5 Ways I Try to Un-digitize My Life

April 29, 2022 3 min read

The threat of technology to our humanness is no new fear (hello, Blade Runner! …actually: goodbye, you are a super boring movie😆). But, there seems to be an acute crisis of our current cultural moment, as we relate to technology.

Here is just a fraction of writings from the past month addressing this:

  • The Atlantic article about teenaged sadness (linked to low sociality, stressors of the world's burdens — and how we know them because of news, and of course, social media)

  • The much-shared Jonathan Haidt article about the past 10 years of American life being uniquely "stupid" (in essence: the FB like button & Twitter retweet function set off an amplified fragmentation of people)

  • This blog post — which could have been any one of the hundreds addressing the same desperate need —: How I Keep the Internet From Ruling My Life

  • Most fascinating & insightful of all, imo: Andy Crouch's book The Life We're Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World. I haven't read the book yet (I've read others, like the Tech-Wise Family), but listened to the author on this podcast, The Art of Manliness (I know 😂). I found some of his reflections (going way beyond "the algorithm is in charge" panic) to be incredibly insightful. He articulated some new ideas I hadn't really thought of. 


It's... a lot. We can feel defeated, discouraged, even shameful (ie. why can't I just stop checking my phone!). I get, honestly, a bit freaked out sometimes. 

My best, imperfect "solution" for keeping a clear head & an even keel is to stay connected with the non-digital. I love technology, I am grateful for the internet (naturally! This website has been a gift to me and so many!). But, I want to keep it all from dominating my whole life, heart, mind, body, soul.

Here are a few ways that I intentionally try to disconnect from the digital life:

  • Not letting go of paper

    Reading tangible books, writing thank you notes, printing out calendars or crosswords, drawing thoughts on a mind map. Using a pen I like, having paper or a notebook at hand. The tangible physicality of it all.

  • My to-do list

    I have notes apps and running docs; I have saved pics, recipes, links, quotes on Pinterest, Instagram, and many defunct apps.

    But, the method of keeping myself on-track that has actually worked best? A tiny (2"x2") notepad with 5 faint checkboxes. It has kept me focused for the day and saves me from the distractions that are inevitable when I check a list on my phone or computer.

  • A watch / alarm

    Ironically, one of the best allies I've had for untangling me from my tech dependence has been... my Fitbit watch. My older, lower-features model (Charge 2) has been perfect for 1) checking the time, 2) setting timers & alarms, & 3) keeping my phone away from my bedside and out of my hands. Also, I suppose, tracking my steps, heart-rate, sleep, & exercise (ha ha). But, honestly, the timekeeping & alarm-setting has been 95%+ of its value & functionality for me.

  • Choosing products without electronic components

    I can repair a broken coffee machine or (maybe) faucet. Mechanics can replace or repair components on a car. These skills are not easy, but they are learnable. And, much more accessible than a fix than a silicon motherboard!

    I'm ok to be accused of being behind the times, but I will keep choosing non-smart lightbulbs, appliances, etc. above products that depend on a tech team in California and my phone at the ready.

  • Literally turning off my phone & taking breaks

    It wasn't long ago that I was travelling in foreign destinations with no connection for days. I'm not talking about backcountry adventures, I mean NYC, France... even my regular life 10 years ago included mostly a flip phone for talking and some text.

    It's difficult to remember that what used to be so natural & obvious (being "disconnected" when you leave the house or go away) now feels kind of itchy. I try to take breaks where I literally turn my phone off for a day. It feels foolish even to type that, as if it is some great feat or revelation! 


If you have any ideas, I would love to hear your input. Share insights or thoughts in the comments below!


Leave a comment

Also in Shop Good Blog

Beauty As A Necessity

March 18, 2022 2 min read 1 Comment

With so much pain, brokenness, ugliness in the world, attention to beauty, joy, & wonder is absolutely necessary!

Beauty may not solve problems itself... A stunning photograph will not end famine or war. Banksy's graffiti art does not solve Middle eastern contested-land conflicts.

But, the restoration, hope, and inspiration that come from creativity and beauty are like gas in the tank — fuel for the drivers & changers of the world.

Read More
Decoding Return Policies

March 05, 2022 5 min read

We don’t receive a lot of returned items, but it does happen. Of course! There is some degree of risk in shopping online, always.

Stores take different approaches to return policies, sometimes with great sophistication in how it will impact your willingness to purchase. Here's a little peek at what I've learned over the years (as a customer and also as a retailer) about return policies.

Read More
The Best Tips for Getting Good Sleep

February 08, 2022 6 min read

Lately, I have often found myself in conversations that wend their way into sleep troubles. Maybe this is just a reflection of my age/stage of my peers! But, I think that the burdens of life, the weight of covid & its out-workings, and the expectations of the day have compounded and contributed to sabotaging our sleep health.

We’ve all heard plenty of the same advice reel: don’t drink caffeine too late; keep a pad of paper beside your bed to write down stressors in the night (? is this actually a thing people do?); have a bedtime routine… 

And, maybe these have been helpful!

But, I've also come across some more *quirky* tips & tricks about sleep health, and I wanted to corral all of these into one spot... for me, for you, and for all future reference and conversations! 

Read More