Step Away from the Smartphone Step Away from the Smartphone

Step Away from the Smartphone

by ReadyMade

January 19, 2010
This article is part of The GOOD (and ReadyMade) Guide to Slowing Down, from GOOD Issue 18. Read more of the guide here.

Easy ways to unplug your gadgets and your life

Perhaps you've heard: Texting while driving can kill you. If you ask us, staying too connected behind your desk can be dangerous, as well. In recent studies, single-taskers have outperformed those who take on many tasks at a time, suggesting that multitaskers are less efficient, have heavier workloads, and set themselves up for elevated stress and its related problems, like weight gain, sleep loss, and elevated blood pressure. What to do? Unplug from the infostream.Stage a blackoutStay off email, instant messenger, and your phone for a few dedicated hours daily, or even for a whole day. Use that time to focus on your most important work, and spend your leftover time googling stuff, fiddling around on Facebook, and otherwise gathering the steam to do it all again tomorrow.Don't spam yourselfUse a separate address or at least a filter to redirect messages from the senators, activists, online communities, and retailers to whom you give your address.Declare email bankruptcyIf your unread emails have reached unmanageable proportions, wipe the slate clean-just notify everyone in your contact list first. To prevent another crisis, set up an autoreply signaling that you check email only once a day and recommending the phone for urgent matters.Leave your smartphone at homeYeah, yeah, you love that little gadget because it gives you "freedom." But that little gadget also means you have no excuse, ever, to not be reachable. Pick one day a month to leave your house without your smartphone. There are still pay phones in all major cities, and no one will miss your mobile uploads (trust us).Turn off the instant messengerEnough said.Illustration by Tim Lahan
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Step Away from the Smartphone