How to go on a digital diet
Cellphones, for many people, have morphed into an extra appendage, always within reach except for that time you accidentally left it at home and suffered a minor panic attack.
Our constant connectedness has its benefits, but when people can't get through dinner without responding to their phone's pings, or they so restlessly check their Facebook and Twitter feeds that they walk blindly into traffic, it may be a sign that the white-knuckled grip people have on their phones is actually the phones' grip on them.
Here are 14 exercises to help you practice phone restraint.
• Charge your phone outside of your bedroom so you don't plunge into the digital stream as soon as you open your eyes, said Daniel Sieberg, author of “The Digital Diet.”
• Don't check your work email until you get to work.
• Keep your phone off the table during meals so that you're not interrupted or tempted to fiddle with it.
• Play “phone stack” when dining with friends to give everyone a financial incentive to focus on the flesh-and-blood humans in front of them. Here's how: Everyone puts their phones on the table, face down, stacked one on top of the other. The first person to grab his/her phone has to pick up the whole tab.
• Experience something first, post about it later, Sieberg said. Interrupting the activity you're engaged in to tweet or post photos of said activity distracts from your enjoyment of the experience — especially when you then keep checking to see if anyone has commented.
•When you compose your out-of-office reply for a vacation, say that any correspondence sent during that time will self-destruct; if it's important, people will just have to contact you upon your return.
• Leave your phone behind when you go on a walk or to the gym or take a lunch break or any other time you don't really need it.
• Log out of Facebook every time you close the page, suggests Nancy Baym, author of “Personal Connections in the Digital Age.” Just having the extra step of logging on each time you pull up Facebook can make you reconsider whether it's really what you want to do.
• Establish “tech breaks,” during which you spend a minute or two catching up on your virtual social connections before turning your phone on silent and placing it face down, suggests research psychologist Larry Rosen. Wait 15 minutes before you allow yourself to look at your phone again (set an alarm). As you become accustomed to letting it sit, lengthen the time between tech breaks.
• Abstain from automatically whipping out your phone any moment you find yourself alone. Instead, take in the scene around you. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. Think deep thoughts.
• Put your phone in the trunk while you drive. Keep your phone on silent. When you happen to look at it later, you can see what you missed. iPhone users can also use the new “Do Not Disturb” feature.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Gameday: Pirates at Cubs, April 27, 2015
- NASA head tells Pitt grads their generation will ‘walk the face of Mars’
- Man fatally stabbed in Braddock Hills
- Rossi: Penguins’ best bet is on Martin
- Fire at North Union industrial building ruled accidental
- It’s business, but not as usual in Pittsburgh
- Young defensemen make case for future with Penguins
- From injuries to front office, Penguins’ season didn’t lack drama
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport
- Penguins president: General manager, coach won’t be fired
- Rossi: Crosby, Malkin didn’t sign on for this