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Curb your digital addiction with these resolutions

Esther J. Cepeda on

1. Adjust your social media and email notifications -- on your mobile devices as well as on your desktop and laptop -- so that you get only truly important intrusive alerts, like texts from close family members or emails from bosses or direct reports.

2. Spend some time "muting," "unfollowing" or otherwise quieting down people on your social networks who you want to stay in touch with over the long haul but whose every angry missive about the day's politics makes you crazy.

3. Invest some real effort into adjusting your phone, tablet, laptop and desktop settings so that your apps can't listen in on your conversations via their microphones and/or cameras.

(No, this is not paranoid: Hundreds of seemingly innocuous games are loaded with a software from a company called Alphonso that allows the apps to use smart-device microphones to collect data on people's viewing habits -- even when the apps are not in use.)

Now for two that are less of a drag, though still might require some habit-forming discipline:

1. Phone a friend. Next time you think to drop someone a text just to say "Hi," try a quick phone call instead. Chances are, the person you call will be delighted to hear your actual voice. Neither of you is likely to gab endlessly (we're all busy) and you'll probably feel really good at the end.

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2. Write something. I frequent a restaurant where a little black book is delivered along with the check. You are encouraged to leave a note for whomever might read the book next. It's always so much fun to see others' scribbles, their drawings, their praise for the wait staff or even a poem here or there. If you have a busy family life with people in and out of the house at all hours, leave a blank journal in a high traffic area with a "Write in Me" sign on it and just see what magically appears.

Curbing your digital routines doesn't have to be painful. The only sure way to make a lasting change is to create positive habits to help offset the negative ones.

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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