5 Old-School Tricks for Newfound Productivity

by Grace Farag, Senior Copywriter at RAPP SF

"These days we are working and living online more than ever, especially since the coronavirus pandemic began. But it feels like the more space we take up in the virtual world, the greater our hunger grows for ways to unplug from it. More people are turning toward analog productivity tools and techniques that can help unglue eyes from screens.

What might those old-school tools and tricks encompass? How about analog alarm clocks so you can keep your phone away from your bed? Or perhaps a stylish hourglass timer so you can create focused time for work without the help of a device? It may sound bizarre in our 21st-century digital age, but there is actually a steadily growing market for exactly these kinds of products — and with good, expert-advised reason.

Author and professor Cal Newport is one of those who advocates for a minimalistic approach to living in a digital world. In fact, “Digital Minimalism” was the title of one of his bestselling books. Newport followed it up with another book called “Deep Work,” which he describes as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.”

Deep work, argues Newport, depends on greatly minimizing the digital distractions pulling us every which way, from the ping of an incoming text or email to the temptations of a web browser that’s as close as our phones. But how do we do it? That’s where the analog approach comes in." 

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