When Enough is Enough
The other day I was outside with my family and my phone kept buzzing. As usual every time it did I pulled it from my pocket to see if I was missing something. You see I had a terrible week at work and even Thursday night at 5:37PM I was still worried that something else would go wrong. It wasn’t until I missed a ball my kid threw at me that I realized what was happening. What really solidified it was when he said, “Mom, this isn’t time for phones.” Immediately the guilt set in. You see my kid probably hears, “This isn’t time for screens.” about a million times for me in a week. Now I was getting a taste of my own medicine.
Of course he was right, it wasn’t the time for phones. However I have become to conditioned to jumping at every little request from work, social media, and family that pops up. The idea of missing a notification is awful. Now I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know all about the long term effects of technology on mental health. You can find that in about a million different places on the internet. But what I am going to say is that was a big wake up call for me.
Good old Merriam Webster defines Undivided Attention as “concentration on what someone is going or saying.” When was the last time you provided someone your undivided attention? I mean really truly paid attention without your mind traveling to what you need to do next or a phone interrupting the time spent together. Today’s technology provides us unlimited benefits that those before us couldn’t even imagine but at what cost?
When my iPhone started telling me how many hours a day I was on it I actually got annoyed. For the first week I would argue with myself that it must be wrong. Maybe it was that hour I was reading, or the two hours I had music playing that caused me to accumulate so many hours. But the truth of it was when I looked at the breakdown I simply spend to much time with my face in my phone.
Time for a Change
I need to make some changes. Working from home means that my home life has leaked into my work life and my work life has leaked into my home life. I never turn off my work computer. If something pops up at 8:00 at night I’m reading it and responding. By doing this I’m now conditioning others that it’s okay to reach out to me any time day or night. They know I will respond.
There are three things I’m going to do this week to see if it helps:
- I will turn off my work computer when I am done working for the day. No exceptions.
- Work email and chats on my phone will be ignored… better yet I’m going to turn of the notification so I’m not even tempted to respond.
- Family time is for my family. My phone can sit in my bedroom with the ringer off during dinner and play time. If nothing else those I love deserve that much.
Do you have parameters around phone time in your house? Are you like me and a do as I say not as I do parent or spouse? Let me know what you are doing and if it’s working for you!