I have minimized a lot of things in my life from excess kitchen appliances to clothes that weren’t flattering in the interest of living a simple life. Quality over quantity is a mantra I repeat often.
But, recently I have noticed something disturbing. I have a huge excess of technology and the time I spend on it.
Now, I’m not saying technology is bad. I love it! I essentially run 3 businesses from my iPhone, I read books on my iPad, I Photoshop pictures I took with my DSLR on my iMac. Oh, and I am writing this on my new MacBook Pro (one positive from losing possesions in a fire is getting to replace them with shiny, new ones!).
Our family often spends evenings around the TV, each of us with a Kindle or laptop in hand. I find myself justifying this because, after all, I AM working, right? But, I couldn’t tell you the last time we went for a walk after dinner, or played a board game as a family.
This is an area of my life that I believe is out of balance, and I am going to take some steps to start minimizing technology. If your family seems to spend more time with your TV than with each other, you may want to follow these guidlines too.
Turn off the phone
I often joke that my iPhone is an extension of my hand, but since I became totally self-employed, it has become less of a joke and more of a reality. I often find myself laying down to go to bed, only to get back up to attend to my beeping phone. The final straw was when a client texted me at 3 AM and woke me out of a sound sleep.
I have started putting my phone in the “do not disturb” mode starting around 9 PM. There is no reason anyone should be contacting me for business reasons after that hour, and if there is an emergency, my entire family knows my husband’s cell phone number. I have also started leaving my phone out of my reach while I am in bed. I am less likely to be continually checking it if I have to get up and get it.
Make a family date night
After my husband gets off of work, usually he just wants to relax and watch TV. I can’t fault him for that, but if the TV is on, the entire family is gathered around it.
I have decided that at least once a week we are going to have a family date night. Whether it is grabbing a cup of coffee together, visiting a local attraction, or even just playing a board game together at home, we will have one TV-free night.
My 13-year-old daughter craves the sole attention of my husband and I, and when we are texting or watching TV, she isn’t getting it. I think I am most excited about this change.
Set a timer
Time-managment goes out the window when I am on social media. I start out with good intentions. I need to promote my blog, find content to post for my Facebook page … and the next thing you know I have spent an hour watching dog videos on You Tube.
I have actually considered purchasing an app that will block those programs while I am trying to work, but I think I need to learn to discipline myself.
The method that I find the most helpful is setting a timer. I allow myself social media “breaks” frequently through the day, but I set a timer on my phone that allows me 15 minutes. Anything longer than that and I am clicking on dog videos.
My family still has a long ways to go in breaking our technology addiction, but these intentional steps have definitely helped. How do you limit technology in your home?