Five Ways to Love Your iPod While Avoiding Addiction

love your ipod

Okay, so your iPod isn't exactly going to land you in rehab any time soon, but let's face it: many people do treat their iPods like it's a sort of drug. If you ever try to steal away your little brother's iPod for a bit and he has a full-blown meltdown, you know what this addiction can look like. In some extreme cases, it might be a true-blue psychological problem, but in many cases, it's just a pesky annoyance: how do you pull the headphones out of your ears and unplug from the iPod enough to feel like you have a somewhat electronics-free life again?

In this article, we'll tackle that exact question while looking at five ways you can still enjoy your iPod without becoming so engrossed with it that you fall asleep with it in your hand. And, yes, we're guessing that does indeed happen. Often. (Note: for an unofficial "diagnosis" of an iPod addiction, check out Webomatica.)

Set a designated time each day after which you'll shut the iPod off and not use it.

Have you been going to sleep with the iPod's headphones in your ear? Shame on you! Don't disturb your sleep! Besides, a great way to curb your iPod addiction is to shut it off at one point in the day and not use it anymore. Your evening time is best spent in doing something fun, creative, or relaxing. Have a glass of wine and watch the Discovery Channel. Talk to family members or read a book. Whatever you do, unplug yourself from the iPod so that you don't start dreaming in "shuffle" mode.

Separate your activities.

Try to use your iPod less when you're doing some things (such as your homework) and start using it when you're doing very little else with yourself mentally (like exercising). Your iPod makes a pleasant distraction when you're out walking and doesn't rob you of the sights. Your iPod is a less-than-pleasant distraction when you're trying to finish a project from the office and you can't concentrate because of this thing blasting in your ears. Separate your activities more. If you're going to listen to music, try listening to music in a chair and really enjoying it. You may find it enhances the experience rather than detracting from it.

Designate "iPod-free" days.

In the spirit of shutting of your iPod, why not take Sundays off from your iPod? You may find yourself tempted to back to it, but if you don't use your iPod and instead define some alternative activities to enjoy, such as reading, you may find that the iPod loses its luster when you put it back in your ears on Monday. It's a great way to "practice" not being addicted to the iPod without depriving yourself too much.

Define alternative activities.

Speaking of alternative activities, if you want to quit your iPod, you're going to have to find something else to latch on to. This doesn't mean you should search for new addictions. Instead, it means you'll need something else to busy yourself: preferably something fun, rewarding, or both. If you can kick the iPod out for three hours every night, ask yourself what you can better do with that time. Perhaps some light reading? Spending time with family? Practicing a skill?

Don't beat yourself up for relapses.

If you stray from these tips and find yourself "relapsing," don't feel too bad about it: it happens. Just keep trying your best and defining alternative activities to enjoy, and eventually you may find that you simply don't "need" your iPod as much as you thought you did.