This Mindfulness App Wants to Break You of Your Smartphone Addiction

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iStock

Most of us could use time away from our smartphones. Push notifications, bright colors, and other smartphone features are designed to keep us glued to our phones, and for the most part, they're working. Smartphone addiction is considered a growing threat to public health, and even Apple investors are concerned about it. Yet the answer to smartphone overuse, ironically, could come in the form of an app, according to WIRED.

Flipd is a smartphone app that aims to reduce the amount of time you spend looking at your phone, improving focus and helping you break your compulsive habit.

There are two different ways to use it. The "Light Lock" function is essentially a timer, much like you would use if you were employing the Pomodoro technique or another productivity strategy. It lets you set a period of time to put away your phone, and counts down the minutes until you can use it again. It's easy to navigate away from the screen and go back to texting or checking Instagram if you want to, but the Flipd timer will act as a subtle reminder to log off. If you try to exit out of the timer early, Flipd will shame you a bit, asking you if you're ready to give up yet. (You'll have to click a button that says "Yup, I'm weak.")

If shame alone won't keep you away from your Facebook comments, you can also use the "Full Lock" mode, which acts as a hard stop against your phone use. It allows you to hide all of your downloaded apps until the timer is done, making sure that you definitely can't renege on your smartphone-hiatus goals. However, you can still text and make phone calls, so it doesn't turn your phone into a brick.

The app tracks how much time throughout the day you spend consciously staying away from your phone, so you can see how many lock sessions you've initiated, how many minutes you've succeeded in locking yourself out for, and how many days in a row you've used the timer. Ideally, according to the Flipd team, you should be aiming to stay off your phone for three hours a day.

Even if you don't identify as one of the smartphone-addicted, you could probably use a break from your screen. Spending too much time on your phone is associated with not just garden-variety distraction, but depression, anxiety, neck pain, and a whole host of other issues.

The basic Flipd service, available for Android and iOS, is free. For an additional $6 a month, you can also unlock a few special features like custom timers and schedules.

[h/t WIRED]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

The 20 Best States for Singles

monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images
monkeybusinessimages, iStock via Getty Images

Being single on Valentine's Day means you don't have to worry about cards, gifts, or date ideas. But if you'd like to do something romantic on February 14, your chances of snagging a date in time may depend on where you live. WalletHub crunched the numbers to create a definitive list of the best states to be single and looking for love in America.

To come up with its rankings, the personal finance site analyzed numerous data points for each state, including the proportion of single adults, nightlife and entertainment opportunities, and economic factors like cost of living. Combined, these qualities paint of picture of where you're most likely to find, afford, and enjoy a date.

Florida secured the number one position with a total score of 69.21 out of 100. Though it comes in 33rd out of the 50 states for economics, it places third for dating opportunities and fourth for romance and fun, earning it the top slot. It's followed by California with a score of 67.41 and Texas with 66.77. You can check out the top 20 states below, and see how all 50 states ranked at WalletHub.

  1. Florida // 69.21
  1. California // 67.41
  1. Texas // 66.77
  1. New York // 65.29
  1. Pennsylvania // 64.61
  1. Ohio // 63.10
  1. Illinois // 62.61
  1. Wisconsin // 61.13
  1. Massachusetts // 59.11
  1. Michigan // 58.56
  1. Arizona // 57.22
  1. New Jersey // 56.71
  1. Georgia // 56.11
  1. Colorado // 56.01
  1. North Carolina // 55.58
  1. Minnesota // 55.42
  1. Virginia // 54.98
  1. Washington // 54.76
  1. Missouri // 54.29
  1. Nevada // 53.64

The world uses Valentine's Day to celebrate romance, but you can take it as an opportunity to embrace singledom in 2020. If that's your plan, here are some vintage tips for living alone to keep in mind.

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