This newsletter launches my new digital enterprise, The Unplugged Club. My mission is to help you eliminate your digital overload and regain focus, energy and peace in only 120 minutes per week outside.
Why I’m Publishing This Newsletter
Last year I started with a much bigger digital concept that has gone through at least eight iterations to land at The Unplugged Club. Here’s why I’m writing:
Our tech-overload problem: I’m tackling the elephant in the room head-on. I refuse to demonize technology because it’s the glue that runs our world, but we have to align our tech use with our goals and values or it will eat us alive. Social media platforms have been engineered to create addiction because it’s good for their bottom line, not ours.
The screen time replacement: There’s more to a walk than meets the eye. There’s documented science that shows we need only two hours per week – 120 minutes – outside to reap the richness of Nature’s benefits physically, mentally and emotionally. Green is good, free and our natural habitat.
My blend of passion, experience and skills: While many of you only know me from +12 years as an online instructor, writer and coach, I’m also uniquely qualified to navigate the natural world.
A big-city native, I’ve been unconsciously compelled to find more green all my life. While my personal quest thankfully landed me in the North Carolina mountains in 2010, relocation is not required. Sky above your head, a tree or two and a place to walk and sit are enough.
The Unplugged Club newsletter will provide 3 resources, advice or tools, 2 reflections , 1 action and eye-candy inspiration to help you tame your personal tech and reclaim your time and life.
3 Resources for You: Books to Get You Started
Books, articles, tips, tools and advice to help you unplug.
“Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World“by Cal Newport (aff): I first read this book in the summer of 2020 during Covid. It enabled me to quit Facebook cold turkey at the start of October, a month before the November election and keep my sanity. While you can find dozens of helpful posts online that give you tips and tactics to reduce your screen time, Newport challenges you to align your personal tech use with your values and goals. How does an app support those? Is it the best kind of support? I’m using some of the principles in Digital Minimalism in the coaching program I’m developing.
“The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative” by Florence Williams (aff): A readable, science-based explanation of why thinking about, looking at and being in non-human Nature makes us happier, healthier, kinder and more generous human beings. This book, and others I’ll recommend, validate my personal experience – the awe, wonder, curiosity and bliss we can experience in Nature beats anything the digital world can ever offer.
“Vitamin N: 500 Ways to Enrich the Health & Happiness of Your Family & Community” by Richard Louv (aff): Louv launched a global movement with his book “Last Child in the Woods” (aff) in which he coined the term “nature-deficit disorder.” There’s something for everyone in this follow-up book. It helps you engage your senses differently as you explore your backyard, neighborhood, community and potentially travel to wilder places. Full of family and kid-focused activities, it helps build memories, bonds and dispel fears.
2 Questions for You: What Are You Willing to do for Digital Independence?
Reflections, questions and ideas to consider to break the digital spell.
1st Q: Check the screen time apps on your phone or tablet. Are you surprised?
2nd Q: Everyone swears at Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, but then spends hours on Facebook and Twitter. Using social media for work or your own business is a valid use of the platforms, but are you aware how they suck you into aimless wandering?
1 Action for You: Take a Step Toward Digital Control
One small step to start the change.
Ask yourself this question about those apps and platforms where you spend the most digital time: How does this add value to my life?
Amazingly, studies show that looking at photos of Nature calms your mind, reduces stress and increases concentration. I’m happy to share my view with you!
“There is no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.” Ralph Smart