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How I Reduced My Social Media Use

February 5th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle

For the past year or so, I’ve watched my friends and media colleagues try various things to curb their social media use: some delete the mobile Facebook app from their phone, disengage from online commenting, only read the news from a physical paper, and cancel their social media accounts entirely.

I, too, found myself checking social media habitually, getting ensnared in low-value conversations and scrolling more than I wanted. So, to solve this problem, I tried something much simpler: app limits, which allow users to create their own time limits on social media use and automatically alert them when they’ve reached it.

I set my social media time limit to 15 minutes a day, and, from the screenshot above, readers can see that I did meaningfully cut my time on Twitter most days after it was implemented (I only learned later that Apple does not give users access to historical app use, so I can’t provide exact numbers, but readers can see how Twitter use fell dramatically).

One of the people who is most influential on social media abuse is Tristan Harris, whose wildly popular TED talk about “time well spent” eventually caught enough momentum to create a new organization, the Center for Humane Tech, which steered the conversation on how tech companies could help users limit addiction and overuse.

I followed the discussion surrounding Harris and other social media critics to see how it would actually land as product or policy. Last year, a number of top tech companies began building more advanced features for self-limits. Intrigued by the Center for Humane Tech’s influence and my own need to curb my social media use, I decided to test this feature on both Apple’s iPhone X internal “screen time” setting and Android’s digital wellbeing product on the Pixel 3 (disclosure: I am a contractor for Tech4America, a think tank in Silicon Valley. I work on economic policy).

These features are pretty simple: when a user is approaching or surpassing their screen time limit, the phone will alert them with a prominent notification.

Now, at any time, I could have just chosen to ignore these limits. Screen time limits don’t engage a lock that can’t be dismissed. And, on occasion, I did ignore them. But, often, when I found myself getting snagged by the temptation to get into Twitter fights during the day, I would see that my screen time limit was coming up and I’d remember that I didn’t really need to respond. Instead, I would close the app and get back to things that were more valuable to me.

During this experiment, I learned that there was hardly ever a time when I needed to constantly monitor social media. Even when I posted something that was popular, I rarely needed to spend more than a few minutes on the app to meaningfully engage. The marginal utility from minutes 5 to 60 on Facebook and Twitter wasn’t much more than the first 5 minutes.

So, I’ve decided to keep screen time limits on my phones (yes, I’ve been using both an Android and iOS device). I’m not going to delete social media from my phones, but I do want to make sure my time is well spent.

Gregory Ferenstein

Gregory Ferenstein

Gregory Ferenstein is the editor of the Ferenstein Wire, a syndicated publication on tech, health, and politics. In his spare time, he teaches Mathematics and enjoys Capoeira, an Brazilian acrobatic martial art.

Source: forbes.com

How Good Are Your Eyes?

February 5th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in U-Tube

History of Valentine’s Day

February 4th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in U-Tube

Reduce Your Stress

February 4th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 1 in 3 women has a form of cardiovascular disease. And, heart disease is the leading cause of hospital stays for men in the United States. Due to the prevalence of the disease, the AHA recognizes each February as American Heart Month in hopes of raising awareness about the disease and how to prevent it.

Stress and Heart Health

While there are risk factors that contribute to heart disease that you can’t control, there are many things you can do to maintain your heart health. One of those things is to reduce your stress.

When stress is excessive, it can contribute to a host of health problems, including high blood pressure. If high blood pressure goes untreated, it can result in heart disease.

Reducing Your Stress

Taking steps to reduce your stress will improve your overall health. Try these tips:

  • Plan and prioritize your most important responsibilities.
     
  • Listen to relaxing music to help you calm down.
     
  • Take time off from work to clear your mind.
     
  • Exercise regularly to get your blood and endorphins flowing.

When to Seek Help

If the stresses in your life become more than you can bear or manage with these simple techniques, consider seeking professional assistance. A knowledgeable professional will be able to work with you to devise time management skills and stress-reducing techniques.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

American Heart Month

February 4th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in inSIGHTS, Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Every February is designated as American Heart Month, which makes it a great time to review your health and reduce your chances of developing a cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths in the United States.

Many factors contribute to your heart’s health, including your diet, blood pressure and cholesterol. Here are some tips you can use during American Heart Month to lower your risks of cardiovascular disease:

 
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, four or more times a week. Even if your first workouts are slow, you can increase the time and intensity as you progress.
     
  • Get frequent medical checkups that include blood pressure and cholesterol tests. You can also talk to your primary care physician about medications that can improve your heart’s health.
     
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also, try to avoid pre-prepared foods, saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Avoid drinking excess amounts of caffeine and alcohol.
     
  • Keep your stress levels low by practicing relaxation techniques and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
     
  • Limit your sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams per day.
View more InSights here.

Protect Your Home from Snowmelt

February 4th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

Fireplace Safety & Maintenance

February 4th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Personal Tips, Trips & Traps

40+ Things To Do This February

February 4th, 2019 | No Comments | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

Discover a packed list of can’t-miss things to do this month, including Black History Month events, Chinese New Year celebrations, Valentine’s Day date ideas and so much more.

We’ve picked out the best events, festivals, museum exhibits, theater performances, concerts and more happening this month in Washington, DC. Check out the best things to do in the nation’s capital and plan your visit today.

Do Date Night Right with Date Nights DC – Feb. 1-28
Throughout the month of February, enjoy deals and discounts from attractions, hotels and restaurants, peruse more than 100 date ideas and read up on DC’s most romantic spots. Make sure to share your date night on social media using #MyDCcool and follow @visitwashingtondc to enter our Date Nights DC sweepstakes.

Washington Dollar Days: Tour for a Buck – Feb. 1-28
In honor of George Washington’s birthday month, Tudor Place is offering $1 tours throughout February. As DC’s only historic house museum with connections to Martha and George Washington, the gorgeous property is the ideal spot for such a deal. You will be able to view standouts from Tudor Place’s Washington Collection along the way.
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. |  Register
Tudor Place, 1644 31st Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks – Feb. 2
The Wizards will celebrate Black History Month with special promotions and their exclusive Statement Jerseys in this Saturday night matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the NBA’s best teams. Bradley Beal and the Wiz will look to take down their Eastern Conference rival, a team led by one of the most exciting players in the world, forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
7 p.m. |  Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Lunar New Year: Guangdong Arts Troupe – Feb. 8
Millennium Stage’s celebration of the Lunar New Year continues with another free performance full of Chinese culture. Award-winning artists from the Guangdong province will present a program full of wonder. Expect to see dance, stunning acrobatics, puppetry and live music during this special event at one of the city’s most illustrious venues.
6 p.m. |  Free admission
Millennium Stageat The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

Cupid’s Undie Run – Feb. 9
Revel in running like never before, and do so to help a great cause. Cupid’s Undie Run is a national sensation that has helped raise millions of dollars for the Children’s Tumor Foundation since 2010. If you’re 21 or older, strut your stuff in skimpy attire as part of a team or solo, and enjoy pre- and post-run fun. And if you’re in a charitable mood, tack on a donation after you register to assist in stopping a deadly disease that affects 1 in 3,000 births.
12-4 p.m. |  Register
Meet at Penn Social, 801 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Chinatown Lunar New Year Festival 2019: Year of the Pig – Feb. 10
The Chinatown Community Cultural Center will host a special program featuring live cultural performances, family-oriented events and educational activities at its facility in Gallery Place. You can stop in to enjoy the festivities before or after you enjoy the DC Chinese New Year Parade. Details are below.
12:30-5 p.m. |  Free admission
Chinatown Community Cultural Center, 616 H Street NW #201, Washington, DC 20001

DC Chinese New Year Parade – Feb. 10
This annual parade in Gallery Place is one of DC’s signature Chinese New Year celebrations. With dozens of entries, this year’s parade promises to be the largest and most diverse yet. Expect Chinese folk dancers, beauty queens, firecrackers, kung fu demonstrations, floats (including lions and dragons) and plenty of pageantry as the procession winds through Chinatown.
2 p.m. |  Free admission
Meet at Gallery Place Metro Station

American Chinese School presents The Spring Bloom Grand Ceremony – Feb. 11
While not one of the Kennedy Center’s official Lunar New Year events, this evening show provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Chinese culture. The American Chinese School will bring Chinese artists, troupes and student ensembles to the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center to perform dance and musical selections that honor the upcoming spring bloom and promote cooperation among nations.
8 p.m. |  Tickets
Concert Hall at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20566

‘What Was, What Is, and What Will Be: A Cross-Genre Look at Afrofuturism’ – Feb. 12
Poet Airea D. Matthews, fiction writer N.K. Jemisin and screenwriter/author Tananarive Due will discuss the concept of “Afrofuturism” in this Folger Theatre event perfectly timed for Black History Month. Critic Mark Dery coined Afrofuturism, a term that has evolved to include spacey jazz, African-American sci-fi and psychedelic hip-hop and R&B. Three brilliant minds will discuss the term and read excerpts that help to illuminate the phenomenon.
7:30 p.m. |  Tickets
Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003

Disney On Ice presents ‘Worlds of Enchantment’ – Feb. 14-18
Capital One Arena offers up this Disney On ice adventure that will be a blast for the entire family. Submerge in the Little Mermaid’s world under the sea, warm up to Frozen’s princesses, play with Woody and Buzz in the Sunnyside Daycare and thrill to Lightning McQueen’s high-octane stunts in this cavalcade of film favorites on blades.
Tickets
Capital One Arena, 601 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20004

Big Apple Circus – Feb. 14 – March 14
The one-ring circus hosted by Grandma the Clown presents the likes of high-wire artists the Fabulous Wallendas, the acrobatic Anastasini Brothers and daredevil roller skaters Dandino and Luciana near the Gaylord National Harbor. Whether it’s for date night fun or family night on the town, Big Apple Circus makes for a fantastic winter activity.