Do you immediately check your phone when you’re alone or have a free moment? Do you get distracted easily at work by the web? Perhaps you’re that person with the wise idea to film a concert on your phone. Getting stuck in a digital rut is all too common today. People have become enslaved to their devices and it’s tough for them to regain control. Breaking free means drafting a new contract with technology and setting up boundaries that work.

Research suggests that at least 64 per cent of people now spend up to 4 hours daily of leisure time in front of a screen. Just as TV watching has been linked to higher rates of obesity and diabetes, this extra sedentary time is bad news for our health.

Here are  some common habits of a tech addict and ways to resolve them.

Choose Outdoor Activities Over Technology

When you’re at home, make it a rule that you can’t be online if the sun is shining. Instead, you have to go for a walk, ride a bike or get some other kind of healthy physical activity for at least an hour before you can pull out your phone or tablet, or take a seat at the computer. This rule should apply to everyone in your household.

Rearrange the Family Room Furniture

Design your family room so that the television is no longer the focal point of the room, but an afterthought that requires twisting around or rearranging chairs to view it.

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Limit Social Media Use

Social networks have transformed computer and mobile use for Canadians of all ages. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, impose limits on the amount of time you spend on social media. Avoid aimless browsing and give your time online a purpose: Research holidays, catch up on the news of the day or find the answer to that random question that’s been bothering you for ages. Then log off!

Set Aside Reading Time

Buy Me A Coffee

Challenge yourself to read at least 30 pages of a great book before you check your computer or mobile device. Pick the right reading material and you’ll soon find you’ve created a new pastime!

Create Projects for Yourself

It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you’re not glued to a screen. Compile a list of one-hour evening projects. List everything you can possibly think of: Organizing kitchen cupboards, touching up the paint on your bedroom walls, sharpening knives, sorting through your sewing materials. Then try to do one each evening.

Skip The Morning Digital Check-in

Waking up to a techie breakfast of checking your email, Facebook or Instagram likes that you scored since midnight isn’t that nourishing. It saps productivity by flooding the mind with a full plate of everything before you’ve had a chance to focus on the bigger picture.Swap the mobile activity by truly becoming mobile in the morning. Do some light stretching or yoga, brush your teeth, read a newspaper or meditate for 10 minutes. Work will be waiting for you in the office.

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Ward Off Internet Interference

You’re in the zone and working on the design of a presentation for a client. Then ding! An email arrives and you’re gazing at four videos of cute kids throwing cereal. Finding your bearings and getting back into the flow of work can be a real challenge, just like trying to do so after consuming a plate of very spicy food for lunch.Interruptions are a drag, and there are various tools to get them under control. Install a browser extension like StayFocusd and set time limits on visiting certain websites. Or turn off your Wi-Fi for an hour. Better yet, step away from the computer entirely and grab a notepad.

 Avoid Putting Out The Never-ending Fire

Some say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” But they might as well add, “And zero time to get it all done.” Managers are often dragged into meetings or fire drills that require immediate attention and suck up the entire day. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that many find useful to instill a sense of presence and regain focus.Develop a practice and make it part of your daily routine.

Stop Always Being Available 24/7

Technology lets people work and be reached no matter the place or time. With devices in the pocket, work-life fences are down and people are always set to be on. Yet taking breaks is good for the mind.Who hasn’t had the Monday morning awakening when solutions magically appear to resolve giant problems? Getting there means being ruthless in creating space from screens. One day a week, consciously put in the effort to avoid anything digital. This Bay Area organization has hosted more than 500 individuals on mindfulness retreats, leading prominent tech companies in day camps and conversations to uncover ethics, healthy technology habits and best practices.

Stop Web Searching For Everything

Remember exploring hiking trails without using Yelp or taking a risk to check out a pizzeria because it smelled delicious? Trust the gut more and dig inside to find the right answer. While at work, trust your intuition and surprise yourself with your own talents. People are prone to browsing the web for inspiration, but original work demands digging into a personal set of beliefs and experiences. Even if you fail, you’ll learn a ton.

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Try Shedding A Phone For A While

Phones can create a barrier between the holder and the subject, and in a way contaminate the purity of an experience. Life is always in high-definition. It’s important to create phone-free zones and times.At my house, phones are banned during dinner. My friends and I play phone stack at restaurants, piling all the phones in the middle of the table. Imagine a pyramid of phones: Whoever picks up his or hers first pays the entire bill.

Next time you feel the need to pull out your phone and capture the moment, soak it in with your eyes and appreciate it. Over time, the anxiety of not being able to snap a photo of a cool fire hydrant will fade away, and you’ll just be there.

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