Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

Posted on July 27, 2017 by: Ryan Estis

How many times will you stop reading this blog post to check e-mail, text messages or social media?

The heaviest smartphone users click, tap or swipe on their phone 5,427 times a day, according to the research platform dscout. The rest of us still touch the addictive things 2,617 times a day on average. That level of connection is wreaking havoc on our ability to focus on tasks that require more concentration than it takes to post a status update.

Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

In a New York Times interview, he explains:

In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.
Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

We increasingly struggle to look away from our screens.


Mine was. The frightening thing about the addiction was that I didn’t realize the impact it was having on me until I went into “detox.” During the first few days of my initial digital detox, I desperately wanted to check my phone. I felt low-grade anxiety and was completely out of my comfort zone. Ironically, eight days later when I got my phone back, I left it off for a few hours to fully absorb my transformation. In that moment I was much more aware of the impact technology was having on my ability to be fully present.

Yes, the internet has fundamentally transformed the way we connect and communicate. It’s launched a whole new economy where anyone with an idea and an internet connection can start a company and connect with a global marketplace full of opportunity.

For that very reason, we’re living in the golden age of entrepreneurship! However, letting technology intrude into nearly every waking moment isn’t healthy and the time to create a little more discipline around it is now.

On a recent road trip with Seth Mattison, we discussed how to be more intentional in our relationship with technology and how we know when it’s time to unplug. Case in point, notice the irony of our full immersion into tech while talking about the benefits of a digital detox in this video!

VIDEO: On the Road with Seth Mattison

The key is to get off of autopilot and become a bit more aware and intentional in managing our technology so it isn’t managing us. Give the digital detox a try this weekend and DM me on Monday to let me know how it went!

Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.

Source: Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

During Expo! Expo! be Charmed by Charm City’s Restaurant Scene

 Kit Waskom Pollard writes about restaurants, food and other things that make Baltimore great, for numerous publications, including the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore’s Child, and on her blog Mango & Ginger (

Historically, Charm City has been known more for down and dirty, Natty Boh-fueled crab feasts than fine dining. But over the past few years, a serious food culture has sprung up in and around the city. You can’t go wrong with our crabs, of course, but these days, our kitchens are known for more than their skill with crustaceans. IAEE Expo! Expo! attendees are in for a treat when you arrive in Baltimore this December!

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Photos courtesy of Atlas Restaurant Group

Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods – little enclaves, some only a few blocks in diameter, each with its own distinct personality. And each with its own food culture.

From the Convention Center and the Baltimore Hilton, many of the city’s best food neighborhoods are walkable; others are just a short cab or Uber ride away. Here are a few reliable local favorites, by neighborhood:


The area immediately outside the Convention Center is home to tons of restaurants, many of which are chains – from The Capital Grille steakhouse ( to Shake Shack (

Locals and tourists alike love the cocktails and creative American food at B&O Brasserie (, a great-looking space in the Hotel Monaco, just a short walk up Charles Street.

Mount Vernon

One of Baltimore’s loveliest and most historic neighborhoods, Mount Vernon is a short walk north from downtown. Stroll up Charles Street to The Helmand (, our beloved Afghan restaurant, or stop for top notch Italian in a gorgeous space at Sotto Sopra (

Federal Hill

Just south of downtown, Federal Hill is a fun historic neighborhood with dozens of good restaurants. Get drinks and dinner at Bookmakers Cocktail Club (, wings and creatively-topped fries at The Local Fry ( or oysters and crushes – a locally famous juice-and-vodka cocktail – at Ryleigh’s Oyster (

Harbor East

Located to the east of downtown, Harbor East is newly developed, glossy and full of high-end dining experiences. Azumi (, in the Four Seasons Hotel, serves some of the city’s best Japanese fare; Wit + Wisdom (, also in the Four Seasons, is home to fabulous American food, a bar serving creative cocktails, and a patio boasting some of the best views in the city.

Other don’t-miss spots in Harbor East include Cinghiale ( for thoughtful Italian, Fleet Street Kitchen ( for interesting American food and Ouzo Bay Greek Kouzina, ( for splashy Greek dishes (and more great views).

Little Italy

As its name suggests, Little Italy – a small neighborhood just north of Harbor East – is home to some of Baltimore’s oldest and most beloved Italian restaurants. Bmore natives fight over which red sauce joint is the best – Chiapparelli’s ( and Sabatino’s ( are frequent faves – though in recent years, a younger generation of Italian-American Baltimoreans have made names for themselves, opening spots like Pane e Vino (408 South High Street, 410-685-3300), a cozy, fun wine bar.

Fells Point

Fells Point is pure Baltimore. Charming, historic and quirky, this seafaring neighborhood is full of fun bars and restaurants. Fans of interesting cocktails – and the food that goes with them – will enjoy Rye (; those looking for more traditional burger-and-beer fare should try Kooper’s Tavern ( Thames Street Oyster House ( is one of the city’s hottest reservations; it’s a great place for oysters and other seafood dishes.

Hampden, Remington & Clipper Mill

These quirky neighborhoods, just a short drive north of downtown, are home to some of Baltimore’s most celebrated restaurants, including Woodberry Kitchen (, the farm-to-table place helmed by recent James Beard Award winner Spike Gjerde.

“The Avenue” – Hampden’s 36th Street – is lined with fun shops and laid back restaurants serving excellent food and drinks. Some favorites include The Food Market (, Le Garage ( and 13.5% Wine Bar (

A word of warning: parking in Hamdpen can be tight, especially during the holiday season, when the 700 block of 34th Street goes wild with its famously over-the-top Christmas lights display.

For more information about Expo Expo and to learn more about Baltimore, visit