This is a really important message. So important that I don’t want you to miss out on it. So important I am going to be posting all week in my Facebook group, Aligning Motherhood, about it (if you haven’t joined, you can do so here).
Your smart phone is keeping you from living a balanced life. It is keeping you from living in the present. You are missing out on your kid’s life (heck, you’re missing out on your own life) because of that little device you take everywhere.
Now before I go on, let me just preface by saying: technology is a good thing. I have an Iphone myself. But if we don’t put limits on our use we allow it to distract us and keep us from living life to the fullest. It sucks up our precious time and energy in ways we probably can’t even articulate.
What do you miss out on when you allow yourself to get distracted by your smart phone? Teaching your kids how to go across the monkey bars. The satisfaction and sensory experience of cooking food. A much needed smile from your store clerk. These may not sound like much, but they are the simple moment-to-moment experiences that make up our present reality and keep our souls filled.
I’m not the only one with the message. Tons of research shows that notifications on our phone kill productivity. Not only that, they increase stress, anxiety and depression (especially in teens). James Roberts who wrote the book, Too Much of a Good Thing: Are You Addicted to Your Smartphone? says, "A key to a healthy relationship is being present. When one partner (or family member) constantly checks his or her phone it sends an implicit message that they find the phone (or what’s on it) more interesting than you."
Learning to be in control of technology and putting conscious limits on its use is one of the most helpful ways to live in the present. Additionally, having healthy boundaries with technology teaches our children to have healthy boundaries as well. Since kids tend to mimic what they see, it’s vital that we, as their most important influencers, model a healthy relationship to our devices.
This means deciding when, where and how long to be on your device. It means putting your device to sleep so that you are completely unplugged. It means not always being available to your work, family and friends every moment of the day. We need to control it, not allow it to control us.
What can you do?
Answer the following questions:
- How much time do you spend on your phone and which sites do you visit the most?
- How does it make you feel after you’ve been on your phone?
- How much time is a reasonable amount to spend on your phone in a day?
- What kind of actions could you take to limit your phone use and help keep you from being distracted?
Personally, I have implemented a few strategies that have made all the difference in keeping me focused and present. Here are just a few:
- Never take my cell phone to the park with the kids. Or if I do, leave it in the stroller.
- Put my phone in another room to "rest" when I cook dinner, that way I don't check my email/texts every 2 minutes.
- Put my phone "to sleep" in the kitchen when I go to bed so that it is not the last thing I see before closing my eyes.
To join the conversation on healthy technology use as working moms, be sure to join my Facebook group, Aligning Motherhood. It is a space, specifically for working moms just like you. Moms that want to be fully present with their kids and be fully present at work.