Focus & Digital Balance

Blogging about Digital Detox, unplugging and healthy lifestyle in our hyperconnected world

an important change

Dear Offtimer,

We’re writing to let you know about an important change.

We’re extremely proud to say that over the last few years, OFFTIME has made a significant and lasting impact on the technology sector. The perspective and features that OFFTIME has pioneered since 2012 have been included in Google’s recent Digital Wellbeing announcement, Apple’s Digital Health initiative, and Tencent’s initiatives on addiction. Needless to say, many more companies are following suit.

Beginning with our modest crowdfunding campaign, it’s been quite the journey for us. Since then, we’ve been involved in numerous public engagements, research and talks, achieved recognition as one of Google’s Best 100 Apps of the year, been cited in over 1,500 news articles, and our solutions have attracted over two million users while creating more than 2250 years of undistracted time. After creating the momentum that we did, seeing big tech companies adopt and promote the ideas and features we cultivated is the latest progression.

Now that Tencent, Google, Apple, and other large tech companies have made our core functionalities available on their platforms and apps, we’re announcing today that we are shutting down OFFTIME for iOS and Android. From here on out, the app will no longer be available for download, while existing users will be able to continue using the apps for the next few months until they fade out.*

The magnitude of this milestone should not be overlooked. While we may be shutting down, we truly believe these initiatives symbolise an important transition in the tech industry’s worldview. It’s changed from,”if you have a problem with our product, don’t use it” to, “as tech companies, it’s our responsibility to design products in a way that puts people first”. Tencent, Google, and Apple embracing digital health in this way signifies the strong consumer demand for these features, and their tangible, far-reaching benefits. We hope that this empowers employees of other tech companies to advocate for humane technology and positive ‘post-tech’ changes. In an industry that’s still largely focused on capturing and retaining the attention of its users, these features serve as a novel competitive advantage.

While the features announced by the big tech companies only cover basic functionality, this is certainly the first step in the right direction – a path that contemplates what consumers want and we as humans need, and incorporates these ideas into the design of their products. It’s also a promising step towards tackling issues like fake news, mental health, loneliness, inequality, and addiction. The fact that the big tech companies have picked up the baton and begun this journey for themselves should be celebrated. Not least for the fact that there’s more awareness and discussion around this topic than ever before, as well as more resources available to make further progress. Behavioural addiction and manipulation on scale in relation to technology is a gigantic challenge for the individual and our society as whole today.

We’ve always called for technology that supports its users rather than exploits them. We envisioned how some of the first technical features and non-technical approaches embodying this ideology would look. Now it’s up to others to continue pushing this frontier. Some of the current competition was sparked by our work, while others, like Levi Felix, Tristan Harris, Kevin Holsh, and Fred Stutzman started at around the same time. Therefore, we’re happy to see that initiatives such as Time Well Spent/Center for Humane TechnologyEthicalOS, and many others will continue to engage with these vital issues in their own ways.

This is still the dawn of our digital revolution – an age where technology is at our core, both as individuals and as a society. We urge you to keep thinking critically about the role that technology plays in your lives. We remain hopeful, and are looking forward to a future where the industry genuinely has the individual’s and humanity’s best interests at heart.

It was a great journey. We’re thankful for all the support we received from our users, investors, mentors, team, friends, and families – and for the chance to work on something bigger than ourselves. In the end, it’s all about staying human in a digital age.

All the best from Berlin,

Alexander and Michael,
Co-Founders

September 2018

*If you bought the app after July 1st 2018, please feel free to get a refund by reaching out to refund@offtime.co. Unfortunately, on Apple’s iOS it’s possible to refund purchases made in the last 90 days only – please be quick.

On the “Future of Work” and our place in the “Internet of Things”

work awesome - robots - cyborgs - offtime

We’ll be talking on two exciting topics in June and July: about the “Future of Work” and our place in the “Internet of Things”. For this we’re invited to the “Work Awesome – Conference on the Future of Work”, the “Work Awesome – Conversations on the Future of Work”, and “The IoT – Kitchen Talk – ROBOTS, CYBORGS, SENSORS”. Please come by, say hello, and join the conversation!

Find the event details below: Continue reading

The Right To Disconnect & Digital Detox – Adjustment of Labor Law in the Digital Age

Amélie - unplug _ digital detox _ offtime

Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain / (c) Claudie Ossard Productions via Youtube

In France a new adjustment of the labor law makes it’s way through the parliament: the right to disconnect. If you work in a company of 50 employees or more – and not in the consulting and IT industry only as it was previously – your company has to install tools that allow you to disconnect during your free time. Tools such as VW that power down their Blackberry servers, delete emails as with Daimler or the usage of our ( OFFTIME ) apps. The amendment has come about because studies show that in the digital age it’s become increasingly difficult for people to distance themselves from the workplace during their off hours. This new law allows people to get the full advantage of their time off. Something we can only support and also found supporting evidence in our studies. People who take Offtime can better detach mentally, relax and have a more work vigour which translates into a higher productivity.

Article 25 – Adjustment of the Labor Law in the Digital Age (Artikel L. 2242-8): Continue reading

Shared Offtimes – A Smart Way to Invite Your Friends to Put Their Smartphone Away

201605 _ OT _ Offtime _ Invite people to digital detox and unplug

Looking for a smart solution to free your surrounding from being clued to their screens? You found it! You can now invite your partner, friends, colleagues and kids to a shared Offtime. Check out our latest release that allows you to invite other people to your Offtime (Version 3.0+ on Android, Version 2.0+ on iOS). The ones who have Offtime already installed get a direct push notification directly to their screen that they just have to accept in order to go into an Offtime with you, everybody else gets a charmant email that you would like to give them their attention with a link to download the app and accept the invite. At the end of the shared Offtime an overview is shown with who stayed for how long. You’ll be surprised about the magic effect this has!

Enjoy your shared Offtimes!

// iOS
// Android

201605 _ OT _ OFTIME _ INVITE TO A DIGITAL DETOX

The internet is designed to manipulate you, but you can fight back with psychology

On QZ.com is a very nice article we recommend reading about ‘internet is designed to manipulate you, but you can fight back with psychology’ by Elliot Berkman, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Oregon. It’s very much reflects how we see it and brings also up insights we base our ( OFFTIME ) development on.

“Good self-control [is] characterized by the ability to avoid temptations in the first place. We often think of self-control as the ability to white-knuckle our way through temptation, but studies such as this one indicate that self-control can also be as simple as planning ahead to avoid those traps.”

Read the whole article here: http://qz.com/632119/psychological-tips-for-resisting-the-internets-grip/

Beyond Digital Detox and Singularity – How to stay Human in the Digital?

How to be Human in the Digital - Postdigital Posttech PositiveComputing - DigitalDetox - Anlaog

How about designing our environment and technology as we wish and need? We have the honor to give a little keynote at the CeBit next week Wednesday, 16.03.2016. For this I condensed our ideas and thoughts a bit more, here is an exclusive preview. Please let us know when your at the CeBit too, so that we can catch-up (we still have some free entrance, let us know if you need any – first come, first server).

Beyond Digital Detox and Singularity – How to stay Human in the Digital?

Continue reading

Hotfix is on its way (App News – 2016/02/08)

2016/02/08 – Sometimes it shows a very high device usage when OFFTIME is started (e.g. at the first use in the morning OFFTIME shows device usage for the whole night). However, this usage isn’t show in the activity log and is also cleaned during the further use of the app and device.

  • Status: A bug fix is currently tested – it should ship soon – Reviewed by Apple, new Version available in the App Sotre
  • Recommendation: wait for the update install the Update  (Version 1.2.7)

Offline-Places

Solitude Focus Sharing Unplug Comic

We’re listing and looking for ‪#‎Offline‬ places – you know: places which are analog and where there is really no or very limited network connection, internet or are technology-free zones – in Berlin, Germany, EU or the US. Permanent and temporary, existing because of technical gaps or social norms, on the countryside or in the city. Do you know any? If so, please drop us a line via on@offtime.co or @getofftime.

Some of the places we know already: Continue reading