After being less connected last week while on vacation with my family, I couldn’t help but think about my “attachment” to my phone. As a blogger/influencer, I always joke that my job is “the Internet.” I love my job – obviously, since I’ve devoted 10 years to this little “online journal” – but as someone who actively shares almost ALL parts of her life, I constantly feel the need to be connected, responsive, and available, and it’s obvious when it comes to my work versus my family.
Hold on, let me just reply to a comment real quick.
Let me just post this video to Instagram Stories.
Sorry, let me just snap a picture.
In the moment, it might seem like something small, but all of those “let me justs…” really add up, and I know my poor family (and friends) feel like they are being ignored. Of course, I feel terrible when I am choosing my businesses over my family, but I also fear losing readers, sales, and our family’s financial stability if I don’t reply to a message, comment, or inquiry immediately. And, to make matters worse, I know when I’m feeling anxious about these self-imposed demands, I often get frustrated and snippy with my family, which makes me feel even worse. I know it’s not their fault, and I know I need to get my act together and put my phone AWAY.
Ben Bergeron recently shared a screenshot of his iPhone usage in his Instagram feed. It showed how much of his time was spent on various apps and social media channels. It was really eye-opening for him, so I decided to check mine. I was at 2.2 hours on Instagram in the last 24 hours. Sure, it’s my job, but over 2 hours just seemed like SO MUCH time when there are so many other things happenings in my life. I also know a lot of that time was probably mindlessly scrolling and not doing anything super productive.
So, where does this leave me and my iPhone? Obviously, being “on” all the time as a blogger has it’s struggles, so I’ve slowly, but surely created some boundaries for myself and my family. It hasn’t been easy and some habits are harder to break than others, but I know it’s important for our happiness (and my mental sanity). Honestly, I still feel the need to be connected, but, with the help of my family, I’ve put some “rules” into place to help me break free of the cell phone madness. Again, I’m not perfect by any means, but I hope these ideas help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.
- When you have an unanswered message or “just” need to snap a photo, ask yourself: What REALLY matters? Will [insert thing] matter in 5 years? The majority of the time, I know my family/friends are most important. I want to be present with my family and not miss out on any of the important stuff, especially if I had my face buried in my phone.
- Declare certain times and places “no phone zones”: For us, meal time is a “no phone zone,” so we can eat without distraction and talk about our days. Quinn will even remind Mal and me of our “no phone zone” if either of us reach for our phones. We also start dinner with the question: “What was the best part of your day?” and then take turns sharing. It’s a great way to kick-off the conversation.
- Set an example. We set screen time restrictions for Quinn, so Mal and I do the same and try to set a good example for him. The last thing we want is Quinn seeing us glued to our phones all the time. We don’t want him to expect that type of interaction as parents.
- Only take one phone – If just Mal and I are going somewhere together, like date night, we’ll often leave one phone in the car, so we’re not tempted to hop on social media or check email. We’d leave both of our phones in the car, but we want to make sure we’re still connected if our babysitter or daycare needs to contact us.
- Set a time to check-in. If you really need to be connected, set a specific time(s) to “check-in” with your phone/work/clients. For instance, I’ll often share on social media in the evening when engagement is at its highest, so when I’m home with my family, I’ll put away my phone until 8:00 pm (when Quinn is in bed) before I hop on my phone to do a few things.
Question of the Day
Are you addicted to your cell phone? How do you disconnect?