These days we use our phones for everything, from finding directions to reading the news, to pretend-texting. Yep! Want to avoid an awkward convo or look busy at a party? Pretend text. Or annoy your friends by sending real texts like “Trying to avoid convo with weird guy right now.” Our phones have the ability to save us in many scenarios.
I think we can all admit we rely on our phones for both convenience and emotional support. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. If I lose track of it, even for a moment, I go on a panicked hunt. My phone is like another child. I even wake up in the middle of the night to attend to it. It’s not uncommon for my friends and colleagues to respond to my 2am emails with a kind-hearted “go to bed, T.”
So yeah, I’m working on it. But one thing I am conscious of is putting my phone away when I’m spending quality time with my kids and people I love. What’s worse than spending a weekend at the beach and doing nothing but answering emails? Or going out to dinner with a friend you haven’t seen forever and watching them text their other friends? How rude! Sure, I’ll take my phone out to take pictures, but that’s it.
It’s important to do the best you can to set boundaries about when you check your emails or Facebook, tweet, and text your friends. Make sure there are at least two hours each week night when you’re doing something else, like cooking and eating dinner with your family, going for a restorative walk, or even watching your family’s favorite TV show. Focus on the show, make fun of the characters, throw popcorn at each other! Just don’t allow anyone to check their phones.
Same goes for weekends. No checking emails during your kids’ soccer games or ballet recitals, or spending all afternoon on Facebook when you could be going on a hike, attending a local event, playing catch, or walking the dog. Many of us have to check work emails after hours and on weekends. If you do, make time for this, and stick to the schedule. Early morning before the kids are up can be a great time if you’re an early riser. Then it’s out of the way for the rest of the day. Or if you’re a night owl, wait until everyone’s in bed. Some people concentrate better at nighttime – it just depends on your preference! One tip though, if you check work stuff at night, make sure you do something relaxing afterward, like taking a bath or reading a light book. A restful night shouldn’t include dreams about missed meetings or typos.
How do you monitor everyone’s phone use in your family? Do you catch yourself checking your phone when you shouldn’t be?