February 21, 2020

A very analog weekend

Hey there!

As Lisa’s husband, I’m lucky enough to get to work on and refine our sanctuary practices all the time. So I’m super excited that she has asked me to contribute to Finding Sanctuary, and introduce myself to you.

I work with Lisa at Lisa Kahn Designs, and my office is right next to hers. Even so, often I don’t get see her for the whole day. So I really treasure the chance to catch up and spend some down-time with her at the end of a hectic day creating sanctuary for our clients (ironic, I know).

But I’ve noticed that when we finally do get a moment to catch up, my phone is always with me. Always. And if there’s a lull in the conversation, or a pause while we’re waiting at a stoplight, or GOD FORBID if we’re waiting in line anywhere, I’m pulling it out and looking at the screen for distraction. Without fail.

And I’m not alone in this. I see it all the time. Lisa and I once walked through part of Central Park completely unobserved, surrounded by a crowd of people, all seated and staring at their phones. 

When we always have our phones available for distraction, we don’t have to fully show up to anything we do.

But then I happened across a tip on Mozilla.org about doing a “data detox” and resetting my relationship with my phone: **Tip #4: Set your phone to greyscale.**

The article explained:

Ever wonder why it feels like you need to check your phone all the time? Color plays a huge role in that. The bright red push notifications and text alerts that come through make it seems as if your friend’s party invite this Saturday is the most important thing to read right this second when it’s not.

I shared this with Lisa on Saturday morning, and we decided to try it for the weekend. Along with this, we decided that our phones would stay on airplane mode from 9 pm to 8 am if we were home.

***You might think a little change like the color of a screen wouldn’t make much of a difference. But it did, and it was astounding***.

At first, a grey-scaled phone can be truly annoying. Without color to use as a cue, everything takes a little longer to find. Pictures are lifeless. I noticed my eyes bored quickly of staring at the screen, and something in me groaned a little whenever I had to use my phone.

But then I started to notice the good part. Part of me started to wake up — a part that had been completely distracted before. The little in-between moments seemed to stretch out longer, and seemed more plentiful. The colors of the world around me seemed a little brighter. 

Lisa noticed similar things. Because our phones weren’t the alluring distraction they had always been, we were relaxed and present in a way we hadn’t been in a long time.

On Sunday afternoon while we were making lunch in the kitchen, laughing, and waiting for the oven timer to go off, Lisa asked me what time it was. I looked at my old analog wrist watch. “It’s 2:30,” I said.

That’s when it hit me. We were having a totally analog moment — enjoying one another during a moment’s downtime, with no digital interlopers whatsoever, unaware of even the time passing. 

Because the digital world in my phone had faded, the real world was suddenly far more alive.

What do you think? Do our phones need to come between ourselves and our lives? Would you try this? 

Why or why not? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

With heartfelt gratitude,


P.S. Do click over to Data detox: Five ways to reset your relationship with your phone and read it for yourself. There are also simple instructions there on how to try this for yourself.

Logo flourish

2 responses to “A very analog weekend”

  1. Michelle Snyder says:

    Hi Philip!
    Wow, love this blog,, so I totally went to the article and did start to delete a few apps( I actually don’t have many that I dont use daily) then I “looked” at Grayscale and how to turn it on and off,, and think I will definitely try this next week as a goal. I also loved the idea of airplane mode from 9pm-8am, as I may refine mine a bit, however, truly love the concept!

    And yes, I too have become “attached “ to the digital world- iphone screen etc. and as much as love my apple watch and all it offers for my fitness goals, I loved recently that i swapped it out for some of my other fashion watches that I love so much. And yes, for a few days it was so nice NOT to have my wrist “buzzing” with alerts and messages. Plus , I love watches and truly have some gems and need to enjoy them more!

    So thank you for sharing and being honest with your readers, as its so easy to become addicted to our phones and devices these days..

    I am trying to go back to enjoying a magazine read/flip while watching TV with my spouse. This can fit perfectly into my upcoming LENT and things to give up..

    Hmmm as they say,” timing is everything & perfect timing and reminder for me of whats important daily. Being “present”

    • Philip Allen says:

      Hi, Michelle! I didn’t want to get too technical in the post, but it’s possible to make it as simple as triple-clicking your side button to switch color on and off. This is a LIFE SAVER, because there are times when, working in a design office, color is really important.

      And good for you and your watches! I have a few mechanical watches that I treasure as well. Unhooking would be a lot harder with having the Internet strapped to my wrist.

      Thank you for reading, Michelle, and for your very sweet comment.

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