Why don’t you just switch off the phone? Isn’t there already an app for this? Can’t you just not use certain apps or put the phone on silence? These are questions we hear frequently and the quick answer is: no, most people can’t just switch off their phone off and we provide a much better solution for the issue than others do. The long answer: We think that (a) existing solutions are not sufficient (yet) and (b) we have to take the bigger picture into account — more in detail below.
But can’t you just switch off your phone? And isn’t there already an app for that?
— Carolin Neumann (@CarolinN) July 1, 2013
Yes and no. By switching off your cellphone you have a free-of-charge solution, of course. However, most of the times you still want to be reached by your partner, boss, mother or use some apps that are really helpful. There is also the Do-Not-Disturb function on the iPhone since the iOS 6 update and some copies of it on Android. Nevertheless, this is merely a first step to not having to switch the phone off during nights and meetings, but it is still quite anti-social. It also does not take into account your well-formed habits. With OFFTIME you can also block yourself from using apps and the internet. On the PC you can use e.g. Freedom or Concentrate to block you some time from using the internet. But surprisingly, before OFFTIME there wasn’t any intelligent, service-oriented and well programmed solution for the smartphone and other lifestyle devices. Additionally, OFFTIME Insights also gives you information about how you use your phone – e.g. how long you use your phone each day, which apps you use most, and with whom you are in contact most of the time – so that you can learn from and adjust your behavior.
Some key differences – Current solution for Android
We want to have all the benefits of being connected and at the same time focus on what matters – here some key differences to existing solutions and workarounds.
|100% Off the Grid||YES||YES||NO*|
|Make calls & send texts||NO||NO||YES*|
(no data connection)
|Receive incoming urgent calls||NO||NO||YES*|
|Status to people who try to reach you||NO||NO||YES|
|Event overview / Actionlist||NO||NO||YES|
|Blocks certain apps from being used
(e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds, …)
(no data connection)
|Profiles for different Situations||NO||NO||YES|
|Plan and Sync with your Calendar||NO||NO||YES|
|Coaching with Self-Tracking/Insights||NO||NO||YES|
|*Also possible with Do-not-Disturb on iPhone with iOS 6.
**It blocks, but does not limit the usage as it does not stop you from switching your phone on again. Checking the work emails is just a quick gesture away, even on weekends.
What is the difference with other (communication or productivity) apps?
We developed our solution from a psychological perspective: Why do we look at our devices so often and why is it so difficult to put them away or just switch them off? With Alex’s and Micha’s psychological background in our team and a cooperation with the psychology working group in Berlin we are trying to go beyond “yet another cool app” by implementing psychological findings to support your focus at work and your general well-being. There are enough studies that show that the constant stream of (junk) information does not good to us — and that it is mostly us seeking out for new information that is the problem. It’s not just about switching on and off — it’s more nuanced as many people can’t even just switch their phone off anymore.
Let us move forward on how we use our devices
How do we want to live in a hyperconnected world? The last 20 years were about connecting everybody – now and the next years, we might have to think about where and how we want to use technology. Many people start their day with checking their emails before they do anything else… and a whole industry is focused on making you stay more online, consume, interact and click ads. With OFFTIME you can unplug yourself from a hyperconnected world — and focus on things that matter.
Hope this explains the whole issue a bit better. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask! We are happy to answer them.
In the next days we are going to write about different use cases, our next development steps and the issue with the iPhone. Furthermore, we will go into details with the ‘rewards/dankeschöns’ – Micha is currently working on some first designs for the t-shirts and seeks your opinion.
PS: This posting was written for our Startnext campaign which you can support here and be among the first ones to get OFFTIME.