There are a lot of advantages to having this connectivity available, but this constant connection also takes a real toll on our lives. Too many of us are always connected, even sleeping with our phones next to the bed lest we miss a text or email, checking just before going to sleep and then first thing when we wake. Are we really so important that we need to be reachable at all times? Our phones and email interrupt us when we're working, when we're visiting with friends, when we're relaxing... when we should be sleeping.
When was the last time you left the house without your cell phone? Or even left the room? Or ate a meal with friends or family without checking your phone (unintentionally telling those you're with you'd rather be elsewhere or with someone else)?
I'm guilty of taking my phone along just for the camera. As if something didn't happen if it wasn't captured digitally! lol Yes, it's fun to share the fun or odd things we're up to or come across. I'm a big Instagram fan! But what about experiences just for the sake of the experience? Just for you.
- Unplug once a week. I chose Sundays, but pick whichever day works best for you. I usually just unplug my router and turn off my cell phone, giving both the day off. I don't own a television so this automatically cuts out viewing tv programs and movies as well. Sundays are quiet around here. =) If you have kids, you might not be able to turn the phone completely off, but you can keep it somewhere inconvenient (not right next to you) so you won't be tempted to check email, texts or social media but you'll be able to answer if the kiddo calls. Can't do a full day? Try an evening! It gets easier the longer you do this, I promise! You'll likely find yourself checking less frequently on other days as well. I've been practicing Techno Sundays off and on for the past year or so and can really tell a difference on weeks I don't shut down for a day.
- Turn off notifications on your cell phone and email. This is something I removed myself recently. There aren't many things I need to know right now. If your work email is on your personal cell, take it off! There are very few jobs that require the ability to contact you at any moment. Are you a doctor on call? Okay, but wouldn't they call? It can wait until your next workday. This might cause a small issue with your boss if they're used to being able to get a response from you immediately. If so, have a conversation with them explaining that you're making family/personal time a priority in your off time so that you can keep your working time all about the work. With notifications off, you can still check texts and such periodically, but you won't be constantly interrupted by the various pings and dings all day/night long.
- Still find yourself checking social media too much? Take social media apps off your phone. It will be easier to keep checking Facebook, Instagram, etc to only once or twice a day if it's less convenient.
- Ditch some social media altogether. Pick the few sites that add in a positive way to your life and delete your accounts on the others! Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to be. Certain social media forums seem to breed negativity. No one needs more negativity in their life! I ditched Facebook. Sure, those people who didn't give me the time of day in high school won't know what I'm up to now... but is that a bad thing? ;-) The ones I really care about? I keep in touch with in other ways.
- Put away phones during meals/social occasions! This is a big pet peeve of mine. Show respect to those you're with and don't pull out your phone when you're dining and/or visiting with friends and family. Really enjoy the time with your friends and family and be truly present. Are your friends addicted to their phones too? Make a game of it! I read about a group of friends who get together for dinner once a week and all phones go in the middle of the table. The first one to cave and check their phone... pays for dinner! How's that for incentive? lol Getting together at someone's home? Try a no cell phone policy and put a basket near the door for all phones.
I promise, if you aren't constantly connected, the world will not end. =)
Have you tried cutting back on your technology use? What impact has it had on your happiness, relaxation and/or relationships?