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Monday, June 29, 2015

Seven Ideas to Steal When Trying to Use Your Phone Less (even when you know you can't live without it)

I really like my iphone.  I use it to keep in touch with the people I love.  I enjoy browsing through social feeds and watching for bargains.  I love having a small camera handy almost everywhere that I wander.  I need it for the map app.  For so many reasons, life is easier and simpler for having so much mobile access and information at my fingertips.  The iphone is my friend.

I see many others relying on their phones, too.  With a salesman husband, two teenage step daughters and elementary aged children already plugging their "need" for a phone, I see the vortex into which we can be sucked by our devices.

But these days, I'm valuing being a little less available, less plugged into the constant stream of information.  I'm finding great freedom in limitation as I seek to be a bit less tethered to an electronic device.
source: infographic

Seven Ideas to Steal When Trying to Use Your Phone Less:

  1. Leave it charging in another room during mealtime.  Or movie time.  Or game time.  Or just to remember what it feels like to not have it within arms' reach.
  2. Use the Do Not Disturb feature during certain hours. For me this is 10 pm - 7 am.  
  3. Turn off alerts so that you have to look for information instead of having push messages sent.
  4. Prioritize people.  When I am with a person, the phone remains in my purse (or pocket, or bag or car).
  5. Practice some time with out it.  Seriously, leave the phone at home while you go to the pool with your children.  Leave it in the car while you grocery shop.  You will find that it feels terribly uncomfortable, but the world keeps turning and you are more free.
  6. Practice delayed responses.  Train those in your life to know that you will respond, like, comment or notice when you are able.  If it is your child or spouse, I say respond, but if it's your sister's best friend with a PTA notice - this may not require urgent action. 
  7. Visit locales where there is no cell service or wifi.  Shocking - but they do exist! 

We are so often pressed into responding or being available that it limits our ability to be fully present in our actual lives.  Sometimes we feel stresses that aren't ours to take on, simply because they are handed to use through photos, articles, alerts.  Daydreaming can turn into a comparison trap.

I think it is so fun to know what my college roommates are doing in other states.  I love seeing the happenings in my parents' lives and it's a treat to see posts from my nieces who are rapidly entering the teen years.  But I want to choose when to engage.  I want to embrace the life in front of me and when I turn to my phone, it's intentional.

Start small, but with purpose, by choosing not to check messages while driving.  If there is an emergency, someone will call.  But you can wait till you arrive to see the little notes that others send.   Please know, I use my phone a lot, and I find it so valuable that I am ready to upgrade!  But I don't want it to be the boss of me and I notice the slide toward being engrossed in the gadget constantly.  There are no rules, except what you choose to enforce.

Will you try any of these ideas?  Are you happy with the amount of time you spend on devices?

I love how Kate left her laptop at home when she went on vacation!