In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, host Marisa Donnelly speaks with Bethany Baker, Executive Director of A-GAP, a nonprofit founded on the principles of reducing distractions and teaching people how to be intentional with tech use in order to thrive both professionally and personally.

Highlights From The Episode:

[2:10] “How can we use technology in a way that’s life-giving rather than life-draining?”

[2:30] “There’s a quote that we love by Christian Lous Lange we love, ‘Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master.’ And so we talk a lot about how we can use it rather than allowing it to use us.”

[3:00] “The product that’s being sold whenever anything is free is us… It’s mean to be addictive because our time is their [company’s] money.”

[3:45] “[A-GAP] started as a prayer. It’s an acronym for Adoration, God-inspired to Act Intentionally where you’ve been Purposely placed… but we’ve also shifted it to be ‘a gap’ in technology.”

[4:20] “As positive as it [social media] can be, it can also be something that pulls us away from the beauty of living in the moment.”

[5:00] “The heartbeat behind it, for Marygrace [Founder of A-GAP] was to create space to hear the whisper of God in a culture driven by noise and distraction.”

[6:30] “I think it’s more important – now [more] than ever – to be intentional with our tech use because we’ve been on our screens so much more with the physical distancing…A lot of times that feels like the only way we can connect with our community, but sometimes it can be toxic when we’re on it too much.”

[6:45] “And that’s a lot of what we talk about at A-GAP is that the more time you spend on screens, and especially sometimes social media, that anxiety and depression can increase because you feel this constant need to keep up and start comparing yourself to others.”

[8:30] “It’s called the Pomodoro effect. It’s where you work for 50 minutes and then you take a 10-minute break. And I think if people did that more throughout the day, they would be more energized and focused… It’s about scheduling those intentional breaks [and being intentional with tech].”

[9:05] “We’re doing a ‘Step Back From Tech’ initiative. We’re encouraging Americans to go offline for an hour a day to off-set a tech increase that physical distancing has caused.”

[11:15] “A lot of people go to their phones when they’re tired to get rest and they leave feeling even more drained. Or they go for community and… leave with comparison.”

[15:10] “Whenever you do something with people, even if it’s on a screen – it acts differently in our brain than if we were just doing it by ourselves.”

[15:20] “Whenever we think that we’re being social going to social media and scrolling, the psychology in our bran does not do the same thing. It still says we’re lonely and we’re isolated.”

[16:25] “The beautiful opportunity we have now… with opening up to webinars, and Zoom calls, and Instagram live, we’re able to interact with people across the globe that we would have never been able to interact with in person.”

[17:40] “If I can just be present and really invest, even in total strangers… it’s really powerful what it does to each of us. When we’re giving our time, and attention, and energy to others it really fills our cup as well.”

[19:50] “We always come to technology – especially lately – with a negative bias… All of that is valid because we don’t want to be glued to our technology, especially with younger kids who haven’t fully developed a sense of self yet. But we also want to celebrate what we can use it [technology] for.”

[21:20] “Foster that organic creativity where we encourage boredom. Because boredom allows creativity to be enhanced and it allows the thought process [to grow].”

[23:20] “It’s so doable. We can do it. We can unplug and we can find other things to fill our time, without making technology the enemy, but with a conscious awareness of what we want to be, and who we want to be, and how we want to raise our kids, and how we want to survive this crazy time.”

[25:20] “Unplugging can be rest. It can be simply sitting there and not being distracted and feeling whatever you’re feeling in that moment, as opposed to doing something else to keep yourself from feeling whatever you’re feeling.”

[26:25] “Clearly communicating your needs is a way of guarding your time [to unplug].”

[27:00] “If we’re not intentional about getting off of technology, sometimes I wonder if we would.”

[27:10] “That’s all that we’re really saying: to just be intentional with tech and guarding that time, and prioritizing the time offline because we prioritize that time online all day for work or whatever it may be.”

[29:05] “Asking your community that’s surrounding you what they might need right just be a selfless way of poring into them in a time where it feels like we’re all turning to ourselves and addressing our needs. It can help us look outward on whose other needs we can help.”

[29:35] “A lot of times, the screens are the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we look at when we go to bed instead of having those original thoughts in the morning and that creativity sort of flowing.”

[31:20] “Be fully present where you are while you’re there because we want to make sure people know they’re more important than our phones.”

[32:10] “It’s during times of crisis that habits can be either formed that can change for the future. I think it’s so important, especially now, to choose the habits that we want that are life-giving and maybe weed out those habits that are toxic in our lives. Whatever we set up now or get rid of now will lead into our post-crisis lifestyle.”

Resources Mentioned:

To learn more and check out A-GAP’s latest digital wellness initiatives, click here. You can also follow along with A-GAP on Instagram.

To listen to more episodes, click here.