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Stop Technology Addiction

Our Resolutionary New Year, Week 4: Achieve a Digital State of Zen

It's week four of our resolutionary New Year, and today, we're turning our iPhones into peace-and-quiet-Phones. Most of us are sitting at desks all day, staring at harsh screens, and even when we're not in the office, we're glued to our small displays while waiting in line or standing on the bus.

Give your eyes a break and follow these simple rules for achieving a digital zen state anytime, anywhere.

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule — Reduce computer eye strain by looking away from the screen every 20 minutes at objects 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you have trouble remembering this rule, create 20-minute playlists and look away every time the music stops.
  • Set Up Do Not Disturb on iOS 6 — Do you think you could resist using your phone for an hour every night after work? Activate the Do Not Disturb setting in iOS 6, and you'll have no other choice. Launch Settings and toggle the Do Not Disturb switch to On. The setting will silence all alerts, texts, and calls (unless you allow calls from certain Contact groups) and the screen won't turn on when an alert is received. Try scheduling Do Not Disturb to activate for an hour (or three!) every night. There's also an app for Android (free).
  • Go on a digital diet — Break free of your devices and go on a digital detox. Throw an analog party where guests surrender their devices at the door or go on a tech-free retreat ($500-$950) or stay at a gadget-free hotel.
  • Don't look at screens at least 30 minutes before bed — Light messes up sleep cycles, so don't look at any devices before you hit the sack. In fact, bedrooms should be kept as dark as possible while snoozing.
  • Get an e-ink device — If you're an avid reader and enjoy the flexibility of an ereader, then invest in an e-ink device. E-ink devices are better for prebedtime reads, because the screen isn't backlit. The Kindle Paperwhite ($119) is our favorite because it gives readers access to the vast Amazon library and the option to turn on backlighting in dark rooms.
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