Before you begin to read this post, open up the “Settings” in your phone and locate where it says how much time you spend on average per day, per week, per month, on your phone.
Now take a nice, deep breath because I know, it’s shocking. Who knew that time warps existed and that they fit perfectly in our pockets? Many of us enter this time warp for hours on end per day without hardly noticing it’s effects. When our kids are eating their meals, we pick up our phones. When our kids are playing peacefully, we pick up our phones, when our kids are sleeping, we pick up our phones. Any quiet moment that many of us have spent on a screen rather than relishing in what is presently happening.
I remember becoming truly aware of how much time I was spending on my phone when I saw a special on the Today Show about iPhone usage. The special covered this feature called “Screen Time” which tracks the user’s phone usage. I immediately opened up this feature up in my phone and I was amazed by the amount of time that I was spending on my phone a day – so much so that I won’t share it here. This realization that I had of how much time I was spending on my phone encouraged me to take some big steps to limiting the amount of time that using it. There are a couple of boundaries that I’ve created with my phone in order to have more undivided time with my family.
Use Screen Time Features on Your Phone. What is amazing about the iPhone is that the “Screen Time” feature allows you to place limitations on your phone usage. The feature breaks if up into three categories: Social Networking, Productivity, and Reading & Preference. It gives specific percentages and amounts of time so you know what you are putting most of your attention towards. Alerts and blocks can be placed to encourage you to get off of your phone when you’ve reached your max usage for the day or if you’ve opened your phone during inopportune times.
Make Use of Watches or Pedometers. The Apple Watch has most of the apps that you have on your iPhone, but they are simplified because the size of your screen is much smaller. You can still have the ability to call and text people as needed so you don’t have to have your phone nearby. Rather than being able to quickly text, you have to use a voice or drawing feature. Rather than checking Facebook, you can only receive a notification that activity has happened. Rather than reading an article on a big screen, the text is much smaller and less convenient to read. Some pedometers, like Fitbit, will also allow users to receive notifications from their phone without having a large screen to easily use.
Designate a Technology Station in Your Home. Have a place in your home with chargers where you can place all of your devices at a certain time of the day. If you want to make a rule in your home that there are no phones after 6:00pm, then place the technology station in a room that doesn’t have a lot of traffic. That way they are charged and ready to go in the morning but you have your entire evening to spend quality time with your family without unnecessary distractions.
Delete Problematic Apps. This is a no brainer, but this really is the best way to prevent yourself from spending too much time on a particular app. If you’re spending too much time scrolling social media, working from your phone, or zoning out on games or articles, then maybe you need to delete the app altogether. Give yourself a couple of weeks to live without using it and see how much free time you have in your day.
We post to social media about longing for our children to stay little when right at that very minute they’re growing beside us – we just miss it because our attention isn’t on them. It’s on other people and it’s on ourselves. Some of the most special moments with your family can occur when you’re bored, when it’s quiet, or when you have nothing going on. Snuggle up with your babes, read a story, start an activity, go on a walk, listen to music, bake some cookies. Rather than trying to fill those moments with screen time, relish in them. They won’t last long.