For me, the boundaries look this simple:
1) Plug my phone into the charger each evening.
2) Unplug phone and move it onto the kitchen counter with my old-fashioned, hand-held phone receiver plugged into it. It will be used only to answer or make real phone calls.
3) At 3:00 or so, I will check and answer messages, read blog posts, research on-line, check social media for up to 1/2 hour.
4) After boys are tucked into bed at night, I will do the above for up to 15 minutes before plugging it back into the charger and then doing something more worthwhile.
After doing this for just a few days, I am amazed at the time this has freed up for me. I don't have to decide umpteen times per day whether or not I should check this-or-that, because if it's not during my designated phone times, the answer is automatically "no". There has been a certain peace in my mind at having so much less distraction. It frees me up to be more creative. I feel more compelled to do things I love more often. Such as write! and read!
I'm a very social and relational person. I love people. My relationships are precious to me, so I love to correspond and connect with others. With my phone-use boundaries finding a welcomed place in my life, I am freed up to do so in ways that feel more special and meaningful. Rather than spending too much time mindlessly scrolling through a social media feed clicking "like", I feel more inclined toward sitting down and writing out a hand-written notecard or letter to a loved one. Even typing a letter on my computer feels more intentional. I love walking out to the mailbox row to send these little tokens of affection on their way. I love to use that short time to breathe deep, enjoy the beauty outside, and to pray for the recipients.
I also find that I feel more energy for creativity when it comes to relationships. It doesn't take but a few minutes to write a quick note and pop it into a mailer with an inexpensive gift for a friend. From time to time, I see or find something small that just makes me think of a certain person. It's so fun to act on these impulses rather than to just say to myself, "If I had the time, I'd send that for a surprise." It makes me smile for days to think of that person opening up the mailbox to find some "fun mail." Fun mail is in a serious shortage these days.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-smart phone, nor anti-social media, nor anti-text messaging. These things have their place, and you'll still see me "liking" and commenting, posting my own things, and texting with friends. What I'm sharing with you, however, is that for me, those things are finding again the proper place in my life. And with that comes
in my days. Space and time that is blank and ready to be colored with magic markers, watercolors, or whatever best-opportunities of the moment. It's incredible the difference in mental clarity I experience with these simple boundaries in place. It's too good not to share with you, in hopes it will inspire you to create or renew your own techno boundaries.