You don’t need discipline to get offline

You just need to feel real good spending time offline.

As your typical millennial, #girlboss, #hustler I have had the pleasure of drinking the discipline Kool-Aid from the fountains of every discipline guru on the internet. It is a good idea to learn from other people. I owe my unplugging journey to everyone that came before me screaming into the digital void that this internet thing is ruining us before we are finished typing http://www.insta…

Naturally, amongst other parts of my life, I have tried every trick in the discipline handbook, of books, online articles, YouTube videos, you name it, to unplug from the attention economy. It all sounds good, but it doesn’t work; or more accurately it works until it doesn’t work, until your willpower runs out, and you just want to curl in bed with your phone, scrolling through Instagram, while the better part of you screams for something better. Tomorrow, you promise yourself.

The blogs say to put your phone in a different room before bed. Duh! It is that simple, isn’t it? Yes, but you have had a long day, you feel emotionally exhausted, and have nothing better to do. In those moments, despite all your prior best efforts to unplug, mindless escape into the digital noise sounds appealing. More than appealing, it sounds fun. Oh, but the inner voice screaming at you: put that phone down, you know you sleep better, and wake up more refreshed, without that thing. Rinse, repeat. The living is not easy.

After years, and years, and years of unplugging/plugging, connecting/disconnecting, feeling frustrated at knowing better, but not doing better, I have learned what this post put it so eloquently; you can get stuff done by not being mean to yourself. I used to be mean to myself about being online. Just unplug. Just put your phone away. Just delete the app. Just, just, just… but, it just did not work. This is true of everything productivity related activity in life. You are never going to feel like it, and beating yourself up isn’t going to work as much as you think it might.

I sometimes do not know how I make it to my workout classes. I contemplate canceling. I contemplate just not fucking doing it. I dread the thought of changing into my workout clothes. I dread the thought of walking the two blocks down the street. Then it’s 30 minutes before class and I’m just doing it. I am putting on my workout clothes, I am packing up my shoes and water bottle, and I am out the door. I thought about what keeps me coming back, and realized it’s the pure pleasure of sweat-covered triumph and joy I feel an hour later. That, that feeling of being drenched in sweat, feeling on top of the world, even when I forget to consciously remember how good it feels before class, carries me to yet another class. It is not discipline, it is pleasure. My brain is used to, and wants, the endorphins, the joy, the pain, and the pleasure of a good workout.

So you want to spend more time offline? Forget discipline, and consider pleasure. Find the pleasures of the offline world; time spent making a delicious meal, a walk in the park, listening to music while solving Sudoku puzzles, coffee shop with a book, a night out in the city. There are a million things to do offline that are far more enjoyable than the same regurgitated noise online. It does take more effort, and it takes getting used to, but it is worth it.

Until next time,

Sign up for my curated weekly newsletter, time spent offline, on spending less time online and (re)discovering the pleasures of the offline world. Five ideas delivered right to your inbox. Every Tuesday.

Published by


  1. Pavel P. Avatar
    Pavel P.

    Same struggles here. Tried everything for many years. But my biggest offline hobby/passion is photography. So I spend time offline, but that I want to share the photos with the word…and you know what happens. Again trapped. And photographing without showing photos to people – it doesnt work for me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s