Smart ways to stress less about technology

Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 10:45 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 @ 10:45 PM

This article is presented in partnership with whil, a new brand created by technical apparel design pioneers, Chip Wilson — founder of lululemon athletica — and his wife, Shannon Wilson. whil is an initiative promoting peace of mind featuring a 60-second meditation program that targets urban professionals who are on the brink of burnout and providing them with the tools to thrive in today's world. We promise nothing. You create everything.

Modern technology certainly has its advantages. We can stalk friends on Facebook and get real-time Twitter updates on Beyonce’s pregnancy. But having access to all these digital gadgets can also be a huge source of stress.

Among people in their early 20s, those who use their cell phones and computers a lot (defined by criteria such as receiving and answering at least 11 phone calls or text messages per day) are more likely to struggle with depression and problems sleeping, especially if they see that technology as stressful in the first place [1] [2]. And sometimes we can grow so comfortable with swiping and tapping that not having access to digital technology can be a whole other source of anxiety. One survey of United Kingdom residents found that nearly half of respondents said they would be more stressed if they couldn’t surf the Web than if they were cut off from television or from basic utilities.

The worst part is that stress doesn’t necessarily disappear the minute we put our iPhone back in our pocket. People who feel overwhelmed by technology tend to be more dissatisfied with their lives in general.

The good news is there are at least 24 solutions to these issues, and none of them involve living like a Luddite. Email, texting, and social media shouldn’t drive us crazy — they should be tools to help us connect with people when and how we want. Read on to find out how to reduce the stress associated with modern technology — and don’t forget to share your favorite tips in the comments section.

Digital Down-Low -- Your Action Plan

1. Sleep soundly.
Stop using the phone and computer a few hours before bedtime — the light from digital gadgets can interfere with our ability to fall and stay asleep. When it’s finally time for snoozing, keep those gadgets somewhere out of reach so you won’t be tempted to start emailing or online shopping (or sleep-texting!) from between the sheets. For a better way to unwind, pick up a (hard-copy) book or magazine. May we suggest Goodnight Moon?

2. Spread the word.
Once you’ve decided on some email- and phone-checking rules to keep you sane, let other people know about them. For example, tell coworkers, friends, and family that you won’t be checking email or returning calls after 8 pm so no one freaks out thinking you’re MIA.

3. Ease in.
We’re tempted to tell you to leave the phone at home all day, but we’re also not trying to induce a series of panic attacks. Instead, ditch the digital stuff gradually by first placing the phone in another room for a few hours and then running errands without it. For those worried that they might need the phone in case of an emergency, consider texting a friend before leaving the house to let them know where you’re going so that if anything does happen, someone will know where to find you.

4. Pack it up.

“Phantom vibrations,” or the feeling that our phone is vibrating when it’s not, is a relatively new phenomenon. We can be walking down the street when a slight breeze blows past us, and suddenly we’re convinced that our phone is blowing up in our pocket. Instead, consider keeping the phone in a backpack, where vibrations can’t be heard or felt.

5. Shut it down.
Once you’ve designated those gadget-free time periods, be even bolder and turn the phone off completely. (Yes, checking into a restaurant on Foursquare counts as having the phone on.) Unless you’re expecting an important phone call or email, you’re probably just wasting the phone’s battery life by keeping it on all the time.

6. Face the filters.
Most email programs have options to filter out certain emails from the inbox based on addressee or subject line. Consider filtering out everything except relatively urgent messages (e.g. email from the boss), so that messages from friends, family, and coworkers don’t fill up the inbox and distract us from other tasks we might be working on. When it’s email-checking time (see number one), go in and check those non-urgent folders. Also consider setting up separate accounts for work and personal emails so you won’t be tempted to read the latest gossip from your BFF in the middle of a staff meeting.

7. Shut the windows.
We may think we have an unlimited attention span, but research suggests multitasking is actually detrimental to our productivity [3]. Moreover, multitasking can actually trigger the release of stress hormones. When possible, stay calm and focused by working in just one window at a time. (So if you’re writing, Microsoft Word should be open, but the web browser shouldn’t.)

8. Don’t dawdle.
An overflowing inbox is no place to hang out. When an email comes in, spend just three seconds deciding what to do with it: respond, delete, archive, or add its contents to a to-do list. It’ll save precious time and brain space for projects that actually require a lot of attention.

9. Take off.
Research suggests taking an “email vacation,” or a few days without looking at the inbox, can actually reduce stress and boost productivity. Try it out over a long weekend and make sure to let everyone know you won’t be available.  (See number two.)

10. Press pause.
You’re watching a movie, totally engrossed in the romantic attraction between Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, when suddenly the urge to check your phone strikes. Before whipping it out, stop and think about what you’re going to gain from checking, instead of waiting until the lovebirds finally get together (or don’t). That five-second-long pause is a great opportunity to realize that refreshing our inbox yet again probably isn’t going to make much of a difference.

11. Be present.
“Mindfulness” is a big buzzword these days, but the term has a lot of significance in our always-accessible age. During conversation with a friend or coworker, make a conscious effort to actually pay attention to what he/she is saying, instead of half-listening and half-scrolling through Twitter. It’s a way of ensuring that we genuinely get something out of every interaction.

12. Get your game face on.
When out with a group of friends, play the “phone-stacking” game. Everyone puts his or her smartphone in the center of the table, one on top of the other, and no one’s allowed to touch the pile. The first person to reach for their phone has to pay the whole bill!

For the full list of 24 smart ways to stress less about technology, go to Greatist.com.

 


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Apple iPhone X and iPhone 8: Everything you need to know

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 5:22 PM

Apple Unveils New iPhones

It’s September, and new iPhones are in the air. Apple invited the press to the Steve Jobs Theater on its new Cupertino, California, Apple Park campus Tuesday to show off the new products after a brief memorial to the theater’s namesake.  

iPhone X: A new, expensive iPhone

Apple finally unveiled the iPhone X, pronounced “iPhone Ten.”

“It is all screen,” Apple Vice President Phil Schiller said. “It is incredible to hold.”

The phone comes in space gray and silver. It is engineered to be water- and dust-resistant. 

>> Read more trending news

The screen is called Super Retina. It measures 5.8 inches diagonally with a 458 ppi pixel density, the highest ever in an iPhone. The Super OLED screen stretches edge to edge with minimal bezel on the front. It supports HDR vision and True Tone, which matches your screen coloring to your surroundings. 

CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone X is displayed during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. Apple held their first special event at the new Apple Park campus where they announced the new iPhone 8, iPhone X and the Apple Watch Series 3.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Getty Images)

The iPhone X wakes up when you pick it up or tap the screen, even when it’s turned off. To unlock the phone, users swipe up from the bottom. This gesture also acts as a virtual home button. If you swipe up from the bottom and pause without swiping all the way, it opens multitasking. 

Face ID

For security, the iPhone X will use  Face ID. The iPhone will recognize you using a bevy of sensors built into the front of the phone. Schiller claimed the system will work even in the dark. 

The new phones will have better cameras. Again, the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 will have one camera and the 5.5-inch 8 Plus will have two. Having two rear cameras allows the 8 Plus to have photography features such as portrait lighting, which adds portrait-style light and shadow to photos. The features will ship in beta this fall.

The iPhone 8 starts at $699 for 64 GB of storage. iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799. Preorders begin Friday. Phones will be released Sept. 22.

New Apple Watch with LTE data

Apple Watch Series 3 was announced; it has Long Term Evolution, or LTE, built in. The watch, by having its own data connection, allows users to get texts and stream Apple Music without an external data connection. There is no word on how much this feature will affect battery life.

Related: Apple unveils iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

The new watch model includes a faster processor that supports conversations with Siri. There will be an altimeter -- most useful for skiing and snowboarding -- and a W2 chip for AirPods. 

Despite all this, Apple claims the Series 3 is just “two sheets of paper” thicker than previous models. 

Apple also showed off watchOS 4, the newest operating system for its wearable. WatchOS 4 adds more health-focused features, such as notifying you when your heart rate becomes irregular but you don’t appear to be working out. 

The new Apple Watch is $399 with cellular service and $329 without. Orders begin on Friday, and watches are available on Sept. 22. 

Apple TV 4K

Apple pushed a refreshed version of its set-top box, Apple TV. This version will support 4K resolution for videos. 

It will support high dynamic range videos, or HDR. HDR videos show more detail across different lighting amounts within one shot. 

The TV app, available on iOS and Apple TV, will support live news and sports. 

The new Apple TV is $179, or $199 for more storage. Preorders start Friday, and it launches on Sept. 22. 

iOS 11 details and release date

The iOS 11 will include something called animojis. These are emojis whose faces move to match your expressions. These can be sent to people over iMessage. 

The iOS 11 will release on Sept. 19. 

How to watch the speech

On its website, Apple has a recap of the event, introducing the new products, which was the first from Steve Jobs Theater.

Apple iPhone X and 8 event: How much it costs, when it ships, what features it will have

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 4:46 PM

Apple Unveils New iPhones

It’s September, and new iPhones are in the air. Apple invited the press to the Steve Jobs Theater on its new Apple Park campus Tuesday to show off the new products after a brief memorial to the theater’s namesake.

iPhone X: A new, expensive iPhone

Apple finally unveiled the iPhone X (pronounced “ten,” it appears to be a Roman numeral). 

“It is all screen,” Apple vice president Phil Schiller said. “It is incredible to hold.”

The phone comes in space gray and silver. It is engineered to be water- and dust-resistant. 

The screen classified as “Super Retina.” It is 5.8 inches diagonally with a 458 pixels-per-inch density, the highest ever in an iPhone. The Super OLED screen stretches edge to edge with minimal bezel on the front. It supports HDR vision and True Tone, which adjusts your screen coloring based on your surroundings. 

The iPhone X wakes up when you pick it up or tap the screen, even when the phone is locked and the screen off. To unlock the phone, users swipe up from the bottom. This gesture also acts as a virtual home button since the physical circle button is gone. If you swipe up from the bottom and pause without swiping all the way, it opens multitasking. 

For security, the iPhone X will use Face ID. Your iPhone will recognize you using a bevy of sensors built into the front of the phone. Schiller claimed the system will work even in the dark or after you change your hair or clothing.. 

Face ID on iPhone X failed in its first public demo, but it may not be its fault

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 4:47 PM

Apple Unveils New iPhones

Sharp-eyed viewers of the Apple press conference announcing the iPhone X noticed a small hiccup on stage. When Apple Vice President Craig Federighi came on stage to demo Face ID, it failed. 

According to Apple’s presentation, Face ID uses several sensors on the front of the iPhone X to read the user’s face, recognize them and unlock the phone. Previous presenter Phil Schiller said the feature would even work in the dark with an infrared camera. 

However, when Federighi tried to unlock the demo iPhone with his face, it did not work. He picked up the backup demo iPhone, saying, “Let’s go to backup here.” 

This phrase was immediately mocked by Twitter, as things are when they fail in literally their first public demonstration. 

However, that failure may not be the fault of Face ID. The Verge pointed out the phone showed the message, “Your passcode is required to enable Face ID.” A similar message is shown when an iPhone with Touch ID is rebooted - the phone makes the user enter the full password at least once before it accepts biometric security. 

Face ID may not have failed. What may have happened is the demo iPhone was rebooted before the show and needed the full passcode to be input before Face ID would work again. 

Still, it was an awkward moment for a company trying to sell the public on a new form of biometric security in place of the longstanding (and proved reliable quantity) Touch ID.