Issue 01: The Slow Scroll
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Welcome to Issue 01 

In the Fall of 2018, a small team and I ran a successful Kickstarter for IRL Glasses (a proof of concept for glasses that block screens), raised 5x our goal, and took the internet by storm. It was clear there’s a huge community of folks, just like us, interested in how the digital age impacts our health, happiness, creativity, and spirit. 

We found ourselves searching for a centralized source for all things IRL—a hub where the themes and topics we were so excited about could converge, not in an overly academic or scientific sense, but in a way that everyday people like you and me could understand. 

We're creating The Slow Scroll as an experiment. If you can’t be bothered by another newsletter, we totally get it: Unsubscribe. Of course, we'd love if you'd give it a read. Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions. Hope you enjoy! 


Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of IRL Labs

Nix the Busyness: Niksen, the Art of Doing Nothing

To kick off our inaugural issue, in the face of rising burnout, anxiety and stress-related diseases, we want to highlight how easy it is (despite the truth in this New York Times piece that “the smartphone you carry with you at all hours makes it almost impossible to truly unplug and embrace idleness”) to just do nothing. Remember stillness? Boredom? Twiddling your thumbs?

As summer approaches, forget hygge and embrace Niksen: just turn your phone into airplane mode. If you still find it difficult, this helpful read suggests "using open-end toys such as kinetic sand, Baoding balls or marble runs,". Do fidget spinners count?

Book Recommendation
Philosophy for Tech: Digital Minimalism

When not doing nothing, how are you spending your precious minutes and hours? Cal Newport’s latest book argues for a philosophy of technology use, which, if you spend a lot of time staring at screens, is essentially an a philosophy for how to live in the modern age. Instead of arbitrarily setting rules about when we use technology, this book gently nudges us to consider why we use it.

It’s an engaging read that will remind you that “digital minimalism is much more than a set of rules, it’s about cultivating a life worth living in our current age of alluring devices,”. Take a 30 day declutter challenge (think Marie Kondo for your devices) and discover just how much time you really have. 

Read More: An Interview with Cal Newport and Bullet Journal Founder, Ryder Carroll

IRL Prompt: Hangout Without Phones

Doing nothing can be hard. This week, we suggest scheduling a hang with somebody that lasts at least three hours. The catch: you both have to leave your smartphones at home (or out of reach).

Now that your hands are free, give each other a high five! Next, just wander, bring a notepad, a deck of cards, talk to strangers… see where being IRL brings you both. 

Once you’ve ventured out into the world, feel free to share with us how it went here, and any other tips for living IRL!

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.
Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Then grab a cup of coffee with them.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Emily Lin, Producer

Mailing Address
IRL Labs
PO BOX 24213
Oakland, CA 94623
Copyright © 2019 IRL Labs, All rights reserved.
The Slow Scroll is a curated newsletter dedicated to helping you live IRL.
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