I got my first phone in Junior High…instead of a jewelry, my dad got me a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phone (“Purity ‘Ring’”… my dad is as cheesy and practical as I am). I liked having the security of being able to call for a ride after sports practices, but rarely used it because I had to protect those minutes… God forbid anyone text me at 10 cents a pop!
Having a smartphone was never a priority until when my husband and I moved overseas. The GPS helps us navigate nameless roads in Asia and FaceTime connects us to those we love. However, if I’m being transparent, the more homesick I get, the more I cling to the device that helps me feel connecting to the happenings back in the States. Yet, the time drain from these devices is keeping me from being present in where God has placed me now.
I need to unplug to connect.
At the beginning of this month I saw a great challenge to unplug from your phone in the evening and morning hours. I decided to set a 7am to 7pm challenge to turn off my phone and see what kind of changes I’ve noticed. Barely two weeks in and I can see the impact.
Without a pandora’s box of distractions in my hand, I can actually stick to my early bedtime. I’m not exactly getting up that much early, but lately I’ve been getting about 9hours of sleep consistently and I think that’s my magical “sleep number”. Getting enough rest definitely reduces my stress.
Waking up on the Right Side of the Bed:
Upon waking, I will typically check my messages, email, and headlines from the new as I wake. Often, especially if the texts or updates are negative, it sets a gloomy tone for the beginning of the day. By not checking until I’m good to go for the day, I have a bit more reliance to get to those messages with a bit more chipper-ness (and caffeine) in my system! This way, I’m getting a better start to my day!
Getting Ready in the Morning:
Usually, I would stream music or news from the States (which lately is playing out like an addicting soap opera). Now in the silence, I realize I can get ready in a fraction of the time, which means I can either get to work early or spend extra time sipping coffee or having breakfast convos with the hubby before we head out for the day.
If I really need to get ahold of someone after 7, I need to log on to my computer to send an email. I can’t be passive, I have to be intentional with the people I love. Otherwise, I can spend that time doing other things that really take precedence… like spending time with the husband, taking care of the home, reading, or doing something that I truly get joy out of…. (does browsing the internet purposelessly really bring me joy?).
More Real Connection:
My hubby and I get precious few hour in the evening. Along with this challenge, I’ve been trying to keep the phone stashed as we have meals together… Even though it’s fun to look up things you are discussing to show the person you are with, it is still a time and energy suck to look things up and wait to load. We have enough screen time in our every day life. I am learning to protect the face-to-face time (not just FaceTime) that we have together.
I miss things… For example, because I don’t check my phone for a good 12 hours at a time, sometimes messages pile up and I miss one or two. I will have to continue working on not being flakey as I’m embracing a more “unplugged” life.
The way this reads, a person would thing that I’m someone who needs iPhone rehab or something. But, truly, my phone is just an wonderful tool that was overstepping its purpose in my life. I will still gladly peruse Pinterest and like your posts, even try to text you back, but intentionally scaling back my time on the device keeps boundaries in check… even with those inanimate objects 🙂
Let me know if you want to try an unplug challenge and what changes you see!