You’ve got your work in front of you, a cup of coffee on your desk, some soft, wordless tunes playing on the stereo, and you’re ready to get some work done. Your phone buzzes and 90 minutes later you look up filled with self-loathing and regret. Your coffee is cold, the cursor on your Word document is blinking mockingly, and you’re wondering what the hell happened. Switch off is a small NFT chip that helps you lock and unlock your phone gently to avoid distractions.
The company started with a Kickstarter project about a year ago when it sold about $10,000 worth of products. It recently started shipping regularly and can be bought for about $50.
The idea is simple; if you have to use a “key” to unlock apps that distract you, that means you have to make an active decision to use your phone to unlock, say, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or my personal “Jesus, where did this come an hour ago?” — hip hop dance videos on TikTok.
I was initially torn by the device. Do we really need more plastic stuff? My Android phone has a bunch of “focus mode” type functions now. The problem is that turning them off is a tap on the phone and it’s all too easy to “just quickly check” something and lose an hour. By adding a physical element to the process, it means you can lock your phone and throw the Unpluq tile into another corner of the room. Now getting to Instagram means you have to get up, dig out the dust bunnies from under the sofa and touch your phone to the bright yellow tile. It sounds silly, but it works.
Is it worth increasing your climate impact and deducting $50 from your bank balance? It depends on how ADHD you are, I guess, but I admit that this little dumb yellow tile has become my go-to aid in getting things done — including this article I’ve been meaning to write for weeks.