reduced it — and that was the point. “I have friends email and people email, and every few days I’ll sit down and open up my laptop, and I’ll answer 10 emails at a time,” he said. “I’ll send them off, and I close my laptop, and then that’ll be it. And then I’ll go back to living my life, and I don’t feel overwhelmed by it.”

Read and watch enough celebrity interviews, and the lesson becomes obvious: that the most powerful and connected device in your life shouldn’t be within arm’s reach at all times. All that does is invite distraction and makes it too easy to disengage from your life every time you get bored or sad or curious even for a second.

It sounds a little like I’m advocating for the return of the ’90s, when the computer was a giant box that lived in a central room of your home and the only way to use it was to go to it. And to some extent, I am! I’m increasingly convinced that my primary computer should be a device I use on purpose — that I sit down at, operate, and then extract myself from until the next time. Whether it’s a laptop on a desk or an iPad on your nightstand, your computer should be a place as much as it is a device. And when you’re not in that place, you’re somewhere else. The computer doesn’t come along.

Over the last few weeks, as an experiment, I’ve moved as many apps as possible — the obviously distracting social media stuff but also anything I can live without on a minute-to-minute basis — off my phone and onto my tablet and my laptop...

So far, it’s been great. I’m realizing how much of a crutch my phone really has become: I would open up TikTok just to keep me company on the walk to the kitchen or scroll through Threads while I waited for the microwave to finish. Now, I’m not sure I’m doing any less of those things in aggregate, but at least I’m doing them on purpose. I’ve turned time-wasting into a deliberate activity — I sit in my scrolling chair and scroll away, then I get up, and the scrolling stays put. And best of all, when I leave the house, there’s nothing to scroll at all.

There has always been talk in tech about removing friction: the obsessive corporate desire to make everything easier, faster, fewer clicks, fewer chances for you to decide not to click that ad or buy that thing or like that post or upload that photo...It should be a little harder for someone to distract me while I’m eating dinner with my wife or hanging out with my kid.

It’s not about ditching technology, just about doing technology on purpose.

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