The common refrain these days is to unplug from our devices. But Chris Dancy is advocating for the opposite.
“The idea of unplugging is not realistic for a lot of people,” says Dancy, 49, a tech consultant and speaker who splits his time between New York and Houston. “It’s become a technological exoskeleton.”
His new book, “Don’t Unplug: How Technology Saved My Life and Can Save Yours Too,” out this week, is part memoir, part advice book on how to use technology to improve your finances, career, health and more.
Dancy points to the new Apple Watch model announced last week on the increasing ties between health and tech.
“They completely did a pivot from tech company to kind of a fashion-forward company to now completely admitting they’re a health care company,” he says of Apple.
For Dancy, who lost more than 100 pounds by tracking his daily habits, the key is finding out what you value and tailoring your devices to optimizing that.
“People are measuring to a number, but that number is filled with a lot of shame — we’re being told we better meet 10,000 steps, we better be mindful,” Dancy says. “It’s OK to use your phone for these things. But if you’re going to do it, don’t count on those numbers to be the end all, be all.”
Rather, the author uses tech to help maintain things like balance and friendship.
We asked Dancy for his tech go-tos for maintaining his health and well-being:
“I’m still heavily dependent on my Apple Watch for sleep, activity and exercise. I don’t use the Watch for meditation. I don’t use apps for meditation. I did for a long time, but I’ve since learned to meditate on my own.”
“I still log all of my food using MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal has a really excellent feature that a lot of people don’t take advantage of — it shows you what you’ll weigh in five weeks if you eat that way for five weeks. I like to log things I don’t eat to see how fat they’ll make me, like in a time-travel way.”
Life Cycle app
“It keeps track of where you are — I’ll say how I feel when I’m at those places. If I’m at a restaurant and eating with my spouse — connected. If I’m at another place with friends — friendship.”
“I think a lot of my health-related stuff really comes down to how I’m using the devices. I use RescueTime — it monitors what apps and services I’m in and marks them as productive or unproductive. I try to have equal unproductive and productive time every day. Equal time in Reddit and Outlook.”
@tinycarebot account on Twitter
“@tinycarebot is the only account I allow to get popups. @tinycarebot sends out messages all day long — stretch, look up, breathe. I follow three or four accounts that are just nothing. I just try to find the good in all of this. This is a fun one.”