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Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-20826-0
Publisher: Little, Brown

How to combat the crush of digital information available today.

With the invention of personal computers and smartphones, the world of information and updates from friends and family is just a split second away. "People who spend all day with computers used to be called hackers,” writes Stanford and Oxford visiting scholar Pang. “Today, that's all of us.” This overwhelming volume of information has prompted what many call a "distraction addiction," where everything feels urgent and in need of your immediate attention; this situation usually results in ineffective multitasking. Pang offers simple techniques to create a more peaceful and productive life. From taking mindful breaths to using meditation, the author focuses on the need to step away from the screen, suggesting walks to recharge an overly tired brain, like Charles Darwin did on his Sandwalk, what he called "his thinking path." Pang analyzes computer programs that effectively disconnect one from the Internet, forcing users to concentrate on the task at hand rather than clicking at every ping of their inbox. He suggests monitoring email and social media use, writing down the frequency, length of time and physical location where each site is checked, then eliminating those sites that take up time but provide little constructive feedback. For those willing to go one step farther, Pang recommends a digital Sabbath, one day a week when any or all screen-related activities are turned off in order to reclaim face-to-face relationships, start new hobbies and engage in interactions with the outside world. By following these methods of self-control, readers can better utilize the tools at hand and follow the buzz on the airwaves while still feeling in control of their lives.

A well-researched program to help reclaim personal downtime from the inundation of cyberinformation.