Being plugged in to technology is a great way to get things done! Unfortunately, there can be a trade-off for the ease and convenience we experience with daily use of tech… we start to depend on it too much. We might even start to feel like we can’t live without it.
One Sunday, my family and I were getting ready to walk out the door for church, and I was doing that annoying ADHD mom thing where I list off all the possible things we need to bring. It’s a mental checklist I have for every scenario that has to be completed before anyone can walk out the door. I’m a verbal processor, so it’s more effective if my mental lists actually come out of my mouth to make sure I haven’t missed anything.
My teen daughter (who deals with auditory sensitivity and can do everything like a fully independent adult thank-you-very-much) absolutely loves this quirky part of my personality.
“Bible? Notebook & pens? Chapstick? Need anything else?”
“I’ve got it, Mom. I just need to grab my phone.”
“Why do you need your phone? We’re just going to church and then coming home. You can see if you have messages when we get back.”
“I just like to have it with me.”
“…but you don’t need it.”
“I just want to have it there!”
*cue internal panic and realization that I’m exactly the same way*
Being plugged in constantly pulls us away from living life more fully
As parents of teens with a phone, we constantly talk about wanting our kids to be responsible with these gadgets. We want them to learn proper phone etiquette (we don’t text people at 1am!) and have healthy boundaries.
We might even have specific expectations to help our teens make good choices when it comes to using technology and how often they use it.
But in a world where we rely of technology not just for fun but for our jobs, this can be extremely difficult to do!
This is the literal progression of events that just occurred at my desk this morning:
- Sit at computer and open tabs needed to get writing and other work tasks done today
- Review Asana list for the day and prioritize everything that I’ve assigned to myself (realizing that there is a good chance it won’t all happen and finding peace in that)
- Open communication apps like Facebook messenger, Instagram, and email to see if anything is on fire or needs immediate attention
- See something odd in my email and text my husband a question about it
- Start to jump into writing… and realize I’m constantly wanting to look at my phone to see if there’s a response
- Move my phone to the edge of my desk so it’s not distracting while I try to put words on paper
- Still see the phone out of the corner of my eye and feel super pulled and distracted
- Put a literal piece of paper on top of my phone with an annoyed sigh so it is out of sight and will (hopefully) be out of mind
What in the world??
As helpful as Technology is, it can be a distraction
I’m the first one who will tell you to turn off notifications on your phone when it’s time to get things done. The option to have notifications pop up or ding when new emails arrive in my inboxes is OFF on my phone, along with Instagram DMs.
I communicate with clients and team members a lot in Facebook Messenger. Those pop up as silent notifications that I can look at when I’m ready instead of being notified by noises all day long. Silent mode with vibration is one of my favorite options on the phone!
Being plugged in to all my devices keeps me in the loop…
Yet, here we are. I keep feeling the pull of inanimate objects while I try to live my life and do All The Things. When I’m plugged into all that tech all the time, that keeps me overwhelmed and unable to spend quality time being present with my family, friends, and myself.
How to break away when your technology is too much
Getting into the habit of using too much technology each day can happen without you even realizing it.
When I fall back into cycles like this with technology, there are two things I feel are key in trying to break free:
- Self-awareness. It’s easy to go about your daily life without even realizing there’s an issue. Taking a hot second now and then to assess how strong the pull of your phone or tablet is can be the first step towards making a change.
2. Interrupt the pattern. Put the dang device somewhere else for a bit instead of keeping it on or near your body. The world is not going to implode on itself if we are not available 24/7. Our brains need the space and freedom to focus on other things. The constant need to check that screen and see what might have changed on it in the last 10 seconds is a huge distraction from the people and places we are trying to be present for.
My kids are going to model what they see us do way before they will do what they are told. Actions speak louder than words, right? And we can’t expect them to ease up on technology if we aren’t willing to do it ourselves.
How do you feel about your use of technology?
Honestly ask yourself. Are you attached to your phone a little more than you would like?
Or do you have healthy boundaries in place that keep you from overusing technology?
If you could use some help with limiting your dependence on technology, try the tips I suggested above.
I know it feels impossible to change at first, but once you make an intentional effort to unplug a little bit here and a little bit there, you’ll notice a difference that makes you feel pretty good! The less plugged in you are to technology, the more in tune you will be to the amazing people you’ve been blessed to have in your life! And you’ll wonder why you waited so long to ease up on technology.