It's summer - look up from those screens! If you've got too many gadgets demanding your attention, it might be time to take an e-vacation. Read on for the best apps to take a break from technology.
1. Clip and Save
Use one of these services to gather any interesting articles you stumble upon during a day of Web surfing. Click a button in your browser bar and the articles are saved to your account in a simplified format - all ads, banners, and other visual clutter are stripped away. Then sit down with your laptop or access the content via app from your smartphone or tablet when you have the time to read in peace. All free; instapaper.com, readability.com, getpocket.com.
2. The Choice is Yours
Enter the websites you want to avoid into Mindful Browsing, and you'll see a warning page whenever you type in one of those URLs, go to one via bookmark, or follow a link to one from another page. It makes you stop and think before you start wasting time. Free; mindfulbrowsing.com.
3. Take Control
Turn on Freedom, tell it how long you'd like to be offline, and you're officially blocked. If you chicken out, you can reboot your computer and the block is canceled. $10; macfreedom.com.
4. Just Say No
If you don't have any, Self Control is the app for you. It blocks e-mail and specific Web pages for a predetermined amount of time. Unlike Freedom, you can't undo it - even if you restart your computer or delete the application! Free; selfcontrolapp.com.
5. Rest Period
Take a Break! is the perfect app for unwinding. Simply listen to the program's soothing music and tones, or opt for a guided meditation with or without music and nature sounds. It offers a seven-minute work break and a 13-minute stress-relief session. Free; itunes.com.
6. In the Zone
If you already meditate - or want to get started - these apps provide timers, keep track of your progress, and give you a place to take notes on your practice. Insight has an extensive selection of gentle Tibetan singing bowl tones to get you in the mood ($2.99; itunes.com). Equanimity lets you play iTunes content in the background and also provides graphic representations of how much you're meditating ($4.99; itunes.com).
7. Strike a Pose
Yogaglo offers a wide range of classes in several types of yoga, at all levels. You can even choose workshops devoted to specific issues, such as tight shoulders. $18/month; yogaglo.com.
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