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5 Tips on How to Stop Being a Digital Slave

5 Tips on How to Stop Being a Digital Slave

In the past few months, I started noticing that I’ve become a slave. I’m a slave to the internet, and I’m a slave to my phone. I tried remembering how many times I haven’t used my phone for more than an hour in the last few years, but I couldn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the internet. I hear the old-schoolers talk about how the internet is killing everything, how we humans are deteriorating because of it. I hear them say that bloggers are not journalists and that social connections are not relationships, but I think they are wrong.

Technology, including in large part the internet, alongside human relationships, is one of the connections that moves our society forward. The innovation that appears in all aspects of our daily lives allows us to be smarter, faster, better. So every time I hear the old-schoolers talk about how the internet is a bad thing, I wonder why they wouldn’t want to be better.

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The BIG problem with the internet is that it makes us dependent. Quite often, I see people (and I’m one of them) that actually look and act like junkies. They can’t stop playing with their phone, iPod, PC, or tablet. They can’t disconnect themselves from the non-stop stream of information that the internet provides us. Like everything in life, when you find yourself dependent on something, it might be the right time to start thinking about whether you need to stop and restart yourself.

Here are a few tips to help you take a break from your digital addiction:

1. Put your phone face-down.

I recently had the good fortune of discovering a fantastic project called undigitize.me. This project is a creation of a young entrepreneur who had enough. He wanted to focus on the things that mattered the most, mainly the people he encountered and his thoughts. One day he realized that the phone was his biggest obstacle.

So what does it mean to put your phone face-down? It means that you are preventing your mobile device from capturing your attention every time you receive an email, message, or any other stream of information. It’s not just a statement; it’s a way of life. Keeping your phone face-down means that you are trying to normalize the way you think and act, it means that once again you are in control of your time and focus and will not let any app or service control you.

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2. Go back to sleep.

Since moving to New York (while my team remains in Tel Aviv), I have been suffering from severe jet lag. This basically causes me to wake up at least three times throughout the night.

The big problem with waking up in the middle of the night, is that while its 3:30 AM in New York it’s also 10:30 AM in Tel Aviv. This means that in the middle of the night, I wake up to at least thirty emails, messages, and push notifications. For some reason, I can’t help but check each one of those notifications until I’m so awake that sleep has become impossible. One thing leads to another, and I suddenly find myself answering emails and going on Facebook and Twitter, all because I picked up my phone instead of going back to sleep.

3. Walk everywhere.

I’m a big fan of walking, and I try to take a walk whenever possible. Besides the fact that it’s so healthy for your body and your mind, walking allows me to focus on the world around me instead of looking at my phone. One of the reasons I like walking is that it’s the only time I have to myself. I put some music on, and just walk. I can’t text or send emails because not only is it not comfortable, but it’s impossible to think properly while on the move. Walking allows me to concentrate on my thoughts and relax.

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4. Meditate.

There is much to say about the effect meditation has on your body and soul. Sitting quietly and slowly breathing in and out gives you time to focus on your inner self. Taking just a bit of time from your daily schedule to perform mediation will allow you to stop everything at once and focus on yourself with no other distractions. Dedicating even 5 minutes a day to meditate can provide you with quiet relief from all the distractions out there such as your phone and computer.

5. Turn off (most of) your push notifications.

The good thing about push notifications is that they ensure that you won’t miss anything happening right now. The downside is that you can never know when the next distraction is coming. To be fair, I understand the importance of enabling push notifications from your email client, so let’s focus on other apps. Do you really need instant notification about every ‘like’ you get on Instagram, or every time someone invites you to an event on Facebook?

Think about how much you can reduce the noise and distraction if you turned off the push notifications in most of your news/social apps. As I said, push notifications can help us to not miss important things that come into our phone, but too many push notifications from less important sources and apps can prevent us to see the real things that we will came across in our real life.

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Technology, sometimes we can’t live with it but we certainly can’t live without it. but once we know how to find the balance between our constant need to be fed with information to the human need of interacting with others—we will stop being digital slaves.

We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions regarding how to stop being a slave to the digital world we live in. Leave a comment below!

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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