Focus & Digital Balance

Blogging about Digital Detox and unplugging, customizing our connectivity, new technologies, distraction management, and a healthy lifestyle in our hyperconnected world

Events: Why analog counter-culture will disrupt technology

Dear ( OFFTIME )-Fan,

we proudly present two events – one free, one behind the paywall – together with the Berlin Tech Open Air Festival:

Why analog counter-culture will disrupt technology

(DE/EN)

offtime _ andre wilkens _ analog is the new organig _ analog ist das neue bio

We invite you to a fireside chat between André Wilkens, author of “Analog is the new Organic” – a book that has recently seen a massive hype – and Michael Dettbarn, designer and co-founder of ( OFFTIME ). Wilkens and ( OFFTIME ) both promote human approaches to the problems of hyperconnectivity and the age of distraction: After all, our way of life has to follow individual needs and desires and not vice versa. Together with you we want to exchange perspectives on the power of (digital) renouncement and ask: ​Where’s the human in the digital?

Espressobar, Zehdenicker Str. 1, Berlin
6:30 PM, Thursday, July 16, 2015
– free, but registration required –

Details and registration

The Power of Off in a Connected World,

talk by Michael Dettbarn

(EN)

offtime _ TOA Berlin _ Berlin Tech Open Air

Today, getting off the grid has become almost a political statement and it is for many a form of personal liberation. Their aim: finding and shaping environments where digital connectivity is limited and other social rules apply. These “other spaces” are not only good for our health, productivity and creativity – they also hold the potential for transformative change by offering opportunities to play, experiment and try out new utopian ideas.

Michael Dettbarn, designer & co-founder of ( OFFTIME )
TOA Open Air, Alte Teppichfabrik, Berlin
14:30 PM, Wednesday, July, 15, 2015

Details und ticket sale
(20% off)

Have a good ( OFFTIME ),

alex und das Team

Coming soon: How do you experiences your digital ( OFFTIME )? Submit your story to the OFFTIME-Story-Contest and win great prices.

Awareness hacks! Are we in need of a more mindful way of living?

Are we in need of a more mindful way of living? 

And what role can technology play in this?

Sebastian Neubauer Offtime Interview (Picture)Recently, we had the pleasure of talking to Sebastian Nienaber for an exchange of ideas, and a little Q&A.  Sebastian Nienaber worked with startups in Germany and UK as an internet entrepreneur, recently set up a meditation and mindfulness consultancy (Profuse29) in London and is also working on setting up a conference on Hacking Happiness (13. – 15. November 2014, London), a Summit on Human Potential, Performance and Wellbeing.  Continue reading

The detrimental effect of mobile phones on personal relationships

relationships - mobile phone distraction

We all know what it’s like to be distracted by our mobile phones. We’ve also all experienced what it’s like when the people around us are distracted by theirs. It’s no wonder that comic Charlene deGuzman’s timely video ‘I Forgot My Phone’ had 8 million views in its first week online, and now, just 9 months later, has amassed over 43 million views on YouTube. It’s an astute parody about a phoneless woman living in a hyperconnected world that’s both amusing and haunting in equal measure. Continue reading

Establishing Distinctions: OFFTIME sits down with Sarah Genner


sarah genner offtime interview

This week, we had the pleasure of inviting Sarah Genner over for an exchange of ideas, and a little Q&A. Sarah Genner is a researcher in the field of media psychology- but hails from a diverse academic background that also includes media studies, communications, political science, and linguistics. She’s about to complete her PhD at Zurich University, and in September she’ll take up a guest posting at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
  Continue reading

The Aestheticization of Unplugging

focus unplug fashion disconnect

A still from Focus: Life Gear’s promotional video

From Fitbit to Google Glass, we’ve all heard about the advent of wearable technology, even if we’ve never experienced it first-hand. While it hasn’t exploded in the way that some tech-hype-enthusiasts had predicted, it’s only in its genesis phase.  A recent study by the Pew Research Center has shown that 83% of industry experts believe that by 2025, wearable technology and the Internet of Things will dominate the mainstream. But, as Rob Walker pointed out in his piece for Yahoo! Tech last month, there’s a fascinating counterculture emerging: “some of the most interesting gadgetized accessories these days have an unusual twist: their real function is to thwart or disable technology. Call it the rise of wearable anti-tech.” Continue reading

The Power of Unlugging: The Wider Discussion at re:publica and beyond

14102490296_d0be30b445_b

At ( OFFTIME ), we strive to promote active discourse on how we want to live and work in this hyperconnected world. Wherever we go, we bring the discussion with us, and re:publica 14 was no exception. We got people thinking and talking about information overload, the benefits of unplugging, and their on/off-line balance using different mediums. Here’s how: Continue reading

Why We Are Together but Feel Alone

solitude-57920_640 (1)
Umar Zulqarnain’s reflection “Why We Are Together but Feel Alone” considers technology’s impact on our relationships with other people. It was originally published on the Huffington Post. Republished with friendly permission.

Over the past few years I have gradually become very antisocial. I remember a time when I always wanted to be „connected“ to the world, to be talking to people, to be around people. I began to find that I preferred time to myself in quiet contemplation. I began to prefer my own company. It was time I could spend attempting to look within myself, to learn about myself. Recently, when I decided to delve back into the social realm, I was in for a surprise. The more people I would meet and talk to, the more I would see recurring patterns. It was an unexpected opportunity to learn about myself and others.

Continue reading

The Art of Detachment: Why Unplugging is the Best Way to Recharge

blog_illustration1When leaving the workplace- after shedding an average day’s worth of blood, sweat, and tears- you just want to close that door behind you, and take a load off. But it’s never that simple, is it? Workplace stress, like unruly toilet paper stuck to one’s shoe, hitches a ride with you out of that door. The pressures of modern working life leads to most people bringing their work home with them whether they want to or not. If they don’t, there might be missed opportunities or severe repercussions. But what are the costs of our home lives becoming extensions of our working lives? What are the knock-on effects of work-infested leisure time?

Sabine Sonnentag’s paper, ‘Psychological Detachment From Work During Leisure Time’ (2012) cogently explains the benefits of leaving all work-related thoughts and duties where they rightfully belong- the workplace.  Not only is detaching from work something that people should look forward to and enjoy doing, but it actually comes gift-wrapped with a whole bunch of bonuses for your health. Continue reading

Why can’t we switch off? Social Media is the new Junk Food

offtime_SocialMediaNewJunkFood

Social Media is the new Junk/Fast Food – and it is even more powerful. Social Media is as important as food and sex. While the effect of desire for sex and food on our brain seems clear to us, the need for Social Media, is not so obvious. I believe that too much too much junk information is not beneficial for our health and well-being but there are solutions. However, we need more of those solutions and have to develop and use a new form of technology: technology that doesn’t exploit us, but that does support us.

The following blog post is based on a TEDx Talk Alexander gave at TEDxEutropolis 2013 – “Are we connected?”. You can watch it online here or read the whole argument in full length below.  Continue reading