Take a break from technology



It is becoming more difficult to escape the pull of technology these days. As a society, we are becoming dependent on our devices for nearly everything we do. In fact, device dependence has become so severe, even leaders in the technology industry have started taking measures to wean themselves from their devices.

Have you ever read a line of a book — or an email or a work document — and a minute later, you can’t remember it? Well, device dependence could be to blame. Your brain is like a muscle; after it is used, it needs time to recover. Without that time, it may not be able to “soak-up” and process the information it is receiving. Many of us go from one task to another, only taking a break to respond to a text, check Facebook or send a Tweet. But research has shown that using the time in between tasks to rest your brain can increase your cognitive abilities.

Device dependence isn’t only detrimental to our cognitive development; it can also strain our relationships.

Here are a few tips you and your family can use to keep device dependence at bay:

  • The next time you finish a task, instead of getting online or checking your phone, take a walk in a quiet place, or simply sit back and let your mind wander. Some call this day dreaming, and it is actually a great way to rest your brain throughout the day.
  • Set up gadget-free zones throughout your home. It goes without saying that the dinner table should be one, but try creating a gadget-free zone in the bedroom or living room as well.
  • Many of us use our devices to listen to music, read books or even take notes during meetings. Try turning your device on airplane mode when using it for those purposes. If you need Wi-Fi or a mobile connection to perform these tasks, disable all of your push notifications so that they don’t distract you from the task at hand.
  • You might be thinking there is no way you will be able to coax your kids to put down their devices. Here is a solution: start a contest in your family to see who can go the longest without checking their phone or playing a video game. Make the prize a fun treat to incentivize them to win!
  • When you are spending time with friends and family, put your device in another room so you are not tempted to check it if there is a lull in conversation.
  • On family vacations, make it a rule that devices can only be used to check in with those who need to know how things are going. Stare up at the stars, not at your screens.

Pendergrass inducted into Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame


John Frank Pendergrass, director for Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark.

John Frank Pendergrass, director for Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative of Ozark and member of the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation Board of Directors, was recently inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, along with five other individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state’s largest industry segment.

Pendergrass is a fifth-generation cattle farmer on Pendergrass Ranch in Franklin County, where his family has ranched since the mid-1860s. As president of Pendergrass Cattle Company, he has built one of the top beef herds in the state, earning him recognition as 2008 Arkansas Stocker of the Year by the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and the 2008 National Stocker Award from Beef magazine, representative of the top stocker herd in the United States.

“A major part of my rural agricultural life has been involvement with the rural electric cooperatives,” said Pendergrass, who has served on the Arkansas Valley Electric Board of Directors since 1962. “At the age of 26 in 1962, I was the youngest electric cooperative board member among the nation’s more than 900 electric cooperatives. Today, I am the longest serving electric cooperative board member in Arkansas and have served on the boards of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. I am still very passionate about serving rural people through providing reliable and affordable electricity in a responsible manner.”

Butch Calhoun of Des Arc, chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame and former Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture, said, “This group is a representation of the diversity and achievement of our agricultural industry. Agriculture is truly one of the great success stories of our state, and the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame exists to recognize those who have helped elevate agriculture in our state, and have worked to make a positive impact on the lives of so many people.

Other honorees included the late W.H. (Bill) Caldwell of Rose Bud, the late Hank Chamberlin of Monticello, poultry executive Gary C. George of Springdale, rice farmer David Hillman of Almyra, and longtime Cooperative Extension Rice Specialist Bobby Huey of Newport.