02 Mar 8 analogue productivity tools for a digital age
At Time To Log Off we encourage you to disconnect from your digital devices on a regular basis and reconnect with the world offline. However, one of the reasons people give us for being permanently glued to their digital devices is that they need them for their work. They tell us that digital technology specifically helps them to be more productive.
We challenge that, as we know that with a lot of digital advantages also come many digital distractions. With that in mind, we’re sharing eight of our very favourite analogue productivity tools, all of which will help you excel at what you do, whilst still enabling you to (occasionally) put down your tech.
1.The Bullet Journal
The Bullet Journal is a unique customizable organization system that can be used as a to-do list, sketchbook, notebook and diary, all in one. It’s likely that you’ll use it for all of the above and that it will actually teach you how to do more with less.
‘Rapid logging’ is the Bullet Journal’s solution to the inefficiency that paper and pen-based systems sometimes produce. It consists of four components: topics, page numbers, short sentences and bullets all written in rapid logging format. Using short-form notation and bullet points which organise your entries into three categories: tasks, events and notes combined with a selection of personalised symbols, you produce a unique organisation system that works the way your brain works (and not the way a software designer’s brain works). Working in your unique way inevitably maximises your strengths and makes you more efficient.
It’s a system that’s becoming hugely popular and we’re reading lots about it online as more and more people adopt it. Those that do, say it’s far more efficient and inspiring than the existing digital equivalents. So give it a try!
2. The Hemmingwrite
The Hemmingwrite is a an old-fashioned typewriter but with a difference. It stops you from being distracted by the internet but still allows you to create and save files to the cloud. The device consists of a mechanical keyboard, an e-ink display that can easily be read in daylight, and access to cloud storage devices such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The battery on the wi-fi enabled setting will last for more than four weeks (take that iPhone), so it’s ideal for any desert island situation you might find yourself in. Or even for a week-long digital detox.
Being able to write and work without any distractions is something many of us would love to be able to do and the Hemmingwrite is the perfect solution.
3. Sticky notes
On the face of it sticky notes might look like one of the least exciting ideas on our list. But used as a digital detox aid and to enable you to put down your phone they are a great solution. Everyone uses their smartphone for making notes, and not having one on you for any period of time might make you a bit anxious about how you’re going to jot down ideas or make those crucial personal reminders. Having a pack of sticky notes at your desk, and another in your bag, is a great aide to switch off while also not losing track of any great ideas. (And given that many of our retreat guests report that digital detox stimulates their creativity you’re definitely going to need them).
4. An Alarm Clock
Buying an alarm clock is one of the most important parts of starting a digital detox journey. Waking up to an alarm clock instead of a phone alarm will prevent reflexive scrolling though social media and emails as soon as you surface – as well as stopping you from endlessly hitting ‘snooze’. The result is you’ll get out of bed when you need to – and you’ll start the day feeling calmer and more focused.
5. The Blokket
If the thought of switching your phone to airplane mode while you’re eating or out with friends seems like a step too far, the Blokket may be the perfect solution for you. Blokket is a simple phone pouch that blocks the signal from your phone when inside. It could be the perfect solution to practice being without your phone while you’re focusing on an important task, safe in the knowledge that you can fish it out of the little bag if the withdrawal gets too much at any time.
6. An Instant Camera
It might feel that giving up your digital devices and taking a digital detox will also involves you being deprived of some of the more creative applications of technology – like digital photography. However, not every precious memory captured should be snapped on an iPhone and then instantly uploaded to Instagram and Facebook, which is why we’re big fans of instant cameras. An instant camera allows you to take a photo and keep the print forever. We take them on our digital detox retreats and are endlessly amazed by the creativity they inspire.
7. An Hourglass
The hourglass is an ancient tool that is enjoying a bit of a revival. It’s a great way to measure the amount of time you spend on an activity without using a digital device, such as the timer on your phone. A large hourglass that measures an hour can be used to tell you know how long you have spent on a particular focused activity (say writing). Whereas a smaller, six minute, hourglass could be used for short breaks during tasks, say to check email, and as a reminder to stop during an activity and shift focus.
8. The Punkt Phone
The Punkt phone is a ‘non-smartphone’ that returns the concept of a phone to the basics. It makes calls and send texts, but that’s all. You can swap your smartphone sim into it easily via a number of handy adapters so you’re still contactable when you’re doing a digital detox, but you won’t be distracted by a digital screen. This stylish device steps away from everything ‘smart’ in a bid to help you become more focused but not be completely cut off from the world.
Eight ideas to enable you to log-off and be without your digital devices and maximise your productivity and efficiency while logging-off. Let us know if you give any of them a try!