Offline is the new luxury (9)

Time spent on your smartphone: how could you pass it more wisely? And what exactly does it do for you? Each Friday, Irene, who together with Astrid is the founder of Flow, writes about this particular issue.

When it comes to following good intentions, life always tends to throw a spanner in the works. Last week, I was supposed to leave my phone in my bag all day while at work, but that was not to be, because I ended up being ill and spent the whole week in bed. With smartphone in hand. I spent hours on it, binge-watching Netflix, checking my Facebook and Instagram pages, and visiting senseless website after senseless website. The moral of my story? When you are sick, it is completely and utterly okay to throw all those ‘spend more time offline’ plans overboard! But now that I’m back up and fighting fit, I’m grabbing the proverbial ‘offline bull’ by the horns. In my previous blog, Olga posted a great tip (thank you Olga!) about the Offtime app, created by a start-up company in Berlin. I bought the app and well… let’s just say that it’s rather revealing. It gives lots of insights: how many minutes a day you spend online and what you visit; you get a notification once you’ve spent ten minutes online; you can set up some offline time; and even do a challenge with friends. Thanks to the app, I am now aware that I spend more than three hours a day on my iPhone. To be fair, part of that time is spent on really useful stuff: those pretty pictures I see on Instagram always cheer me up and I use the platform to follow (and find) illustrators the world over. But I also admit that I could spend a great deal of that time differently, and do much nicer things. In the current issue of Dutch Flow, we have a feature in which we interviewed five illustrators and asked them to draw what they do when they are offline. And that was a real eye-opener, I must say. All those hours I spend online could be better spent on doing lovely things that I never seem to have time for, like: reading books, day-dreaming, staring out the window, walking in the dunes, crocheting and so much more. Next week, I’m going to see if I can lower my smartphone usage. The goal: a maximum of 180 minutes a day!