...a curse that leads to our choosing Facebook over meaningful conversation with our spouse.
...a curse that results in more time spent reading blogs than reading books to our little ones.
...a curse that creates an obsession with Pinterest...while our homes sit in disarray.
...a curse that (unless we are careful) will rob us of our days.
If you're anything like me, you know how easy it is to pick up your phone and spend too much time scrolling through your news feed...you understand how tempting it is wind down at night with Pinterest...you relate to how fun it is to play with all of the fun filters on Instagram. I get it. I am right there with you. I truly enjoy the on-line world (Hey, I even have a blog!), but I have found it necessary to establish a few personal guidelines that have gifted me with time where I am able to enjoy the freedom that comes from being disconnected from technology.
1. Silence Notifications - Most of the time, my phone remains on silent - no ringing, no buzzing, no vibrating, nothing. All notifications are silenced - Sometimes I disable the Internet altogether. This keeps me from being interrupted by phone calls, texts, e-mails, etc. When I have a chance to check my phone, I can glance at any activity I've missed. If I need to return a call or text or an e-mail, I do it - when I'm able. The only exception is if I am away from my children.
Don't completely love this idea? Most devices allow you to customize the notifications you would like to be silenced. For instance, there are times when I will silence all calls except for hubby's - This is a great option if you're concerned about being available for emergencies.
3. Charge Your Phone in Another Room - Keeping my phone out of reach has been the best way to keep me from casually picking it up and glancing at it more often than necessary. This has been especially effective in the evenings/at night when we're winding down together as a family.
4. Leave Your Phone Behind - If we're heading out for a family activity - a walk, a trip to the park, a weekend event, etc. I will oftentimes leave my phone behind. If hubby has his (for any emergency we might have), I leave mine at the house.
If the thought of doing this creates panic inside of you, that may be a sign that it's time for you and your device to start spending some time apart.
Mealtimes - Devices are not welcome at our table.
Bathtime/Bedtime - This is special family time for us.
When Daddy Arrives Home from Work - I want the focus to be on him.
Family Outings/Activities - We want to savor the time we have together.
and I share more about these things here.
What works for you?
The above guidelines have been exactly what I've needed in order to maintain a healthy balance with technology. It is an area of life that is ever-changing. Therefore, I try to be intentional about assessing/reassessing how I am using it/how much I am using it.
You may find yourself needing to remove distracting apps from your phone...You may realize that you need to separate yourself from your phone at bedtime...Whatever you need to do to feel the freedom of having sacred moments when you are disconnected, I challenge you to do it! I promise you will be glad you did!
Establishing boundaries in this area may frustrate those around you...
...but make no apologies about being protective of your time and space. It is completely healthy, and I promise you will reap many, many benefits from a few healthy perimeters.