Bored and Brilliant Challenge 1: In Your Pocket

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Your instructions: As you move from place to place, keep your phone in your pocket, out of your direct line of sight. Better yet, keep it in your bag.

While you're boarding the train, walking down the sidewalk, or sitting in the passenger seat of a car, we're asking you to look at your phone only when you have reached your destination. You can do it.

And when you do pick up your phone today: Here are five basic phone hygiene tips to make that screen time really count.

They come from the mind of Dr. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of "The Distraction Addiction." To hear more, listen to our challenge one podcast above.

Phone Freedom 101  

1. Remember to breathe

"When we check our email, wait for messages to load, we unconsciously hold our breath. And this matters because... holding your breath is something you do in moments of anxiety."

2. Turn off non-vital notifications

"I often think smartphones behave like children. When you first get them, you open them up with all their defaults, they’re set to alert you to absolutely everything. New message, pop up window. Text message, it comes up immediately... In this respect, smartphones behave like children. When they want your attention, they want it right now."

3. Make sure you do get the notifications that matter to you

Knowing that you'll hear about a sick kid or cancelled flight lets you rest easy about everything else.

"In an emergency, in the zombie apocalypse, who do you want to be able to reach?" Pang says. "Those people, I’ve given one ring tone. In my case it’s Derek and the Dominos’ "Layla." The whole rest of the world gets Brian Eno’s "Ambient Music for Airports."

4. Fight "phantom phone syndrome:" Practice not answering messages right away

"We become so accustomed to extending our senses for the next call or next tweet, we begin to misinterpret other things. If [you're] a medical resident you tend to have this an awful lot — if you’re on call and you miss your pager going off or you miss your phone, that’s a really, really bad thing, because that means someone’s in the ER and not getting your attention...  It is a small but subtle way in which your relationship between you and your phone has tipped in the phone’s favor.

For everyone else, you can get to that text later.

5. Carry your phone in a bag, rather than in your pocket or in your hand (this one's extra credit!) 

"Not carrying your phone right against your body but carrying it in your bag can help ease some of that sense that you always need... to have a little of your attention turned toward your phone."

Got more? Use the hashtags #BAB and #NTCPocket (yes, it's kosher) to tell us about it, or add a comment below.

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