Three offline-stories

Offline is the new luxury

Even though it’s hard to be more mindful of when and how you use your phone, you’re certainly not the only one struggling. That’s why it’s good to keep coming up with new ideas to remind ourselves and others that you can also leave your phone at home sometimes. Three people tell their offline-story.

Cartoonist Barbara Stok

“If I’m not online for a day, I notice the difference. If I start the day offline (not on the computer), I’ll sit quietly at my drawing table and the day begins at a different pace – my attention is undivided. When I first started drawing comics, I had no television and the Internet wasn’t widely available. I thin if I’d had television and Internet access then, I might not have become a cartoonist, because without them, you have to entertain yourself with the things around you. Back then, I would draw non-stop because there were no distractions. In creative work, you get so much more done if you are focused.”

(source: newspaper Trouw)

Neuropsychiatrist Theo Campernolle

“When I got my beautiful new smartphone I became aware how big the impact is of having your e-mail continuously pushed to your phone, how addictive it is. I couldn’t resist the lure of looking at my e-mails whenever I had a spare moment. Realizing the significant negative impact it had on my intellectual productivity, I went back to the non-automatic system, which needs five clicks and my username and password before I can get to my e-mail. The result was that I stopped checking my e-mails all the time and became more productive.”

(source: BrainChains: Discover your Brain and Unleash Its Full Potential in a Hyperconnected, Multitasking World)

José Pedro Bortolini

José Pedro Bortolini is an art director at a Brazilian advertising agency that invented a beer cooler/network blocker. Putting beer in the cooler blocks all cell phone signals in the immediate vicinity. “In Brazil, lots of people are on their phones 24/7,” Bortolini says. “They’re not living in the moment, but in the virtual world. When friends are having a beer together, they should be talking to each other, and not being slaves to their smartphones. The idea is to get the beer to block access to the Internet and so return the bar to the people.”

(source: VPRO TV Guide)

  • These stories can be found in the ‘7 days offline-project’ booklet in Issue 16.
  • We’re having a social detox-week on the blog. See all tips and blogs about using your phone less here.
  • Flow introduces a Social Out of Office to let people on social media know you’re temporarily unavailable. Go to

Illustration Valerie McKeehan