An old friend recently asked what I’ve been up to lately. Here’s the full answer as of this year:
Freelance writing. I’ve been writing full-time for 17 years now. Since the Great Recession of 2009, however, writing explanatory tech and business stories for Fortune 500 companies has made up the bulk of my work. That continues today, writing mostly for software and consulting companies, as well as some travel publications for fun.
Non-profit speaking. With the generous support of my good friend Craig, I started speaking to local elementary school students as part of my non-profit. We have more events planned in the fall, and it feels good to extend the movement beyond the book. Our first campaign includes giving away cool t-shirts to encourage people to “Live Heads Up.”
Starting my third book. It’s called Today I Crush All Negativity, and it attempts to explain when and how to be optimistic and when and how to be pessimistic, regardless if you believe the glass is “half empty” or “half full.” If all goes to plan, I hope to publish the by the end of the year. I can’t wait for you to read it. I’ve interviewed a few billionaires for their perspective and hope to do the same with some homeless folks, too.
Releasing my second album. I am so proud of it, promise it doesn’t suck, and hope you listen to it if you haven’t already. If you listen to just one song, make it “Sorta Social.” To promote the album, I even started a band to tour locally in Utah.
Middle-age parenting. My family is rapidly becoming an older, adolescent family instead of the early childhood one its been for a long time. I can just feel it—and it feels special. I can talk to my older kids like an adult, and the younger ones are very independent. As part of that, I’m trying to deepen my relationships with them to hopefully avoid any future “daddy issues.” I feel encouraged by that and am closer to my wife than ever before.
(Spoiler alert: Living heads up is safer, more rewarding, and more fulfilling than living heads down on a tiny screen.)
Anyway, we printed off a bunch of t-shirts, and Craig and I are giving them out to local K-12 students. Our first “assembly” is tomorrow, and I’m terrified of this happening during my brief remarks: Continue reading…
Here’s how I explained the idea in chapter 7: “Of all the research I’ve reviewed over the last decade, The Four Burners Theory is the leading cause of dying with regret. The theory argues that an individual’s life can be divided into four quadrants, or “burners,” of a conventional stove: family, friends, health, and work. “In order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners,” the theory states. “And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.”
But since publishing the book, I’ve slightly updated the more traditional definition of the four burners. I do this by merging friends and family into a single “social” category, which many people already do, while adding “hobbies,” which is a huge area that humans devote time to. In that way, the updated burners cover all of your bases.
The same gas limits still apply, of course. If you want to be iconic at the expense of others, pick just one and jack up the heat (think: Steve Jobs). If you want to be great, pick only two burners and run ’em hot. If you want to be good, pick three burners and cook moderately. If you want to be well-rounded and multi-dimensional, slow burn all four.
Twelve years ago I canceled every phone alert that didn’t come from my wife, every social media account, and many unimportant diversions. I wrote a best-selling book about the life-changing experience and received reader mail from all over the world sharing similar stories of sublime focus, better relationships, and greater fulfillment.
Better yet, I didn’t have to move to the mountains, quit my favorite hobbies, or commit social suicide to accomplish this. I didn’t even have to sacrifice my professional growth or even abandon my smartphone (the most empowering technology in my lifetime).
But I did have to change my default phone, screen, and technology settings to avoid fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome, a first-world problem that phones made mainstream. To do this, I silenced all my phone notifications and alerts (both visual and audible) unless they come from my wife and kids. Apps (and by extension my phone) are not allowed to interrupt my life under any circumstance. I reach for it when I need to use it. Never the other way around.
The only exception to this is phone calls, which is how true emergencies are still communicated. Thanks to a spam filter, I get very few phones calls. Turns out, most of life’s “emergencies” are easily handled by text or email, which I likely won’t see until I’m done with the current task at hand, which might take me a few hours, but I’ll still get it done in a reasonable amount of time.
But I digress. People who are way smarter than me, including many Silicon Valley executives such as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, take a similar approach to gutting their phone notifications. They do this because it’s the greatest life-hack of the 21st century. They do this because it helps them to reclaim up to 20 hours week, in my estimation, and up to 40 depending on how obsessed you are with doomscrolling, screen binging, and addictive gaming.
Let that sink in for a moment. THERE VERY PEOPLE THAT INVENTED THESE THINGS DON’T USE THEM AS DESIGNED.
Don’t believe me? The burden of proof is on you. The only thing I’m “selling” is more free time for yourself, which I’m convinced everyone of us can use to live a more meaningful life. Living heads down is no way to live. I’m convinced the world would be a better place if more people lived heads-up instead. That’s why I do this.
As the northern hemisphere reblooms this spring, I challenge you to swallow your ego, turn off your phone alerts unless they come from your closest loved ones, and see what you can do with all the distraction-free time I’m promising. Granted, I won the “high energy” lottery at birth. But it’s not the only superpower I use to seize the day.
Over the last two months, I’ve conducted a dozen interviews for my upcoming book on optimism and pessimism. I’m incredibly excited about the things I’m learning from psychologists, therapists, entrepreneurs, and near-death survivors. (Spoiler alert: People are amazing!)
That said, I’ve also wrestled with how much people can individually change. My heart and past experience recognize that change is possible. But it might be more incremental or slower than many of us hope for, which can be discouraging at the outset.
Nevertheless, one of my interviews produced a nuanced quote to drive this point home: “Change isn’t hard, but staying the same is much easier.” As Newton put it in his first law of motion (or inertia): “If a body is at rest or moving in a straight line, it will remain at rest or keep moving in a straight line unless it is acted upon by a force.”
So it is with change. It’s easer to stay at rest or in the same direction we’re heading. But we can also be the force for change. And this applies to logging off and fixing any offline imbalances as much as anything.
As a full-time writer, few things in life are better than receiving fan mail. Earlier this month, I received an uplifting email from a woman named Emily from Illinois. With her permission, this is what she wrote:
“I wanted to start this year by thanking you for sharing the offline balance movement through your book Log Off. I read it a few weeks ago and realized, to my horror, that I was spending an average of seven hours a day on my smartphone. Some of that was at work for professional communication — I’m 27 and work in a ‘young’ office where everyone prefers to text — but most of it was social media scrolling, wading into the cesspool that is Facebook comment sections, and feeling falsely connected to people I hadn’t had an actual conversation with in years.
“I fully deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts a week later and can’t believe how much my life and mental health have improved. It’s only been two weeks without social media and I have already noticed that I have far more energy for creative projects and feel much less anxious throughout my day. Your book totally changed my life, and I am sharing it with all of my Instagram-addicted friends. Thank you again for spreading this message.”
Emily’s experience closely mirrors mine over the last 12 years since first abandoning social media, deleting my phone alerts, and logging off for large sections of my workdays, nights, weekends, and vacations. In short, the added energy and free time gained to relax and create is astounding.
In my case, I estimate that limiting my phone use to only 1-2 hours per weekday (and less on weekends) saves me nearly 20 hours a week. Not watching TV saves me an additional 20 hours. So between those two screens alone, I get a full-time job worth of bonus time every week!
Obviously a large portion of those gains are spent on domestic duties and rejuvenating downtime. But an equally large portion is spent on creating things. Nurturing passion projects. Building side hustles. Some of my most recent finish lines include shipping my second full-length record (hitting stores Jan 31), conducting dozens of interviews for my third book (pictured), and getting my nonprofit off the ground to help more people like Emily change their life and reclaim lost time.
Granted, I was born with energetic DNA, and there are a lot of people who create and do a lot bigger things than I. But I wouldn’t have been able to achieve some of these minor accomplishments had I used the default and more popular smartphone, social media, and screen settings. That’s the real power of logging off. It buys us the most precious, finite, and fleeting resource that all of wish we had more of: time. And with even fewer digital distractions in life, we can do and be and relate to an even greater number of things, people, and relationships.
A close friend recently joked, “Stop doing impressive things, Blake. You’re making the rest of us look bad.” I’m honestly not trying to, but I am trying to demonstrate what’s possible after logging off.
I’m not the only one. The dentist from Bogota, Columbia that read my book says so. The tech worker from Sweden who read my book says so. Most recently Emily from Illinois says so.
What would you do with a part- or full-time job of extra time each week?
According to widespread reports, most people look forward to taking two days off at the end of the week. Not everyone does, though. These are their stories.
Humanity loves weekends for a variety of reasons. Topping the list: Sleeping in, unstructured free time, and a higher chance of leisure, extra-curricular activities, and social encounters with friends and family.
But not everyone is a fan of weekends. Although I was unable to locate any published research or studies on the percentage of people who dislike weekends, I recently interviewed over two dozen Americans who self-identify from that group. This is what I learned.
Work is the biggest reason
The vast majority of people I spoke to—well more than half—blamed an obsession with work as the reason for hating weekends. Most claimed to be self-prescribed “workaholics” and didn’t like to see their progress slow to a crawl for a couple of days while the rest of the world checked out and remained largely unreachable.
“I’ve always felt that people use weekends as an excuse to be lazy,” says Hope Alcocer, an “overly caffeinated” marketer from Chicago. “Your motivation and momentum is stunted as you hold your breath and wait until Monday. I understand the need for work-life balance, but I’m unsure who decided that two full days is required for such a thing.”
Milana Perepyolkina, a therapist from Salt Lake City, cites an aspirational lack of purpose when she’s not working. “During weekends I don’t feel like I’m making the world a better place,” she says. “The only way to change my displeasure of weekends would be to fill them with appointments with people in need of help,” which is difficult to do, she adds, because most of her patients don’t want to see doctors on weekends.
In general, the temporary idleness or lull of the weekend is distressing for some. “I don’t like to be bored, and I find myself getting bored on the weekends with too much free time on my hands,” says Beth McRae, a publicist from Phoenix. “Weekends just feel less productive,” adds Amanda Lauren, a freelancer from Los Angeles. “That stresses me out and then I feel really guilty about not working.” Continue reading…
I was recently interviewed by the largest newspaper in Chile about my book Log Off. This is what I said:
1. Why it is important to log of?
Staying online all of the time is a great way to burn out both body and mind. Twenty-first century evidence clearly demonstrates the negative affects to our mental and physical wellbeing when we fail to disconnect at regular intervals.
2. Why do so many of us fail to do it?
The internet is bottomless in its ability to encourage us to click on one more thing. As such, it feels empowering to keep clicking and getting rewarded for seeking out topics and relationships of interest. So we get sucked in and suffer from compulsive disorders. Then we find ourselves feeling empty and alone, because the internet can only simulate relationships, belonging, and even understanding. As sensory beings, we were meant to experience life, not just read or watch videos about it.
3. What’s the beset way to succeed?
Deleting all of your phone’s visual and audio notifications unless they come from your soulmate, children, or parents is my biggest recommendation. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook does this, because he knows that phones are just a tool, not something that should interrupt our life at every waking minute. There are a lot more specific recommendations in my book that many people have adopted over the years, but that’s where I’d start.
Working long hours is killing hundreds of thousands of people a year, according to the World Health Organization.
In a new study, researchers found that people working 55 hours or more a week are 35% more likely to suffer a stroke and 17% more likely to die of heart disease compared to people putting in 35 to 40 hours a week. That amounts to about 750,000 people a year across the world — and that was before the pandemic hit and rejiggered work-life balance struggles.
NOTE: You can alternatively watch this article on YouTube—it’s pretty cool and features some of my favorite movie scenes.
Hi, my name is Blake Snow. I am an author and practicing husband and father from Provo, Utah. I recently published my second book called Measuring History about an unknown Texas company that quietly changed the world. I hope you read it.
Many years ago, a hospice nurse from Australia named Bronnie Ware asked thousands of patients on their deathbeds to share their biggest regrets in life. This was number one: “I wish I lived a life that was true to myself instead of trying to satisfy others’ expectations of me.” This was number two: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
To avoid these common mistakes and prevent history from repeating, each of us must change our default, human behavior. The good news is there are three, science-backed daily habits we can adopt to accomplish this. I discovered these while writing my first book, Log Off, and have closely followed them to wonderful heights over the last decade.
People want their lives to have meaning. They don’t want a third of it (i.e., the ideal time spent working) to be spent in vain. So we delude ourselves into thinking that our work has some cosmic purpose to justify working more hours, which, on the surface, would suggest more importance. But quantity is not the same as quality. If I’m really being honest, my epitaph should read: “Occupation: Helped companies sell more widgets and advertising with written words.” None of us are that big of a deal. Yes, industry and economy are an important endeavor. But it’s not as important as sharing a smile with someone, realizing your child will be smarter than you, feeling insignificant amid a majestic landscape, experiencing and nurturing true love, finding your groove, watching an underdog upset the establishment, catching a wave, or eating a homemade chocolate chip cookie. The sooner we accept our dispensability and nothingness, the sooner we’ll rightfully fill our lives with greater, more qualitative meaning.
I hope you enjoy her delightful accent and questions as much as my answers related to sustainable technology use, how quarantine has changed the rules (or hasn’t), and what you can do right now to reclaim your nights and weekends.
Earlier this month, I received one of the nicest reader emails ever. With his permission (and edited for clarity), I share the letter in the hopes that it might inspire someone else:
Hi Blake. I want to let you know how great an impact your book Log Off had on my life.
You see, I was overwhelmed, unable to focus, distracted, and constantly tired. I kind of knew the source of it all, but was unable to express it, even to myself. Now, thanks to you, I have changed my relationship with technology, and my life is increasingly better.
A few things about me: my name is Mauricio Munoz. I am 48 year-old dentist from Bogota, Colombia. I love technology. I really like the internet and all the possibilities and access to information and communication that it entails.
I love devices like smartphones, but I realized, after reading your book, that I was addicted to those things. I was completely dominated by the dopamine fix that those devices and connectivity gave me. Now I feel much better. Thanks a lot, man.
Here are some major changes I’ve made:
Now I use a dumb phone. My office has a smartphone managed by my staff, but it’s only used for business.
I do own a smartphone, but I use it with no sim card. Like a tablet mostly for online banking, communication with family overseas, and for its very good camera. But I don’t carry it with me all the time, and sometimes I don’t use it at all for weeks.
I still use a first-generation iPad for reading books.
I have other laptops and desktops around, but I only use those on a need-to basis now.
I enjoy my free time with my family and myself more. I like my work more, too, and feel more present in every moment.
Thanks, Blake. Great work—your book changed my life.
Mauricio, muchas gracias for reading my book and saying so. I’m thrilled it had a positive impact and am humbled by your kind words. I hope to shake your hand in Bogota someday.
I was recently on a podcast to talk about my education and career path towards becoming a full-time freelance writer for the past 16 years. If you have 30 minutes to spare, I hope you enjoy my remarks. If you don’t have that much time, the short answer is lots of luck and persistence. Either way, I’m still pinching myself.
I was recently interviewed by Metro International, the world’s largest free daily newspaper, about my book. This is what I said and thought you might enjoy:
In your book description you say that excessive “internetting,” smartphoning, and social media make us miserable, Why do you think that?
That’s not my opinion. There’s an overwhelming amount of research that proves that virtual socialization is no substitute for the real thing. In fact, it’s even worse since infinite scrolling on screens is either curated highlights that make our own average lives feel worse by comparison, or endless online news that make the world sound a lot more worse and scary than it really is.
In this connected world, do you think you can really manage to live disconnected? How?
As outlined in my book, not only can we successfully disconnect, we can thrive more offline when we find a good balance of it. Smartphones, the internet, and social media aren’t all bad. But they can be if we allow them to be. The trick is setting boundaries in ways that allow them to work for us instead of letting them interrupt and dictate our everyday lives. Continue reading…
Not only is 2020 the start of a new year, it’s the start of a new “roaring twenties” (hopefully one that doesn’t end in another Great Depression). That’s exciting–the new decade part, not depression.
Regardless of what greater society elects to do, I’m here to tell you that individual people can change. Granted, a lot of people try and fail to change, especially in January. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us are incapable. It just means change is hard.
It’s easier, however, if we make small, daily choices that can have a big impact on our future prosperity, health, and fulfillment. For example, here are 10 simple things you can do on a daily basis to improve your future and slay the next decade of your life. Continue reading…
After years of asking, I finally caved into giving my oldest child a “smartphone” for her 14th birthday. I say “smartphone” in quotes because we really just bought her an iPhone without a carrier plan (aka the latest iPod touch).
To use her phone and send and receive calls and texts from a virtual number app, she must be connected to wifi. She’s happy for now, although this is likely only a two year stop gap until she starts driving and we start teaching her full smartphone etiquette before she leaves home.
But for now, we’re all happy. Especially since my daughter has agreed to obeying the following rules, as outlined in my book: Continue reading…
That’s me 10 years ago on my 30th birthday. Sunburnt. Pudgy. Elsewhere in thought.
I don’t mean to overstate my “condition,” but if you look at photos of me from 2003–2009—the workaholic, internet-addict years—you will see that my eyes rarely, if ever, smiled. I wasn’t depressed or miserable, per se, but I was in a perpetual funk. Wheels spinning without much forward movement. A prolonged period of FOMO which prevented me from thriving in the present with the three, happy cuties you see pictured beside me.
Back then, I neglected my family, my health, my spirituality, my social life, and my hobbies. Ironically, my self-absorption also hindered my work, because my efforts were so short-sighted. Hard working, yes, but with less purpose, focus, and fulfillment than I’ve experienced in the years since.
“We didn’t do as many fun things as a family and you rarely initiated anything,” my wife told me today. “You were always working nights, fixated on your phone, and brought your laptop to bed with you.”
Gross! A couple weeks after that photo, however, I would abandon that stagnant period of my life though a life-changing “Montana Moment,” which I wrote about in my book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. I’m so grateful for that experience and the decade that followed.
Obviously, we each learn different things at different times. But if my story can help anyone else in even the smallest of ways, we all win. Offline really is better. Fall down seven times, get up eight.
When I first started writing my book Log Off, I was surprised by the lack of research on excessive smartphoning, internetting, and social media. While there was some (mostly negative), there are still a lot of unanswered questions on how the behavior affects the quality of life in both children and adults.
To that end, I’m launching a nonprofit research foundation this year to study, promote, and lobby for the real-life effects plaguing so many. In the coming months, I hope to start conducting national surveys and educating the public beyond what my book started.
Until then, here’s a roundup of the most concerning research to date:
Over the last year, my book sales have spiked during year-end holidays, new-year festivities, start of summer, and back-to-school. I suspect that’s because my book is an introspective experience, so it’s only natural that readers increasingly reach for it during introspective times of the year.
Whatever the reason, for a limited time you can buy the book for 25% off ($6.99 ebook; $8.99 paperback; audiobook also available). If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider it and share it with friends, family, or someone in need.
Although a little thing, Log Off had a big impact on my life, and I hope it can for yours too.—Blake Snow
More than 80% of American adults own a smartphone, reports Pew. Consequently, an equal number are more than capable of conducting office work at all times of day and from anywhere.
Because of this, a concerningly large number of employees voluntarily work on vacation, nights, and weekends. It’s so easy that many of us simply fall into bad habits, thinking that the act will get us ahead.
Even Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and the most addictive phone ever invented, knows this. In a recent interview, Cook said, “We’re all using [our phones] too much, especially parents.”
He added, “It is clear that there are certain apps that people can get in the mindset of just scrolling through mindlessly and continuously picking up their phones and looking to see what is happening this second. Do I really need to be getting thousands of notifications a day?”
I believe excessive internetting divides and might someday conquer us.
In fact, it already spoils teamwork and our ability to have intelligent conversations about controversial topics, such as climate change, immunizations, nutrition, and politics. It does this because the unlimited amount of information and opinion found online actually heightens our susceptibility to confirmation bias, the cognitive disorder that most of us suffer from in which we tend to only listen to information that confirms our preconceptions and worldview rather than challenging us toward progress, compromise, and trade-offs.
Put simply, it increases hive-mindedness and groupthink.
Further, excessive internetting increases our susceptibility to information bias and the ostrich effect. The former has proven to weaken our decision-making since access to less information often results in more accurate predictions and decisions. The latter relates to the above. Since we can indulge and decide which worldview we choose to see now by filtering out things we don’t like to confront, it’s easier now to delude and shield ourselves from complex and uncomfortable realities. Thus, excessive internetting solidifies cognitive dissonance. Continue reading…
I’m genuinely happy with my life; who I am, the love I’ve found, the family and friends around me, a job that doesn’t feel like work, and the lifestyle choices I make that add to my fulfillment.
Nevertheless, I stumbled upon a YouTube video recently that made me feel inadequate and insecure. The video was cut by a young, good-looking couple with glamorous clothes doing glamorous things in exotic New Zealand.
“I’ve been to New Zealand before,” I defensively thought to myself, “But I was wearing ordinary clothes and didn’t look like a model while doing similar things.” I clicked on another video, showing the couple taking their kids snowboarding. “I’ve taken my kids snowboarding before, but we didn’t look that good while doing it.” Continue reading…
The following was presented last week as part of my book event series
A year after publishing my best-selling book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting, the most popular question I’m asked is, “How do I get my kids off their phone?” After speaking with many psychologists, researchers, parents, and tech experts, in addition to testing said advice on my own household, I’ve found five convincing answers to this timely and challenging question.
But why are so many people asking this question? The short answer is parents love their kids and know first-hand how addictive said devices can be, especially for developing minds. The long answer involves stark evidence that smartphones: a) complicate childhood, b) increase exposure to bullying and sexual content, c) impair sleep, and d) increase both anxiety and depression.
Because of this, most psychologists, medical experts, and even tech executives recommend delaying or waiting until age 14 for basic voice and texting phones, and then up to 16 for smartphones and/or data plans. “There is no reason that a teenager really needs a smartphone,” says one Silicon Valley psychologist. “They are not taking care of a family, nor are they running a business. Therefore, a basic cellphone should be adequate for their needs.”
When you consider that these devices can be just as powerful as (or more so than) driving a car, it’s no coincidence that the ideal age falls within legal driving range of 14-16 (depending on the state). Nevertheless, the responsibility lies upon parents, guardians, teachers, and our collective villages to teach and instruct children on how to use and get the most from this powerful tools while avoiding the negative heads-down behavior they often cause.
If you’re hoping for a silver bullet to rid your children of their bad phone habits, I cannot help you. But if you looking for proven advice that’s easy to understand but often difficult to master, consider these five effective ways, according to the latest research: Continue reading…
Remember that time you went online in search of a simple answer, only to find yourself, two hours later, clicking on links that had nothing to do with the original answer you sought?
That’s a dopamine loop. It’s the scientific reason we end up online more than we plan to. It explains why we can’t put our smartphones down. It explains why some people neglect real life in favor of virtual life. And it leads to compulsive disorders, similar to those who are addicted to chemical stimulants and depressants such as cocaine, caffeine, methamphetamines, nicotine, and alcohol.
“Dopamine starts us seeking, then we get rewarded for the seeking, which makes us seek more,” explains Dr. Susan Weinschenk. “It becomes harder and harder to stop looking at email, texts, web links, or our smartphones to see if we have a new message or alert.”
Worst still, research shows the dopamine system is bottomless. Since it doesn’t have satiation built in, dopamine keeps demanding “more, more, more!” And it goes absolutely bonkers when unpredictability is introduced—say, an unexpected email, text, or app alert from who knows what and who knows whom. Surprise! It’s just like Pavlov’s famous and classically conditioned dogs, for those who remember your introductory college psychology course.
“It’s the same system at work for gambling and slot machines,” explains Weinschenk. “Since dopamine is involved in variable reinforcement schedules, it’s especially sensitive to dings, visual alerts, or any other cue that a reward is coming, which sends our dopamine system raging.”
And so we stay online and on our phones longer than anticipated. We forgo our offline lives. It’s science.
I’m flattered by the Midwest Book Review’s endorsement of my book and “Reviewer’s Choice” award to the syndicate libraries and media outlets it contributes to.
The concept of “offline balance movement” is genuine and Blake Snow’s Log Off is this plug-in generation’s playbook for true social networking emancipation. Exceptionally well written, organized, and presented, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting is a well timed ‘how to’ manual for social media emancipation and control that should be a part of every community, college, and university library collection. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, and non-specialist general readers that Log Off is available in paperback, digital book, and audiobook formats.
Turkey, ham, presents and Santa are no longer the only staples of the holiday season. Smartphones — and more specifically family members staring wide-eyed at screens around the dinner table — have become a common holiday sight.
Utah author Blake Snow wants to see that change. His book, “Log Off: How to Stay Connected After Disconnecting,” chronicles his divorce from a life in front of screens. Having spent time as a tech blogger and a freelance writer, Snow knows putting the phone down for good isn’t an option in today’s world, but he’s learned to find a balance that allows him to use his phone as a tool rather than allowing it to become a way of life. His book — a “self-help memoir” — aims to help others tackle that seemingly impossible task.
“I want to take advantage of these powerful devices and tools,” he said. “But I want to set boundaries with them, rather than have them hinder or distract me from doing the things I love.”
Snow spoke with The Deseret News to share his best tips for putting down the phone during the holiday season and how to sustain minimal phone usage long after Christmas dinner is over. Continue reading…
I’m happy to report that my book, Log Off, became a best-seller this year. I know it’s a little thing in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a big deal to me.
Recently a few family, friends, and work colleagues asked me about buying the book in bulk to give as personal or tax-deductible work gifts this year.
To that end, I can order author’s copies for $10 each with free shipping. If that fits within your gift-giving plans, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order. E-book and audiobook copies are also available.
It’s been invigorating to watch my bestselling book make waves throughout the year. As we enter the holiday season, I’m excited for its ability to connect with readers during an especially introspective time.
After all, I conceived Log Off, wrote the bulk of it, and even published it during the holidays, so I’m excited to see how it’s received during its first full Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year season.
To the hundreds that have already read the book, thank you. I’m honored. For those who haven’t already, here are seven good reasons I think you should.
I spent nearly 10 years researching and experimenting with healthy connectivity habits for my book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. The book contains dozens or reports and studies from “real news” outlets and distinguished universities from around the world, all of which conclude that excessive internet, social media, and/or smartphone use make us miserable. More specifically, overuse makes us more isolated, less confident, prevents us from experiencing the more stimulating analog world, and even dumber.
But recent research suggests that digital abuse may be even worse for us than originally thought. In an eye-opening expose this week, The Atlantic reported on the rise of sexual recession, in which young people are engaging in fewer intimate relationships than ever before and marrying less. Excessive phone use shoulder much, if not all, of the blame, the magazine reports. Continue reading…
I’ve recently published a lot of interesting reports for commercial clients, but all were either ghostwritten or NDA’d, so I’m not at liberty to share them. I hope to share some upcoming public ones soon, however.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these—a couple stories for mainstream travel media and a couple involving my book.
I was recently interviewed by popular author Melinda Emerson, aka SmallBizLady, for an upcoming podcast about my book Log Off. This is what I told her.
Why should I read your book?
I believe we live in the most distracted, bottomless, demanding, opportune, and noisiest time in all of human history. That makes finding offline (or digital) balance very hard indeed. It’s a great time to be sure, and we’re all empowered with more life-changing tools than ever before (i.e. internet, smartphones, work from anywhere). But we must deliberately harness these powerful tools with measured boundaries, otherwise they can dictate how we live our daily lives rather than consciously choosing how we want to. But offline balance isn’t just about good health—it’s the key to greater income, growth, fulfillment, freetime, and lasting relationships. That’s what my book puts forth in a short and prescriptive 100 pages.
Why is online addiction a growing problem?
While online addictions certainly existed in the desktop and laptop computing days, they didn’t go mainstream until the smartphone era about a decade ago. To compound the issue, the more information and entertainment that gets digitized, the easier it is to get lost in the bottomless search for distractions.
How does too much internetting negatively affect our lives?
The last decade of research shows that excessive internetting, smartphoning, and social media make us miserable. There are two reasons for this. First, online abuse stifles our individual and collective creativity and productivity. Secondly, it keeps us from bonding and connecting with others in more meaningful ways. That is to say that social media is mostly the illusion of relationships. True relationships develop largely offline, though facetime, human touch, body language, and shared presence and experiences. While social media can sometimes facilitate that, it mostly isolates us. In fact, in-person meetings have dwindled in the social media era, as opposed to being boosted by it. This all matters because all of us want to contribute and all of us are social creatures. Continue reading…
Hi, readers—My new book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting, is on sale this week for just $5.99 (45% off). If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll read the Kindle, audiobook, or paperback version. If you have, I hope you’ll share a copy with your friends and/or review it on Amazon. Thanks for your support.
In recent years, a new ideology has emerged. It is this: work-life balance is impossible; therefore, humanity must embrace work-life blending instead.
I tried work-life blending for six years before we ever called it that. I’m here to tell you it stinks and is largely a pipe dream—nothing more than a new term coined by self-absorbed workaholics to justify their personal regrets, negligence, and imbalances in life.
Now let me tell you how I really feel.
The phrase work-life balance entered our lexicon when faxes reigned supreme, the 1980s. Knowledge workers, globalization, and computer networking went mainstream that decade, and, with it, the temptation to work ’round the clock on the Hedonic Treadmill (i.e., the misguided belief that the more money one makes, the happier they’ll be). Continue reading…
“Southwest seems to be the most disorderly airline I’ve ever flown,” says Blake Snow, a travel columnist and author of Log Off: How to Stay Connected After Disconnecting. “The service, attendants, and even the branding are fun. But the boarding process is a mess. You can find similar fares with other airlines and without the hassle of Southwest’s Black Friday-like boarding process.”
The process he’s referring to is Southwest’s policy of open seating, wherein you’re assigned a boarding group A, B, or C, and then a number within that group. You board in order, and choose the first available seat you like. Many refer to this as a “cattle call,” although anyone who’s seen Group 9 crowd around an American Airlines gate during pre-boarding knows it’s more a matter of herding cattle versus letting them run free.
Thanks, Matt, for including me in the story. And thanks Bryan for sharing the link with me.