I live and breathe technology. As an online business manager my entire business is centered around checking email, text messages, answering the phone and even being on Facebook. To add to it, I work from home and run my own show so work never leaves me. I don’t leave the office at the end of the day and shut it all off, it’s always there and building up. Managing and balancing it all comes down to pure self control.
I’m going to be real with you here, managing screen time for myself is t-o-u-g-h. If you think you’ve got this down then I admire you. To the other 95 percent of you who spend way too much time staring at a screen, read on.
Almost a year ago I became a mom and oh, man has this little human already taught me more than I ever could have imagined. The biggest lesson by far is how HARD it is to be in the present moment and just, “be”.
I am a go-getter, a hustler, and I never stop. I was in all of the extra curricular activities in grade school, completed 86 units after two years in college and now at a young age I run two successful businesses. I love being busy. I love checking off to do lists. I don’t like resting and I definitely don’t like doing nothing.
Well, now I am forced to slow down. Not just physically because I’m caring for another human, but also because I take quality time with my son to sit on the floor and stack wooden blocks or crawl around for hours playing peekaboo. After ten months of struggling when it was my time to be with him because I was getting anxious after 30 minutes of doing ‘nothing’, I began to watch my behavior.
I realized how hard it was for me to put my phone down, sit on the floor and play blocks with my son for an extended period of time. I was either reaching for my phone or thinking about reaching for my phone to refresh the email tab or scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. Why? Because it’s an escape. It’s an escape from my thoughts and it’s an escape from ever feeling the feeling of boredom.
Imagine this: you’re in a long line all by yourself, you probably have a 20 minute wait ahead of you and your phone is at one percent battery. Do you feel slightly panicked? Don’t lie.
Think of all the possibilities for connection and growth that you would have if you didn’t have your phone in that 20 minute wait. Instead, you could connect with the people around you, experience yourself in the moment and be fully present with where you are right now.
I may be super dialed in to technology, but I’m also very passionate about managing my screen time and setting a better example for my son. I’m determined to continue to watch my own actions and overcome the addiction of technology.
I think technology, social media and the online world has done amazing things for us all but I also think it’s causing a major disconnect between others and with ourselves. It’s an escape from facing our own thoughts. For people like me who like to stay busy, it keeps my mind constantly amused no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
“More social, less media,” is a great saying from one of my mentors, Dallas Hartwig, co-founder of Whole9. I challenge you to join me in unplugging a little bit more in your life. If you expect your children to not be on gadgets all the time, set the example yourself. Respect the people around you by shutting your phone off and engaging in uninterrupted conversation.
The other day I saw a photo with hundreds of people standing and looking at something all with their phones out taking a picture. I noticed one older lady just standing there smiling, enjoying the moment. I want to be that lady. Seeing the world through my eyes, not a screen. Playing with my son and fully, 100% absorbing every minute of this precious time. Thank you to that beautiful little soul for showing me how simple life really is when you aren’t blurring your vision.
Here are some suggested ways to better manage your screen time. All of these are new habits are ones I have struggle with and consciously make an effort to implement in my own life: