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🎮 Tip: Tally your daily dopamine urges.

On Mind Cafe, Sean Kernan explains that the reason many of us can’t seem to get anything done isn’t because we’re lazy, but because we’re overstimulated. We’re swirling in a drain of pings and notifications and open tabs that lead us to other tabs. Something that can help: Analyzing our behavior like scientists.

Kernan suggests taking a piece of paper and adding a tally mark every time you catch yourself itching for a dopamine hit—a peek at your Instagram “likes” or a look at Slack three minutes after you last checked it, for…

🔓 Tip: Set up a “mindful lock screen.”

We touch our phones an average of 2,617 times a day. While some of those taps and swipes are necessary, a lot of them happen because we’re bored, or anxious, or avoiding that one task we’ve already put off for the past 27 days. What if every time we lifted our phones, a little voice asked: Hey there, buddy, do you really need to do this right now?

A mindful lock screen serves this purpose. It’s a phone lock screen that you customize with words that will help you be more intentional…

Here’s how to maintain your digital resistance

Image: Sukanda Panpa / EyeEm / Getty

If you made a resolution to get off your phone, it’s probably starting to fall apart. The senseless alerts are back, your resolve to “just check one thing” bleeds into the next digital thing, and before you know it an hour (or two or three) have gone by.

You know what it’s costing you. You don’t want to be like the majority of Americans who spend on average 1,200 hours a year on their phone — a full waking month out of every year, a full waking year out of every decade. …

To make your phone work for you, not against you, think like an anthropologist and deconstruct all the jobs you’re asking it to do

Credit: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

My hands hurt. They’re sore and stiff, and on bad days I can feel a dull ache from my wrist all the way up to the base of my skull. I know what the problem is: Even though I’ve tried to be on my phone less, it’s clearly still too much.

The pandemic has thrown us into a tizzy of endless news-reading, doomscrolling, and social media escapism, without the in-person social norms that used to help regulate our behavior, and the tumult of the election year didn’t help. I also added five months of maternity leave and a texting-while-nursing habit…

✅ Today’s tip: Get a real, non-phone alarm clock.

Wake up, smash the “off” button on your alarm app, doomscroll the morning’s news — sound like a familiar ritual?

Well. With a sense of renewal in the air right now, there’s no better time to change the default opening to your day. Paul Greenberg’s advice: Get yourself an alarm clock. “The moments between sleeping and waking are the times when we are most in touch with our subconscious, and thus precious for creativity,” Greenberg writes. …

This is the year to de-center your smartphone

Illustrations from “Goodbye Phone, Hello World” by Emiliano Ponzi

For the sake of yourself and your country, it is time to get off your phone.

Yes, I know you needed to see the latest from the Capitol storming, the impeachment hearings, the Republican backlash, and then you’ll need to know how it’s all going down with the new administration in the first 100 days, and then perhaps you’ll want to check in on the stalled Covid-19 vaccination effort. And then poof, before you know it, midterm elections will be ramping up and you’ll need to scroll and scroll and scroll.

But there’s a good reason to balance a civic…

Quarantined at home, we’ve rediscovered what phones are really for

A grandmother smiles and laughs as she talks on the phone.
A grandmother smiles and laughs as she talks on the phone.
Photo: Akshar Dave/Unsplash

Ever since Alexander Graham Bell beat the pack of competing inventors to the big payday in 1876, the telephone has been changing the way humans communicate. For the better part of a century, the device was the center of the American household, a clunky contraption nailed to the wall or honored with its own little telephone-table. Teenagers dragged it into their rooms, trailing tangled wires behind them. E.T. wanted to “phone home” in the classic 1982 Steven Spielberg film, stretching his gnarly finger to the heavens.

Then, the phone calls petered out. Email and texting were faster and easier. Social…

When I used these strategies, I finally took back my life

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

It’s there: in your pocket. On the desk. In the cup holder of the car.

You want to use it. Just grab it and alleviate the boredom or discomfort. Might as well check the headlines instead of struggling to type words on a blank screen. And why stay in this tense argument with your spouse when you can see what’s new on Instagram? “Hey, sorry buddy, I can’t play dinosaurs right now — I have to answer this email.”

That’s what our phones have become. An instant escape, and a constant burden. I remember when I got my first BlackBerry…

Technology doesn’t have to be an isolating force

Credit: lankogal/iStock/Getty Images Plus

“How could a phone be a shrink?” This question drove my research at Intel in 2006 and led to a prototype we called the Mood Phone. I knew the idea flew in the face of an implicit tenet of therapy: that unmediated interpersonal dialogue was essential for it to be effective. But I also knew that the traditional model of therapy was constrained by the technological limitations of the age in which it first developed.

I spent the better part of a decade training to become a clinical psychologist. I saw how powerful individual therapy can be, but I also…

I’m that person and I’m not sorry

Credit: VW Pics/Getty Images

Smartphones are the worst, right? They’re addictive, rotting our brains, skewing our memories, and killing the art of casual conversation. As if relying on our phones to fill every idle moment isn’t bad enough, going out in public to stare at a screen — especially at a place like a bar that’s built for socializing — surely signals the decline of our civilization.

Except I do it, and you probably do, too.

I recently spent an entire evening at my neighborhood bar, carrying on five text conversations simultaneously while drinking frosty margaritas in IRL silence. …


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