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September 24, 2015

5 Ways to Disconnect from Technology

Our culture allows us the opportunity to be connected in ways that earlier generations could have never imagined. In addition to the ability to stay in-touch with others at all times, my cookbook, my calendar, my reading material, and my grocery list are all together on one handy-dandy phone. I think that's pretty incredible. However, while this can all be wonderfully convenient, it can also be somewhat of a curse...

...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.

As a mom, I so strongly desire to be intentional about the way I spend my moments at home. I have a longing to savor evenings with my husband. I have an overwhelming desire to mentally capture sweet memories with my little ones. I have a calling to create a life-giving environment that nurtures everyone who calls our house home.

5 Ways to Disconnect from Technology

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 understand how tempting it is wind down at night with 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.

5 Ways to Disconnect 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. 

2. Communicate Your Schedule to Your Family & Friends - Do you homeschool in the mornings? Are Thursday nights set aside for family game night? Do you fast from social media on the weekends? Communicate these things to your family/close friends - This will help them know when is/is not a good time to reach you.

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. 

5. Establish Screen-Free Zones - In our family, our screen-free zones are:

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...
5 Ways to Disconnect from Technology

...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.