Unplug Tonight, March 4th

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If you're anything like me, you're constantly battling to maintain your focus on the people and ideas you love against the onslaught of electronic information from your phone, email, Twitter account and Facebook stream. As a species we've evolved quickly to become proficient in all things electronic, but we've been slow to develop the cultural tools to manage those skills and tools. Tonight, March 4, is the beginning of the National Day of Unplugging, a 24-hour period during which people are voluntarily shutting off their gadgets and committing to a day of reflection and rejuvenation.

The national day of unplugging is the outgrowth of the Sabbath Manifesto, a list of 10 principles for what you might do during a day without your iPhone, Android or Blackberry.

The Ten Principles of the Sabbath Manifesto:

  1. Avoid Technology
  2. Connect with loved ones
  3. Nurture your health
  4. Get Outside
  5. Avoid Commerce
  6. Light Candles
  7. Drink Wine
  8. Eat Bread
  9. Find Silence
  10. Give Back

The idea of a sabbath exists in many of the world's religions, so a pause from technology is nothing new. But it's a good chance to start building out your own set of personal technology practices. I recently started wearing a watch, a simple way to reduce the number of times I checked my iPhone. What's one thing that you can do regularly to keep your use of technology in balance with the rest of your life? 

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Adam Werbach is the co-founder of sharing startup Yerdle, formerly chief sustainability officer for Saatchi & Saatchi and president of the Sierra Club. He is the author of Strategy for Sustainability: A Business Manifesto. More

Werbach was elected president of the Sierra Club at the age of 23, which seemed ridiculous to everyone, including him. In 2005 he controversially began consulting for Walmart on their journey towards sustainability. He later sold his firm to Saatchi & Saatchi, where he  directed their global sustainability practice, working with some of the largest corporations in the world to bring sustainability into the core of their businesses and seeking projects that might tip the scales towards humanity's survival. He lives in San Francisco and Bolinas, California.

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