In the “Happy,Healthy Nonprofit” book I’m writing with Aliza Sherman, a big theme in the book is “Technology Wellness,” which is  how to self-manage your technology usage at work and in life.    We are doing a workshop at SXSW on March 13th at 3:30 on this theme called “Go Reboot Yourself:  Get A Grip on Your Tech and Life

As the Internet has become integrated into how professionals communicate, access information, and connect to one another at work as well as personal lives, there are both the positive and negative changes our rapid adoption of social media and mobile phones has caused over the last decade.  It has intruded on our attention and wellbeing – and helped blurred the lines between work and leisure time.

I was an early adopter of using the Internet in 1992 where I had a virtual job working online for a program of the New York Foundation for the Arts called ArtsWire.   Over the years, I have experienced the ill effects of staring at screen or sitting in a chair and pounding the keyboard for hours and hours.     I’ve learned to take screen less breaks to calibrate my mind and body.

One easy way to take screen break everyday is to give your device a curfew, say good night Iphone several hours before bedtime.   Doing so, will help improve your sleep which is essential to being healthy and happy. I just got an advanced copy of Arianna Huffington’s new book, The Sleep Revolution, and after you read it, you will make sure that do everything possible to get a goodnight of rest.

Another way to take a break is a  “Digital Detox,” a period of time when a person does not use technology, the Internet, or mobile phone in order to reduce stress.  Going offline for 24 hours or more to reboot your brain can do your spirit, mind, and body a lot good.    And it is a lot of fun to do with other people – so that’s why I really like the idea of the “National Day of Unplugging” which begins today, March 4th at sundown and last until sundown on Saturday, March 5th.

If you do a digital detox, you will discover how much time you actually waste on your device.    What I do when I take a break is to draw, it is so beneficial to concentration that I do even when I’m not doing a technology detox.    And, you don’t have to be a Picasso to do this.

Zentangle: Meditative Drawing


A Zentangle is a miniature abstract work of art created with a collection of patterns.  It is created on a small piece of a paper called a tile so it can be completed in a short time.  The process is a meditative art form, using pen and pencil (or you can add color with magic markers like I have).   There are no mistakes.   It is unplanned.  The art form was created Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and you can learn more about in their book or web site.

The benefits are that it helps with focus and concentration.  I’ve found that it lights up different parts of my brain and helps think more creatively than starring at a screen or typing.

If you want to give a whirl, here is a greater set:

One Zentangle A Day by Beckah Krahula
Zentangle Pens and Pencils
Artist Tiles

If you find yourself in Austin, TX for SXSW on March 13th, please join us for the workshop.  Otherwise, what do you do to take a break from technology to revitalize your mind and body?



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