One Small Change That Gave So Much Freedom

One Small Change

There is one tiny thing that I recently changed that gave me immense amounts of freedom. Freedom I didn’t realize that I’d lost. Time that I didn’t realize was missing. Joy in the little things that had slipped away.

I wonder sometimes, if all the technology around us these days is making life easier, or just more complicated.

Think about it. Yeah, our washing machines help A LOT. We no longer have to spend an entire day scrubbing and line drying the family’s clothes (and cloth diapers). Dishwashers are nice (although I’ve lived the last five years without one). Oh and central heat, I’m not giving that up! (Ours went out last week and it was COLD.) There are some aspects of technology that I don’t want to lose.

But what about your TV? Your tablet? Your smart phone? Uh oh, I’m stepping on some toes!

There is definitely room for allowing entertainment and enjoying technology for sure. And access to the internet brings in a whole new world of learning and communication, and a world of opportunity! It’s hard to complain about that.

What I find complicated is the distraction that some of these things cause. I’ve talked about Unplugging. That can help tremendously in reducing the interference our devices cause in our relationships. But I found that one or two hours in the evening wasn’t enough.

Want to know my secret? I turned off ALL notifications on my phone. ALL OF THEM!

Oh. My. Word. You have no idea how FREEING it is!

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I somewhat tried this before. Most of my notifications were off. But slowly as updates came, I allowed them back on. And I was suddenly sucked in to keeping up with the notes across my phone or the red dots alerting me that something had “happened”.

Once I turned them all off, and I mean all, no emails, no Facebook, no Instant Messenger, nothing on my lock screen, nothing telling me that something somewhere out there was going on, my life became my own again! Wow.

The ONLY exception is text messages and phone calls. (I should go back to an old school Nokia! Ha!) The reason for that is to keep in contact with my husband and close friends. A ding or beep now means that someone is specifically needing my attention. In my circles, most all other forms of communication are not time sensitive or can wait until I have sit down time at the computer.

The reason that this works for me, is if I have to intentionally unlock my phone and open an app to find out what has “happened”, then I’m going to think twice about that action. Is this something that I have to do right now?  Most often the answer is no.

I’m breaking the habit of picking up my phone and letting it distract me from my day. That is the freedom that I am enjoying. I have time to finish the tasks on my to-do list. I’m finding joy in the little things in life again, like a quiet moment right after Little Man falls asleep. And when he’s awake I can give him my undivided attention when he needs it.

I just have to say again how freeing it is. Maybe I have a problem with my excessive phone use, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I’ve read about other’s that struggle with this, so I hope this one simple change can give you freedom too.

If you find yourself distracted by your phone, tablet, TV, or whatever device that becomes your vice, turn it off for a while! See if you can find some freedom and take back your time. Enjoy the day to day aspects of life. Be in the moment with your kids and spouse. It brings a renewed level of satisfaction in those relationships. It keeps you connected to the things and people that really matter.

Do you find yourself distracted by technology?


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5 Reasons to Unplug

5 reasons to unplug resize

I am way too addicted to my phone.

It is wonderful having a smart phone and I don’t know how I lived without it. But it is consuming me! A little self analysis found that I was constantly on it, looking at Facebook, reading odd articles, Instagram, and the most time wasting of all – addictive games.

I would let my baby cry a little too long while I checked one last post. My husband and I weren’t having much conversation in the evenings. My list of to-dos was growing without getting touched causing me to get overwhelmed. Falling asleep became a struggle because of the fast paced thoughts running through my head. And I had nothing to show for myself from this lack of attention to the real world.

Time for a change. I needed to Unplug. And maybe you do to.

Unplugging applies to all forms of electronics. My main issue was the smart phone, but if you find TV or browsing the Internet to be your time sucker, focus on unplugging the one that brings you down.

These five reasons for you to unplug are not just for yourself.

  1. You can build better relationships with those around you, most often your immediate family. I would even recommend to pick one day a week to be completely unplugged and spend it with real live people.
  2. You will sleep better at night. Rest your eyes from the screen and your mind from the fast paced information age.
  3. You can finish your to-do list and projects. Its amazing how much you can get done when you aren’t constantly fiddling with your phone.
  4. You will find time you forgot you had. When you were younger, don’t you remember the long summer days filled with all kinds of fun? That time can be found again when it’s not filled with meaningless electronic “entertainment.”
  5. You may even find you save some electricity by turning off your computer and TV for a time. I don’t know how much they really use, but it has to make some sort of difference. And saving energy is always a good thing.

It can be a difficult habit to break. But it is so beneficial. I’ve experimented on myself the past couple of weeks and found some tricks to help keep my fingers from swiping across my phone and checking the latest updates on my feed.

Here’s what I found to be key to unplug from your electronics:

  •  Turn off notifications. – No more messages flashing across your screen prompting you to check what’s going on. It probably isn’t that important.
  • Delete or set aside special time for games on your phone or computer. – Weekends and off time are allowable games times. (And maybe the occasional waiting room time that always takes forever.)
  • Put away or turn off your phone, TV, or computer at least two hours before bedtime. – This lets your mind unwind and decompress from the onslaught of information.
  • Work time is work time. Same with school and homework time. – This won’t apply to every work situation, but for me the ability to “multi-task” was bringing me down. No checking social media, reading unrelated articles, or if applicable having the TV on in the background.
  • Find other things to fill your time. – If you are a doer like me you will need to find something else to keep your hands from being idle. Finish the projects you’ve started or read a book in the evenings.

It may be a process to break some habits that have formed. But I can guarantee you it will make a difference in your life if you make a few changes. Electronics are a great aid to our lifestyle and I am so thankful to have immediate access to information or entertainment. Letting it take control of my time is another matter. Finding a balance between the screen world and the real world is so very important to living an abundant life.

How will you unplug from your electronics?

 

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