...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Monday, September 21, 2015

One Choice Has Created White Space {Striving to Unplug, Part 2}

So as I eluded to in my last post, some additional boundaries are going into place with regard to my smart phone use.  I am choosing to make this one choice now, in order to save myself the energy of making a hundred little choices throughout each day, to decide what is better for that moment.  To make this one choice now will add some peace and some white space to my days.  Just the thought of that is a breath of fresh air to my soul.

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 find that I'm actually much more productive too, now that I leave my phone-use for particular time slots.  On any given day, there may be things I've thought of that I want to research on-line, for example.  I'm making it a habit to just jot those things down on a slip of paper throughout the day.  When phone time arrives, I can look those items up quickly, all in a full swoop.

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.

Sometimes I use my shorter phone time to text a friend to arrange a time for a phone catch-up.  We can cover a lot more meaningful ground on the phone than on short blips on social media or texting.

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.

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