We are a society tethered to our devices. Apple AAPL -0.68% played on this recently with a tear-jerker of a holiday commercial. But as clever as Apple marketing is–very few teenagers (or any of us for that matter) with faces glued to iPhones use the smartphone to create touching family moments. Most are only texting or surfing the Web.
So as we reflect on the life changes we hope to make in 2014, I asked my digitally astute colleagues at FORBES to share their technology New Years Resolutions. Below are bad technology habits we want (both ourselves, and others) to break in 2014–Good luck.
1) I will stop checking email before bed, right when I wake up and in bed in general.
Has this ever happened to you? Just before turning in, you check your iPhone one final time, only to have a (stressful, annoying, distressing—insert any adjective here) email keep you tossing all night. Or have you checked your phone first thing in the morning, and an email or text fills you with anxiety before you've even fully woken up? It happens to us too.Tip: Keep all screens out of the bedroom. If like me, you use your iPhone as your alarm clock, swap it out for a clock radio to remove the temptation.
2) I will turn-off all email notifications.
The Microsoft Exchange email alert, the Gmail inbox counter and G-Chat indicator—few things are more distracting than these attention stealers.
Tip: Dig into your settings to switch off the distraction-inducing blips and chimes from detracting from the task at hand. Create a disciplined schedule to check your email once every hour or so–you'll gain an incredible amount of control over your work day.
3) I will not use my iPhone or Android as a social crutch.
When did if become a requirement to bury your face in a smartphone during every minute you find yourself waiting for a friend at a bar or restaurant? Keep your phone in your pocket, take in the scene and maybe even talk to the person next to you at the bar.
4) I will talk more and text less.
No more refusing to answer calls from friends so you can text them back asking "what's up?" Same goes for texting happy birthday, happy anniversary, happy new year. While texting is great for logistics, for big, emotional moments and milestones—reach out and touch someone. But there's a caveat to this rule, see resolution #5.
5) If a person does not answer my call, I will not leave a voicemail—that's what texts are for.
Pass codes, dialing "1″ for new messages, quickly scribbling down the phone numbers and addresses left in those messages–no one has the patience for that these days. As a result, now no one checks voicemail any more–at least not right away. Send a text, your friend will appreciate it, and it will actually be received.
6) I will not use my smartphone in the following places:
- in the gym
- in an elevator
- in a crosswalk
- in the checkout line
- in the drivers seat
- in the restroom
7) I will not use hashtags outside of Twitter, and when I do, it will be solely for trending topics (say no to #stopwritingstupidhashtags)
8) I will limit my Instagram posts to one photo per event/setting.
Tip: Want to post a series of pics—create a Facebook photo album. Another good tool is the InstaFrame app that lets you make a photo collage to share as a single Instagram image. A final option for not spamming your Instagram feed—use Instagram Direct to send photos to folks you know will appreciate seeing same sunset, 7 different ways–with 7 different filters.
9) I will not check Facebook more than 3 times a day.
Tip: Download Anti-Social–the program will block social networks like Facebook and Twitter but still let you access the rest of the Web.
10) I will not Google facts, dates, actors' names, or anything else in the presence of other people.
11) I will not show people Memes in public
Memes, funny videos, cat photos should be shared via text message and email only–not by pushing smartphones under our friends' noses.
12) I will unsynch my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts because people don't need to see the same post on three different platforms.
13) I will delete enough email to keep my pile of unread Gmail messages below five-figures–because seeing you have 10,000 unread emails is just plain overwhelming.
14) I will stop writing click-bait, listicle-style Web stories. (But hey, it's not 2014 yet, so I better get them in while I still can. Happy New Year everyone.
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