Blake Snow

writer-for-hire, content marketer, bestselling author

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Tagged offline balance

The weirdos who don’t like weekends

Courtesy Shutterstock

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…

Log Off interview: “Staying online all of the time is a great way to burnout”

Courtesy Lindsey Snow

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.

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Need a convincing reason to work less? Try this.

Courtesy Shutterstock

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.

The evidence keeps mounting.

Thinking we’re “important” by overworking

Courtesy Shutterstock

The following expert from Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting was cited by a recent reader as their favorite passage in the book:

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.

Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!

How my book forever changed a dentist’s life

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:

  1. Now I use a dumb phone. My office has a smartphone managed by my staff, but it’s only used for business.
  2. 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.
  3. I still use a first-generation iPad for reading books.
  4. I have other laptops and desktops around, but I only use those on a need-to basis now.
  5. 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. 

The secret to life is working to death, experts say

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

PROVO, Ut. — Want to get ahead in this world? Work lots of extra hours — even nights and weekends — experts say, and it will all be worth your while.

“It’s easy to forget what’s most important in life,” says Bill Loney, a certified life coach who hasn’t quite made it in life yet. “Family, friends, and social activities that can often inspire and enrich the life of an individual… these are all distractions in getting more work done,” he adds.

Emma Royds, who hasn’t stopped looking at her smartphone every five minutes for three straight years, councils that most people actually die wishing they had spent more time — not less — working. “People never regret working too much,” she says. “My neighbor opted to do adventurous, social, and fitness-related activities with family and friends in his spare time.

“Now 80, he told me recently he really wishes he would have spent more time on TPS cover sheets, obsessively trying to turn his company into the next big thing, and reading email during every waking hour of his life. It’s kind of sad, really.” Continue reading…

Why NOW is the most important time

Leo Tolstoy courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Leo Tolstoy courtesy Wikimedia Commons

This issue of the Offline Newsletter is brought to you by Leo Tolstoy.

It once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid; and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do.

Several learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently (e.g. advance planning, multi-tasking, mentoring, high-ranking people, science, warfare, religion).

All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom.  Continue reading…

10 years after quitting Facebook, I still have friends

My first time surfing (in San Diego): What I looked like days after quitting Facebook

10 years ago to the day, I quit Facebook. At the time I feared I might be committing social suicide. Today, I can happily report that didn’t happen.

Since quitting the popular boomer hangout, I’ve limited the number of work and out of office distractions I encounter. I no longer feel the desire to “check in” online at every waking hour. It takes me longer to discover new bands. And I don’t have to consciously decide or distinguish friends from colleagues, associates, and nobodies. I just let them happen naturally now; unannounced and always evolving.

Continue reading…

16 years as a freelance writer: How I got to where I am today (hint: luck & persistence)

Me at my desk. Photo by Lindsey Snow

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.

Thanks for having me on the show, Doug. 

Recent writing: Utah skiing, breathtaking buildings, rafting with family, waterproof gear

Excluding my non-bylined commercial writing, here’s what I’ve written for news media lately:

Thanks for reading and sharing.

How excessive screen time hinders adults and children

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:

Continue reading…

ONE WEEK ONLY: Log Off now 25% off (starting at $6.99)

Courtesy Lindsey Snow

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

Why you shouldn’t work on vacation

Courtesy Shutterstock

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.

In truth, it doesn’t. Here’s why working on vacation is a bad idea, according to the overwhelming research contained in my book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. Continue reading…

Apple CEO: “iPhone alerts are bad for you”

Turning off all visible and audible notifications (unless from your spouse and kids) is the first step for anyone wanting to spend less time on their phone, argues Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. It’s the antidote to FOMO.

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?”

Continue reading…

How money often prevents us from seeing the big picture

Geoff Livingston

Geoff Livingston

A businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal village in Mexico. Just then, a skiff docked with one humble fisherman inside. His boat contained several large yellowfin tuna.

The businessman complimented the fisherman’s catch and asked how long it took to reel them in. “Only a little while,” the fisherman replied. The onlooker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer to catch more fish. The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s needs. “What do you do with the rest of your time?” the man pressed.

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, stroll the village each evening, sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos,” the fisherman replied. “I live a full life, señor.” Continue reading…

7 good reasons to read my book—Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting

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.

  1. It’s on sale now, currently 20% off the cover price
  2. It averages 4.6 out of 5 star ratings, according to collective reader reviews on both Amazon and Good Reads
  3. It was reviewed by the LA Times, Psychology Today, Deseret News, ThrillistSmallBizLady, and more as a notable book of 2018
  4. It’s been well received on nearly two dozen radio shows this year, most recently this one
  5. It’s a quick and prescriptive read and can help you get off your phone so you can get on with your life
  6. It’s available in your favorite format—hardcopy, ebook, or audiobook
  7. If you’re still unconvinced, you can read two sample chapters here and here

Thanks for reading. If you know anyone who might be interested, I hope you’ll consider sharing this page with them. 🙏

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Even worse than we thought? New research on phone addiction

Courtesy Shutterstock

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…

Recent reading: The best things I’ve published elsewhere

Credit: MoDOG/Shutterstock

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.

Thanks for reading.

12 questions with the author of Log Off (that’s me!) about offline success

Lake Bennett, Canada—courtesy Lindsey Snow

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…

I was recently interviewed by The LA Times about my book, Log Off—this is what I said.

Catharine Hamm from The Los Angeles Times, the nation’s second largest newspaper, recently interviewed me about my book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting.

Her story titled Travel may be key to ending your unhealthy love affair with electronic devices is really good. You should read it. Not only because I’m quoted in it, but because it offers an excellent explanation on the difference between bottomless distractions and those with and end, as well as sage advice on gaining offline momentum.

Hope you enjoy it. Thanks, Catharine, for including me and my book. 

Why work-life blending doesn’t work

Columbia Pictures

The following is an excerpt from Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting

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…

Why the internet is hard to put down

The following is an excerpt from Log Off, available now on paperback, Kindle, and audiobook

The “king complex.”

That’s the reason it’s difficult for many individuals to leave the internet—even for as little as a few hours in the evening, over a weekend, or on vacation. In short, the internet makes us feel like kings.

“Bring me this,” I demand, and it does. “More!” I say. It complies. “Still more!” It does not disappoint. “Let me watch, this, that, and the other.” Each time, I ask, it delivers, because it’s endless. When I run out of requests, I move to new subjects and interests.

In the event the internet is unable to supply what we ask of it—say, a physical experience, creation, or sensation—it will simulate that experience as often as we like from all possible angles: videos, photos, secondhand observations and reviews by those who have actually experienced what we’re after.

As you can see, the internet offers power, or at least the illusion of it. That’s the real reason the internet is so addicting. For the first time in human history, everyday people can convincingly simulate the experience of kings and exercise dominion over their own fantasized corner of reality.  Continue reading…

Easy peasy: 5 ways to rewire your brain for happiness

Grant Wood/Wikimedia Commons

Grant Wood/Wikimedia Commons

As a leading psychologist, Shawn Achor has spent two decades studying happiness. His bona fides include award-winning researcher and teacher at Harvard, best-selling author on positivity, and popular TED lecturer.

So when he speaks you should listen. For instance, Achor asserts our circumstances — including age, race, gender, social status, and wealth — only account for 10% of our happiness. The rest is determined by our genetic baseline for happiness (i.e. optimist vs pessimist) and our individual intentions, including the way we spend our time and the things we ponder.

Obviously, happiness means different things to different people. But there are plenty of standardized things we can do to boost our chances of finding it. Somethings such as knowing oneself, learning how to forgive, and balancing the personal, professional, and social demands on our time can be life-long pursuits.

But other happiness-building attributes are quite easy, Achor argues. In order from least difficult to most difficult, they are as follows:  Continue reading…

My favorite book review so far: “Log Off is an amazingly honest and engaging read”

Writes Bryce in his 5/5 star review:

“Log Off is chock full of delicious nuggets of behavioral wisdom. Concise and engaging, Snow lays bare a decade worth of personal experience, research, and experimentation. This personal journey is tied to, and sometimes driven by, recognized scientific study, and does not sugar coat any of the author’s personal struggles or failings. This honesty and frank vulnerability creates a narrative that is both relatable and inspiring, and I highly recommend this read to any connected individual seeking more meaning and focus in their life.”

Thank you, Bryce. I can tell by your writing that your read a lot, so it means a lot that you liked my book as well as you stated. High five!

Published works: Finding Europe in North America, Log Off coverage, 25 mood boosters

Courtesy Quebec Tourism

With exception to my non-bylined writing for Fortune 500 companies, here’s what I published this month, mostly related to my new book:

Media coverage for my new book, Log Off:

Thanks for reading and sharing what you liked.

Want to review Log Off, my new book? I’ll send you a FREE copy (while supplies last)

In an effort to promote my new book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting, I’m giving away 25 Kindle and 25 audiobook copies on a first come, first serve basis. Email inbox@blakesnow.com for download instructions. All I ask in return is that you review the book on Amazon.com, which helps spread the word. Thank you.

Good question: How can I get my kids off of their phone?

As a parent, technology journalist, and author of a new book on logging off from excessive internetting, I’m often asked, “What can I do to get my kids off their phone?”

Having researched the subject and experimented with connectivity strategies over the last decade, I can tell you first-hand that the answer won’t come easy. But it can be found.

The first and arguably most challenging step is to lead by example. So instead of “Do as I say, not as I do,” show your kids what life can be like without the constant interruption and distraction that smartphones, digital work, social media have introduced into our lives. Demonstrate what a heads-up (as opposed to head-down) life can look like. Portion-control your own technology first.

You can do this by turning off all audible and visual alerts on your devices, then communicating with bosses, loved ones, and those closest to you that you’re distancing yourself from your phone. Not entirely—but that they’ll need to call you the old fashioned way if they need to get an immediate response from you. (Otherwise it will have to wait several hours, overnight, over the weekend, or even until you get back from vacation.)  Continue reading…

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5 questions for the author of Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting

Thanks in part to the help of a hired publicist, I’ve enjoyed being interviewed by radio shows, journalists, and book reviewers over the last few weeks. Here’s one in particular (set to publish later this month—will share link later) that I thought blog readers would enjoy:

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 time online negatively affect our happiness and our relationships?

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 collectively 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 our social creatures.

What are some successful strategies for limiting time online?

The first if not biggest step is turning off all beeps, buzzes, and visual alerts on our default phone settings (save for voice calls from very important people such as spouses and our boss). That way we can choose to use our phones when we want to rather than having our day interrupted by them every other second. As radical as it sounds, I’ve done this for the last nine years and my professional, personal, and social lives have dramatically improved as a result. True story!

What about work-related time online? How can that be balanced?

Set the expectation with bosses, coworkers, and clients that you’re revising your online use for greater productivity and fulfillment. This starts by ceasing to answer emails on nights, weekends, and vacations. Obviously emergencies happen. In that case, tell those you work to please call you. But remember, in most cases, legitimate emergencies are rare. Either way, 99% of people are understanding because they want the same thing in their own lives. If you happen to have a boss in the 1%, it’s probably time to start looking for a new job.

Are there benefits of online time? If so, how can we keep those benefits without going overboard?

Certainly! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the internet. It truly is a wonderful thing, the greatest human invention since Penicillin. I say as much in both the opening and closing chapters of my book. That said, the internet isn’t going anywhere. The sooner we all realize this, the easier it becomes to take more regular and healthy breaks from it (i.e. on nights, weekends, and vacation) without getting sucked into and distracted from the overwhelming amount of noise taking place online. It’s all about using the internet, our smartphones, and social media with purpose as opposed to the default and unhealthy “all the time.”

LEAKED ONLINE: Log Off is currently being read… er, offline

Thanks to Adam (left), Nick (right), and everyone else who’s bought, read, reviewed, and/or recommended my new book on Kindle, paperback, and soon on audiobook (sample here).

After nearly 10 years in the making, I’m proud and honored that the book has finally released. Its contents changed my life, and I hope they can yours, too.

Thanks for reading.

In the news: How quitting the Internet can make you healthier, wealthier, and happier

Blake Snow at Lake Bennett, Canada taken by Lindsey Snow

Big thanks to Randy Shore from the Vancouver Sun for his interest and recent write up of my new book.

The Internet and its insidious agent of attention-seeking — the smartphone — are by their very nature addictive, conspiring with our natural curiosity and brain chemistry to keep us rapt to the machine, according to Blake Snow, author of Log Off: How To Stay Connected After Disconnecting.

Published works: My first book, European biking cruises, writing for hometown papers


Excluding non-bylined writing for commercial clients, here’s what I published this month:

  • Log Off, my first book! Landing page here, Kindle here, paperback here. Thanks for considering it.
  • Why you should bike on your next European river cruise. Written for Frommer’s after a wonderful 8-day biking cruise with my 11-year old daughter.
  • Coming home to Carrollton. Op-ed I wrote for my former hometown paper.

Printed version below for those behind a paywall. Continue reading…

Tired of being tied to your smartphone? New short book provides convincing answers

In his first book, recognized journalist Blake Snow offers humorous, well-researched, and insightful advice on how to break free and enjoy renewed life offline

Provo, UT (December 19, 2017) – Do you or someone you know need a little help unplugging this holiday or new year? If so, Log Off: How To Stay Connected After Disconnecting by Blake Snow (ISBN 978-1973543749, 2017) may have the answer and is available now at the world’s largest bookstore in paperback, ebook, and audiobook editions.

The self-help memoir and well-researched book is the first for Snow, a prolific writer for such publications as Wired, USA Today, CNN, and Wall Street Journal among others. The book produces convincing evidence and a path forward for people hoping to reclaim their offline lives without the constant distraction and “fear of missing out” caused by the internet, social media, and smartphones.

“With Facebook recently admitting as much, it’s official,” says Blake Snow, author of Log Off: How To Stay Connected After Disconnecting. “Excessive use of smartphones, the internet, and social media makes us miserable. Although I wrote this life-changing book for myself, I feel strongly that the ideas and encouragement contained therein can help others find greater fulfillment, peace of mind, and better relationships after responsibly logging off.”

In this quick but potent read, Snow recounts his own journey from being a workaholic internet addict, his awakening (aka “Montana Moment”), and the steps he has since taken to increase his facetime with actual people, do more offline with less online, double his productivity in half the time, and tunefully blend his analog and digital lives with no regrets.  Continue reading…

JUST PUBLISHED: Interested in my first book? Here’s what you can do to help

I just published my first (albeit short) book on paperback and Kindle. It took me over eight years to publish it, but I’m very proud of the result.

As you can see, the book underwent a title change, but the contents remain the same—a self-help memoir on how to overcome excessive “internetting,” smartphoning, and social media. If that subject interests you, I hope you’ll consider taking one or all of the following actions:  Continue reading…

With regards to offline balance, money is everything

Courtesy MGM

Courtesy MGM

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you like money. What does money have to do with offline balance, though?

In my research, everything. Next to fame and sex—which by no coincidence are often facilitated by money—the latter is arguably the most sought after thing in life, particularly (but not exclusively) for male species.

For purposes of this newsletter, however, I won’t preach to you on the ill-guided focus of money or bottomless cup that is greed. Instead, I’ll let smarter people do it for me:  Continue reading…

Publication pending: Eight years later, I just finished writing my first book

Eight years ago, I began an endeavor that I thought would take up to 12 months to complete: writing my first book. In reality, it took nearly eight full years.

In any case, I’m happy to report that I finished the 12 chapter non-fiction and short self-help book not 20 minutes ago. I’m proud of what I wrote and can’t wait to share it with the world soon after vetting it with editors, agents, and publishers.

Fun fact: it took my seven years to write the first 40% of the book and just a month to write the remaining 60%—because writer’s block.

As a teaser, I’ve included the opening chapter here. Hope you enjoy it and share this post with any you feel my be interested in what I have to say.  Continue reading…

How to stay focused in a 24/7 world

wikimedia commons

wikimedia commons

Humans are more distracted now than ever before, at least since we’ve started keeping records. Over the last decade, the average attention span has dwindled from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds in 2014, according to the U.S. Library of Medicine. The kicker: our eight second attention spans are one second shorter than a goldfish’s. No joke.

Who or what’s to blame for such abhorrent focus? “External stimulation,” says the Library of Medicine. That’s code for mobile internet, apps that vie for our attention, push email, social media alerts, work from anywhere, persistent connectivity, and our enthusiastic adoption of “the internet of things.” In other words, the only person we can blame is ourselves.

What’s a working professional to do then? You have three options, according to popular thinking: fall off the grid, stick with default technology settings for substandard productivity, or my personal favorite, set usage boundaries to upgrade concentration, contributions, and welfare levels.

For those interested in options one or two, this article won’t be any help. But for for those interested in the latter, there’s quite a lot you can do to stay focused in a 24/7 world. After extensive online research, here is the most celebrated and pragmatic advice for doing just that:  Continue reading…

New name, same thing: Work-life blending is all about balance

Photo: Lindsey Snow

Photo: Lindsey Snow

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.  Continue reading…

In the absence of extraordinary, ordinary is more than enough

Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy Cinemagraphs

For most of my 20s, I largely existed to leave my mark upon the world and strike it rich. In order to achieve those goals, I labored through the day and voluntarily burned the midnight oil. In other words, I lived to work—how cliche of me!

As I approached 30, something happened. I experienced what I call my Montana Moment—cheesy, but catchy! I realized that my double life as a work-a-holic and present husband and father could no longer be sustained.

So I changed. I set strict boundaries on my time and never looked back. If I was going to be remarkable, I was going to have to do so in a set number of hours and no longer at the expense of my health, family, sleep, friendships, and self-improvement. (That change, by the way, was the catalyst behind my still unfinished book.)  Continue reading…

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Ready Player One persuasively challenges extreme escapism and digital obsession

ready-player-one

What might happen if humans lived an entirely simulated life, doing everything online except for eating and sleeping?

Earnest Cline has a dystopian, geeky, and fist-pumping answer in Ready Player One, his best-selling novel which I read over the holidays.

The story takes place in 2044 and follows a teenage prodigy named Wade as he seeks hidden fame, power, and fortune bequeathed by the world’s richest man. “But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue,” reads the synopsis, “he is beset by rivals that will kill for the prize, forcing him to confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.”

Clever, huh? USA Today accurately described it as “Willy Wonka meets The Matrix.” I’d add a little Brave New World, ’80s game geek culture, Tron, and “The Wreck-It-Ralph of books” for good measure—all good things.

For fellow nerds who appreciate those things, I award the book a tilted four and a half out of five stars. For everyone else, particularly those who share my desire to curb compulsion disorders, I give it four stars.

These were my favorite passages:  Continue reading…

In case you missed it: offline vacations, converting cruise-haters, overlooked wonders, and dream believers

MGM

MGM

Here’s where my travel column went last month:

Want to make better decisions? Do these 10 things

Courtesy Miramax

Courtesy Miramax

Smart people don’t make better decisions because they’re smart. They make better decisions, research shows, because they habitually do the following:

1. Remove unimportant decisions. If a decision doesn’t have an impact on your work, relationships, or spirit, then remove it from consideration. For example, many CEOs, heads of states, or creative people wear the same thing every day. Steve Jobs wore blue jeans and a black turtleneck everyday. Mark Zuckerberg only wears blue jeans and a gray t-shirt. Similarly, the leader of the free world only wears blue or gray suits, “Because I have too many other decisions to make,” the president recently told Vanity Fair. “I’m trying to pare down decisions,” he added. “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing.”

For those of us without a personal chef, deciding what kinds of food to eat is a very important decision. But removing or outsourcing unimportant decisions to other people helps us make more meaningful decisions. One of the ways I achieve this is by removing TV from my life, limiting the number of sportsball games I watch, and restricting the number of news sources I read to only three per day. Doing so introduces more social encounters, analog experiences, and thought-provoking literature into my life, which make me a better writer (instead of regurgitator).  Continue reading…

Never postpone what you have the desire and means to do today

Blake Snow

My wife taught me a valuable lesson recently.

For years, we’ve been planning to build a new house for our growing family. With that decision, we pegged a lot of other things to it, such as a new living room, new places to see, and even a family dog.

“Let’s update the living room after we move,” we told ourselves. “Let’s hold off on that vacation until we’re settled. Let’s wait for a dog until we have our own yard.”

We’ve held that belief for many years with various plans, not just shelter. Wait, wait, wait. When.. when… when… After, after, after.  Continue reading…