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Mindful : June 2019
MONDAY Download a Tracking App The first step is to compare the amount of time we think we’re spending on our phones to how much time we’re actually spending on them. Start by jotting down your answers to these questions: • If you had to guess, how many times a day do you think you pick up your phone? • How much time do you estimate that you spend on it per day? Next, download a time-tracking app that will automatically monitor how often you reach for your phone and how long you spend on it. (Use a third-party app or a built-in tracking feature, such as Screen Time for iOS, to determine how much time you are spending on your phone each day, and on which apps.) Don’t try to change anything yet about your behavior; our goal is just to gather data. We’ll touch base about your results in a few days. TUESDAY Assess Your Current Relationship Now that you’ve got a tracking app up and run- ning in the background, pull out a notebook or create a new email message to yourself (or just get a pen and write in the margins) and write a few sentences in response to the following ques- tions: • What do you love about your phone? • What don’t you love about your phone? • What changes do you notice in yourself—posi- tive or negative—when you spend a lot of time on your phone? (Depending on how old you are, you can also ask yourself if you’ve noticed any changes since you got a smartphone.) For example, you may have noticed that you auto- matically start reading news and checking apps, instead of observing what’s going on around you. Maybe your attention span is shorter and you don’t bother to memorize details, since you can always look them up. Maybe you have pain in your neck or thumbs from texting. Next, imagine yourself at the end of your breakup. What would you like your new rela- tionship with your phone to look like? What would you like to have done or accomplished with your extra time? What would you like someone to say if you asked them to describe how you’d changed? Write your future self a brief note or email describing what success would look like, and/or congratulating yourself for achieving it. ASK YOURSELF What do you love about your phone? What don’t you love about your phone? What changes do you notice in yourself since having a smartphone? 68 mindful June 2019 mindful tech