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3 Reasons To Use an Alarm Clock Instead of Your Phone

Retro Alarm Clock compress

Lots of us are in the habit of using our phone as an alarm clock. It’s likely we also jump directly down the rabbit hole of reading whatever arrived during the night. By doing that, we can actually prime ourselves to feel rushed for the rest of the day. Switching to a good old-fashioned alarm clock can help to:

Carpe Diem Just like at any other time, when you look at your phone in the morning, you’re flooded with status updates, email, and pleas from destitute princes. Once out of bed, outside forces—whether the kids, the dog, or the boss—begin to determine the course of your day. If you don’t grab your phone right off, you can take a few minutes to think through a plan of action. You can seize the day, rather than letting the day seize you.

Dwell in the Positive As human animals, we are attuned to potential danger. That’s why we worry more about predatory co-workers than about getting sun at lunchtime. But if we dwell on a positive feeling or thought for at least 10 seconds, we can train our brains to have a more upbeat outlook, says Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. That’s why it pays to spend a little time basking in that cozy, warm wake-up feeling before you do anything else.

Love the One You’re With For couples, one of the biggest beefs is that mates pay more attention to their phones than to they do to each other. But as it says in The Durable Human Manifesto: Practical Wisdom for Living and Parenting in the Digital World, “If it were possible to bottle a hug, it could be sold as a combination muscle relaxant, tranquilizer and love potion.” So take your medicine and reach out to the person next to you. It can do wonders for your day—and your relationship .

For the launch of “Listen To Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now”—an anthology including a story I wrote about my mom—I stayed in Brooklyn’s new Aloft Hotel. Besides the price and pristine bathrooms, I loved the smart little touches, like the powder blue alarm clock plugged in next to the bed. The “retro” design is just as functional as it is funky.

Alarm clocks do a fine job waking you up, but they also help you to be more durable in the busy digital world. Because they tell you the time and nothing else, they allow what happens next in your day to be up to you.

To get more inspiration for being active, effective and “built to last”, read the easy, breezy  Durable Human  Manifesto – now also a 25-minute Audiobook with the sounds of music, nature, robots and giggly kids.  If you’re curious about Dr. Hanson and the New Brain Science, check out the teleseminar of the same name here.

Learn more about this author on Google+ and sign up here for other Durable Human posts, news, and freebies. Here are some DH posts about the Listen To Your Mother national writers showcase:

http://durablehuman.com/performing-in-listen-to-your-mother/

http://durablehuman.com/listen-to-your-mother-washington-dc-cast/

Dawn over San Francisco

Sunrise over San Francisco

Report from Wisdom 2.0: Time Well Spent

meditator crop compress

Wisdom 2.0 is an unlikely conference. Its goal: to help people “not only live connected to one another through technology, but to do so in ways that are beneficial to our own well-being, effective in our work, and useful to the world.”

There, tech titans such as LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner mix with masters of mindfulness, including Jon Kabat-ZinnHaving experienced that breadth of perspectives, each attendee leaves with a different takeaway. This is mine.

The 6th-ever Wisdom 2.0 felt less wide-eyed and more mature. Soren Gordhamer, founder of the W2.0 movement, set the tone: “At the end of our lives, what’s gonna be important?” Adding, “What is it like to live like any one moment isn’t more important than another moment?”

The conference covered compassion in business, wisdom in leadership, and mindfulness in everything. But the overall theme was Time—and the battles being waged over how we spend it.

The term “peak attention” emerged. Like peak oil, or “the point of maximum [oil] production,” peak attention suggests we humans are maxed out mentally. We’ve reached the point that every moment of our time can be filled with more information than we could ever process. I know that some nights, my forehead feels almost hot to the touch after cramming messages and reports left over from the day.

Tristan HarrisIn the way we so freely and constantly text and tweet and email, “we bulldoze each other’s attention,” claims Tristan Harris. Tristan, who works for Google and considers himself a design ethicist, gave a presentation about Time Well Spent, the same as his talk at TEDx Brussels.

Tristan believes our ever-present smart phones and search engines present us with an all-or-nothing proposition: Continue reading

Cubicle Dwellers: This Design’s For You

Stand Steady in box points

Since word got out a few years ago that sitting too much isn’t healthy, products have become available that help people on the job, but some seem more fitting for a CEO. It took one of the many who work in cubicles to come up with a solution that works for them. This is her story.

Day Martin used to be a data analyst, a “knowledge worker,” as she likes to call people who make money using their minds, almost always while they’re sitting down. “They sit there all day, every day,” as she says. “They have to. It’s their job.”

That’s what she was doing at her job in suburban Washington, D.C. until one day, she had a car accident. When she recovered, she noticed something about her back: “I just had pain when I went to work.”

When she checked online, the Internet suggested she try a standing desk. But there was a problem: nothing on the market allowed her to stand comfortably inside her cubicle. “I thought it was obvious, but it wasn’t available.”

So Day decided to make one herself. At first, she hacked together some cardboard. That helped, but didn’t fit the office aesthetic. “People said stuff like, ‘How long are those boxes going to be sitting on your desk for?’”

Then, with assistance from her father-in-law the home builder, she made some sturdier prototypes. “My colleagues loved them. I was shocked at how many people have their back pain stories – I had no idea.”

To build her final design, she sourced parts from within the U.S. “What I love about American manufacturing is that it’s so much easier. I could get things in the mail in a couple of days.” In practically no time, the Stand Steady desk was born, as Day proudly reports, “It was fifteen months from the accident to the product going live.”

CEO Day Martin at StandSteady desk

Day made sure that building her desk is easy. She wants knowledge workers to “get it,” right out of the box: “I didn’t want this to be a big three-hour project with her heels and skirt trying to figure it out.”

That’s why Stand Steady is simple to assemble, right down to the penny. Seriously, you have to watch this one minute video to see what she does with the penny: Continue reading

Caring, Cooperation Save People from Pollution Scourge

Kyrgyzstan child image courtesy Pure Earth

If you live in the U.S. or some other country with strong rules for clean air and water, the most polluted places in the world seem far away. It’s likely your neighbors don’t have radiation poisoning or barrels of pesticide festering in the backyard.

But those in low- and middle-income countries are not so fortunate. They bear the brunt of almost all the cancers, disease and other afflictions caused by pollution. Children are especially vulnerable.

Fortunately, the Global Alliance for Health and Pollution connects needy nations with sources who can help. “GAHP exists so countries don’t have to deal with pollution on their own,” according to Richard Fuller, president of Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth, one of the NGO’s partners. “There are terrific results where countries have done the right things,” adds Stephan Robinson of Green Cross Switzerland.

Here are some success stories from a new report, The Top Ten Countries Turning the Corner on Toxic Pollution: Continue reading

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