Purposeful Context Switching Between Work and Life: Design Conjecture

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Paperweight: A Technology Conjecture

One of the biggest pain points in work from home is the blurred lines between working and living. In vast numbers, people are working an average of three more hours per day with remote work. This is largely because the boundaries between work and life, which once was the transition between office and home, have become invisible.

Paperweight is a purposeful context switch that helps differentiate work and life at home. Inspired by the shape of the quintessential office item, Paperweight requires the conscious and deliberate action of moving it to the proximity of your computer or work device to begin and end a working day, with a visual timer to help to draw boundaries and prevent overwork. The action of “setting” the workday timer also communicates with working devices to access “Focus Mode,” a carefully tailored environment that changes notifications and internet usage to minimize distraction, addressing another notable pain point in remote work.

Throughout the day, Paperweight’s timer helps switch context to “life” during pre-set intervals (for instance, to go on a midday workout or on a lunch break), corresponding to your calendar. And at the end of the day, Paperweight turns off “Focus Mode” and encourages you to step away from your work for the day, going so far as to turn off work notifications. To solidify this action, Paperweight requires the deliberate action of moving it away from your computer.

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