Welcome! Login | Register

White House Politics: Chaos, Crisis, or Calm? – Sunday Political Brunch - December 16, 2018—White House Politics: Chaos, Crisis, or Calm? –…

Self-Scouting The State Of Sports In The Pacific Northwest—Self-Scouting The State Of Sports In The Pacific…

Moderation – The Key To Long-Term Weight Loss—Moderation – The Key To Long-Term Weight Loss

Fireside Sports Lightning Round – The 5 Biggest Northwest Sports Questions Of The Week—Fireside Sports Lightning Round – The 5 Biggest…

The Best Way To Fix The Trail Blazers? Empower Al-Farouq Aminu—The Best Way To Fix The Trail Blazers?…

See Where Portland Ranks Among Safest Cities in U.S.—See Where Portland Ranks Among Safest Cities in…

Weiss: Those Taking Care of Persons with Dementia Have Unique Needs—Weiss: Those Taking Care of Persons with Dementia…

BBB Warns of Gift Card Scams During Holiday Season—BBB Warns of Gift Card Scams During Holiday…

Winterhawks Pick Up 2 Wins This Week Against Prince George, Now on 4 Game Win Streak—Winterhawks Pick Up 2 Wins This Week Against…

Saying Good-Bye to President George H.W. Bush – Sunday Political Brunch – December 9, 2018—Saying Good-Bye to President George H.W. Bush –…


Personal Tech for Women: 5 Things You Need to Know About Being More Screen-Free

Monday, June 22, 2015


With work, social media, and smartphones, we spend entirely too much time tethered to screens and gadgets. Some statistics out there say the average person spends 7.5 hours a day on a computer. Being in front of a screen will not only strain your back and your eyes, but it could lead to psychological issues, like Internet addiction and anxiety. It’s highly unlikely that any doctor, therapist or psychologist will tell you to spend more time clicking around applications and websites. So try stepping away from the screen, even for small increments of time. It might be easier said than done, but once you establish a few rules for yourself, spending less time in front of a computer could improve your physical body and your mental state. You might realize how much extra time you have to live in the real world. Remember that place, the one where you walked on two legs and talked to people face-to-face? Here are 5 things that will help you get there. 

1. Screen-Free Week

You may have missed the official international “Screen-Free Week” that happens annually in May. It’s an occasion when families, schools, and communities turn off digital entertainment and get back to the joys of the reality that happens outside the edges of the screen. For one whole week, TV, video games, apps and the web are replaced by books, board games, crafts and outdoor activities. But come on, who says we need to do this only in May? Try having a screen-free week any time it suits you or your family. Challenge yourself and make it longer, or try ditching not only screen-centric entertainment, but also laptops and smartphones too… of course, only if work allows it. Think about planning a screen-free week around a holiday – because if you’re already taking time off of work, then take time off from your devices too. 

2. Look Up

It might sound contradictory to mention an app when trying to help one spend less time on screens, but this little bugger is promising to help you do just that. The Mac app Look Up is aiming to help you feel less robotic by reminding you to look away from your screen. It uses the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, look up from your screen and focus your gaze about 20 feet away. This mini-break is supposed to help with eyestrain, which can make even the freshest of faces look exhausted. On the 20-minute mark, a notification appears in your screen – you have the option of taking the break or dismissing it. Look Up also allows you to set small goals to accomplish by your next break. Simply type in a goal, and if you’ve completed it by the next 20 minutes, you can click the “I did it” button and set a new task. If might feel a bit like racing yourself, but if you’ve got a case of “the wandering mind” this might help you stay on track.

3. Decreasing smart phone time

Smartphones are addictive, says new research from the University of Derby, in the UK. The study shows how overusing a smartphone can impact one’s psychological well-being. And according to its numbers, the average user spent 3.6 hours per day on his or her smartphone, with 13% of participants classified as being addicted. Higher scores of narcissism were also linked to smartphone addiction. So to combat this, try the following: turn off your notifications, time your own smartphone use with an app (the results might scare you into using it less), don’t use your phone as an alarm clock, and give yourself daily breaks by putting your phone on Airplane Mode or out of reach – and hopefully out of mind. 

4. Rescue Time

Okay, another app. But this one is not used for a short-term fix, like a quickie screen break. Rescue Time allows for a long-term break by showing you exactly how you use your time. As a desktop or smartphone app, it tracks the time you spend on applications and websites and gives you an accurate picture of your day; for instance, how much time was spent on email, on Skype calls, or taking sneaky Facebook breaks. This app is geared towards those who are computer-bound for work – and given the statistic at the top of this article – that’s a fair amount of us. It’s particularly great for freelancers too, whose “work hours” might be slightly blurry. By having that data, you’ll know exactly how, and where, you’re wasting your time. So streamline your workflow (like logging out of your personal email) and spend more time away from the screen.  

5. Just turn it off

You can try an app like Self Control that lets you blacklist time-wasting websites, or a plug-in like LeechBlock which blocks sites during designated times of the day. Or just harness the willpower and turn off your computer when you’re not using it. If you’re busy going offline tasks, then power down the online device. It’ll stop you from getting distracting and rushing back to the screen because you need to know what day Christmas falls on – because you need to know now! No, you don’t. Take daily breaks from your screen too. When you grab a bite to eat, or when you need to do a squat or a yoga stretch for five minutes, turn it off. Take a walk during your break and leave your phone at home. And when you’re out for the night, turn off your phone when it’s in your purse or pocket. All the info, updates and notifications you need will still be there, later.

Melanie Sevcenko is a journalist for radio, print and online. She reports internationally for BBC World Service and Monocle Radio (M24) in the UK, and for Deutsche Welle in Germany. Melanie also reports for the online news source GoLocalPDX, in Portland, Oregon. Her work has been broadcast by CBC in Canada and the Northwest News Network, and published by Al Jazeera English, Global Post, Pacific Standard, the Toronto Star and USA Today, amongst others.


Related Slideshow: 10 Portland Tech Leaders on the Rise

Prev Next

Luke Kanies

Puppet Labs

Luke Kanies formed Puppet Labs in 2005 in order to produce better operations tools and change how systems are managed. 

The Puppet Labs software helps system administrators automate and manage computers and the software that makes them work. 

Puppet Labs’ software is used by tens of thousands of the world’s companies manage millions of machines and devices. Bank of America, Cisco, NYSE, and salesforce.com rely on Puppet’s software to make their own software faster, be more productive, and gain insight into infrastructure configurations and operation.

Prev Next

Monica Enand


Monica Enand is the founder, CEO, and President of Zapproved Inc., which develops cloud-hosted software for corporate legal departments.  

Zapproved’s flagship product, Legal Hold Pro, is widely used by Fortune 500 and Global 2000 corporations and has earned recognition as the 2014 Best of the National Law Journal and the 2013 and 2014 Best of Legal Times. Zapproved was recognized in the 2014 Inc. 500 as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States.

Prev Next

Jill Nelson

Ruby Receptionists

Jill Nelson founded Ruby Receptionists in 2003. The company is a team of "virtual receptionists" who provide a friendly, human voice to small businesses and professionals throughout North America. 

Ruby Receptionists uses proprietary technology, and your calls can be customized any way you’d like- have your messages instantly emailed or texted to you, or set whatever custom program that you’d like. 

Ruby Receptionists has been a top-3 Best Small Company to Work for in the U.S. for three years running (Source: FORTUNE Magazine and Great Place to Work Institute) and has ranked as one of Oregon's fastest growing companies for seven consecutive years (Source: Portland Business Journal)

Prev Next

Skip Newberry

Tech Association of Oregon

Skip Newberry is the president of The Technology Association of Oregon, the only Oregon-based trade association dedicated solely to “supporting the success of our state's software and technology Industries.”

The vision of the company is to “create a world-class and inclusive innovation economy in Oregon and SW Washington.” This is achieved by helping the region's technology and tech-enabled industries to grow through programs and initiatives that focus on industry promotion, advocacy, professional networks, and talent development. 

Prev Next

Sam Blackman


Sam Blackman is the CEO of Elemental Technologies, which creates video solutions for multiscreen content delivery. 

Founded in 2006, the company pioneered the use of software-based video processing to distribute video over IP networks. Elemental’s innovations have made it possible to deliver high quality video via the cloud, as well as through other means. 

Elemental’s technology has allowed for pay TV operators, content programmers, and broadcasters to bring video to “any screen at anytime – all at once.” 

Prev Next

Irving Levin


Irving Levin describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur.” he also serves as Chairman of Genesis Financial Solutions, a consumer lending business. He divides his time between Genesis, investing in and mentoring small independent companies, and a variety of non-profit activities.

Through his investment vehicle Fluffco LLC, he is an active “angel investor” with direct investments in a large number of entrepreneurial companies. 

Levin also is the Chairman of Digital Divide Data, a social enterprise in the IT industry which recruits, trains and hires hundreds of impoverished young people in Cambodia, Laos and Kenya. 

Prev Next

Lynnor Stevenson

Design Medix

Lynnor Stevenson is the Chief Executive Officer of Design Medix, which develops drugs to combat resistance in multiple diseases, including malaria.   

Stevenson is a successful entrepreneur with thirty years experience in the formation and growth of bioscience companies. 

Prev Next

Justin Yuen


Justin Yuen is founder and President of FMYI [For MY Innovation], an online software company that “combines the look and feel of social networking with workflow tools (project management, contact tracking/CRM, sharing resources such as files, links, calendar events, and more), free support, and a commitment to sustainability.” Some of their clients include Sony, Aflac, Fox, HBO, Hyatt, Disney, Office Depot, Scholastic, and Macy's.

The company also offers Grouptrail, a free group messaging service “with tools to get things done.”

Prev Next

Andy Baio

XOXO Festival

Andy Baio is the co-founder of the XOXO Festival, a former CTO of Kickstarter, founder of Upcoming.org, and author of the Waxy.org blog.

In early 2012, Baio and Andy McMillan co-founded the XOXO Festival, an annual arts and technology conference which celebrates independent artists and technologists. 

Baio is known for his stance against censorship on the internet, where he will host or link to controversial content on his blog.

Prev Next

Amber Case


Amber Case is the co-founder of Geoloqi - “a private, real-time mobile and web platform for securely sharing location data, with features such as Geonotes, proximal notification, and sharing real-time GPS maps with friends.” 

Geoloqi was sold to ESRI in 2012, and Case is now writing a book, “Calm Technology: Designing interfaces for the next generation of things.”


Related Articles


Enjoy this post? Share it with others.



Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email