Unplug.

unplug

Hi. My name is Jordan and I’m a technoholic.

I am addicted to my phone mostly, but really an addiction is an addiction so what does it matter? I justify this addiction all day long because it’s my “job” as a blogger to be immersed in social media and the web…right? Sure, just like a bank robber could justify robbing a bank because it’s his “job” is to provide for your family. You can’t.

While technically it IS my job to immerse myself in social media (just as a bank robber technically does need to provide for his family), the HOW is the real issue here. My phone, computer, and social media usage – while all necessary and great – is seeping into dinner time…kid time…husband time…gym time…heck, I don’t even go to the BATHROOM without my phone! No more. It’s time to FOCUS. It’s time to stop looking down at my screen, and start looking up at the world around me. It’s time to UNPLUG a little, and LIVE a lot more…and naturally, I want you all to do it with me πŸ™‚

Seeing as how it’s Focus on Relationships month, I want to issue us all a challenge to unplug from our phones, TVs, computers, tablets, and any form of game completely whenever someone else is around. But before I give you the details of how this will happen, read how I got to this point first.

I firmly believe that technology is one of the greatest blessings on the earth. Between medical advancements and being able to stay in touch with people from the other side of the world, technology has brought our wold some incredible improvements. But…as much as technology has given us, technology has taken away from us. Since it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, this challenge is going ALL MONTH LONG. I might need to continue in March, because I’m sure phone addiction takes longer to mend than 30 days. But I’m really motivated, and ready to change.

I’m going to use personal examples here since really, isn’t acknowledging an addition one of the first steps or something? So just know that I am WELL AWARE that these behaviors are not the best and I’m working on changing them. I just have to eat a little bit of humble pie before I can, by dishing my dirty laundry to the whole world first. So enjoy feeling better about yourself after reading this…

plug

I wake up, and before I even get out from under the covers, I check my phone. For what? Couldn’t tell you. But my thumbs usually wander over to Instagram or emails…but it could be the weather, shopping apps, my calendar, doesn’t really matter.

I’m on my phone while brushing my teeth. Going to the bathroom. In-between fixing breakfast for my kids. Much of the time it’s posting to social media because as a blogger you have to take advantage of peak times, and morning is one of them. But I seem to linger longer and longer, looking at other people’s profiles, searching hashtags, or just wasting time. Sometimes I multi task and do this while interacting with my family, but many times I zone out and don’t even notice my kids are talking to me.

I put my phone in my bag at the gym during my class, and find myself reaching for it the moment I pick my bag back up again after class, and have my nose stuck in it all the way to the locker room. I can then be found texting continually, and again on social media, all while doing my makeup and getting ready.

I hit a red light in my car, and immediately reach for my phone. I tried one day to leave my phone in the seat next to me, and I made it about 2 miles before I couldn’t stand it any more and had to have it in the cup holder, right by my side…or even in my lap, just so I knew it was close. Sadly, my car even has super fancy bluetooth connection so I can even make calls with my steering wheel and never need my phone…yet still, the urge to do emails, social media, and web is too strong for me much of the time.

Sometimes at home I completely lose track of my phone, which drives Bubba nuts because those are always the times that he seems to need me for something. But it doesn’t take long for me to pull out all the stops to find it, stopping everything I’m doing until it’s found.

I work while my kids are sleeping, and try not to work once they are awake. While they’re sleeping I’m completely plugged in, in the zone, working as furiously as possible because their naps are never long enough and the work is never finished. So sometimes it takes me 20-30 minutes after they wake up to snap out of work mode and wrap up what I’m doing. Putting my computer away isn’t too hard, I just leave it in the other room. My phone, though, is always on me. I find myself playing with my kids and after only a few minutes my mind wanders to something or another that I need to get done and bam…my phone comes out. Adding something to my shopping list. Tagging someone in a picture that I forgot to tag earlier. Responding to reader comments and questions. Checking my calendar. Texting, texting, and more texting. Taking pictures and videos. Then editing and posting the pictures and videos. I’m still in the room with my kids, in their presence, but not really present. You’d think I would’ve learned that lesson, eh?

texting

I find myself turning to my phone as a social buffer. While waiting in line at the store, my nose is sometimes in my phone instead of socializing with the strangers around me, and sometimes hardly acknowledging my cashier. When I am alone at an event or party, my phone is my wingman and allows me to busy myself in it rather than face awkwardness. It keeps me from having to look people in the eye.

At dinner I find myself sneaking quick glances at this or that on my phone, or capturing pictures or videos of the great things we are doing. Sometimes I can do it while having great dinnertime conversation, sometimes I completely zone out and Bubba has to snap me back.

Sometimes at night I’m exhausted and can’t WAIT to fall asleep. I get ready for bed, turn out my light, my head hits my pillow…then I make the mistake of grabbing my phone one last time, to check who knows what…and next thing you know 20, 30, or 40+ minutes have been wasted by my getting sucked into Instagram, or Facebook, or Youtube, or heaven knows what else.

I’m even embarrassed to admit that the first paragraph of this email was drafted on my phone tonight, sitting next to my sweet little 4 year old in the back of the car while Bubba was driving us all home after a family activity. My son had his head on my shoulder and was holding my hand (cutest thing ever to hold a tiny hand), and I eventually let go of his hand because it was too hard to type one-handed. Totally ashamed thinking back on it. What a sweet moment I wasted.

So, here’s the challenge for us all.

Unplug with me this month.

unplug!

I’m not saying don’t use your phones, computers, iPads, or TVs. Let’s be honest, that’s not realistic.

The challenge I’m going to issue isΒ to only use technology when no one else is around.

Including the cashier at the store, our kids, spouse, coworkers, friends, or even the random people sitting next to us on the bus. Unless we are by yourselves, we don’t touch it.

Want to check social media? Great! We can do it when going to the bathroom. Alone in the car. Getting ready for the day. Want to catch up on our DVR shows? Watch the Winter Olympics? Awesome! Let’s do it on a night when our spouses are working late and the kids are in bed. Even if our spouses want to watch the shows with us, let’s TURN IT OFF and TALK INSTEAD! Catch up! Calendar! Make plans! We will be more productive if we unplug from technology and tune in to life.

Yes, you will see me posting on social media, just as I hope to see you posting on social media. I will be checking my phone, texting, and making calls, and you better believe I won’t miss an episode of The Bachelor on my DVR. BUT…I am committing to only using these things during appropriate times, and am committing to doing it when no one else is around. This won’t be easy, for I’m usually around people…which is great because it will force me to cut back and prioritize how I use my time.

So what do you say, anyone with me?

Let’s get our family involved! Our kids! Let’s shout it to the rooftops! Pin this! Post it on Facebook! Tell your friends! Let’s start a FunCheapOrFree #UnplugChallenge movement! Tell the world about it!…

…just be sure to do so once you’re by yourself.

Let’s do this. CHEST BUMP AND GRUNT.

XOXO

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Comments

  1. WOW very honest post! I am completely guilty of this myself :/ I will definitely be doing this challenge. Thanks for the reminders!

  2. Great post. Very timely. I have been trying to unplug a bit more, it is so hard though. You just dont realise how often you are on a screen until you try to limit it! I have made a very conscious effort not to use my phone for ANYTHING when we are out with friends, no googling, and not even photos. If friends want to have a impromptu photo session i let them take the pics on their phones and tell them to text them to me. I am making the effort to not be the one who whips out their phone at first chance. I am trying to be more present and have actual conversations with people and i gotta say, I’m loving it, πŸ™‚

  3. This is my Achilles heel. It’s one of the reasons my first marriage ended. When my kids are visiting (I only have visitation), they’ll now comment that I’m on my phone too much. I was on my phone at a stop light and thought my lane was starting to move. Turns out it was just the turn lane that was moving and I ended up rear ending a small sedan in my Expedition. I really need to do this challenge and at the same time it scares the crap outta me.

    • Oh boy do I know how you feel! That’s why we’re doing it for a full month though, because it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. So it won’t happen overnight, but I think we can all see how much better we’ll be because of it. I firmly believe if I can do it, anyone can do it…we’re in this together!! Thanks for sharing!! XOXO

  4. I love the idea of unplugging, too bad you picked the month of the Winter Olympics to try it. I hope maybe you’ll revisit this, so that those of us who aren’t going to miss the Olympics can still participate.
    You’re ideas and support are great.

    • Christi – just adapt the challenge to work for you! You can still watch the olympics, just do it when no one else is around! Or if you decide that you want to watch it together as a family, that’s fine – do what works for you. The main purpose is to tune out of the media/technology that invades our life, and tune in to the relationships around us. You can interpret that however you see fit. Hope you play along! XOXO

  5. a Really great post, thank you! I don’t have a smartphone therefore I am not THAT guilty, but still – I am absolutely guilty of checking/writing texts while being with my kids. Bad. Very bad. I have made it a point by now NOT to have the phone around when we are eating and when we are reading books. But the phone happens to sneak in when we are “just” playing, like with Lego or the like. When I catch myself doing it, it makes me feel bad, I have to get better about that.
    Just one thing: PLEASE don’t use phone’s too much while driving a car, it’s just so very very dangerous! In Austria, where I live, we have to use headphones for talking while driving and it’s just soooo dangerous not to use one. They really don’t cost that much (after all, how much did the car cost you are sitting in?) and they keep your hands free.
    I really, really enjoy your blog, thanks for all the great ideas you are sharing with your readers!

    • Thanks for sharing Evi! So glad you’re on-board! I have automatic bluetooth in my car, so the funny thing is my phone can be completely hands-free!…except for checking emails and social media, which was my major downfall. I’m vowing to be better in the car, thanks for the push!

      • yes,bluetooth is a heaven-sent! I always had one and about a year ago, mine broke. Since I was home with the kids I didn’t get a new one because I figured I can go without and save the money – but it drove me nuts! Even around the house, it’s so much easier! Two months ago I finally got a new one and it soooo convenient! And now that my husband and I have swapped jobs for three months (I am back fulltime at work for three months while he’s home with the kids – the Austrian social-security-system offers this opportunity and I am SO grateful for it, its great for every single one of us, I enjoy my job and keep my presence there and hubby and the kids have looooots of time together, it’s such a blessing for their relationship!) I am in the car for 1.5hours every day and without my bluetooth-headset, it would be so boring to commute – I just catch up with all my relatives and friends whom I couldn’t really talk to in the past years because there was always a baby crying… ;->

  6. I loved this post. It was so honest. I am always talking about present centeredness in my sessions with clients (I’m a psychotherapist), and yet I am guilty of being glued to my phone from morning until night. It’s time to start practicing what I preach better! πŸ™‚ I have been loving your challenges this year, I can’t wait to share this challenge with my husband.

  7. Very honest and transparent, thank you…..I honestly thought you were talking about me!
    This issue hit me at the new year and I’m already taking the challenge.
    I’m only on now because I’m home sick….and all alone. πŸ™‚
    Best to all of us!

    • I’m so glad you’re on-board, I need all the support I can get! and yes, thank goodness for naptimes and bedtime or else I’d never be able to be on my phone πŸ˜‰

  8. I’m totally guilty of this as well. Not sure how well I will do with this challenge, but even an attempt would be an improvement!

  9. I’m in! I’m working my way through the book “Hands Free Mama” which is a bout this topic. It’s going to be hard for me, but I think my family will really benefit. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing!

      • Um, so far I can say it is WAY WAY harder than I thought and I’m failing way more than I thought I would. What are you doing to keep yourself accountable?? Found any tricks?

        • So funny you posted this, today has been ROUGH for me. Because of my slacking off last night I had to be doing social media stuff on my phone this morning, thus totally zoning out from my kids again. And I’ve had lots of texting conversations going yesterday and today and I find myself responding to them even when my kids are around. It’s been SO HARD! I wrote a big X on my hand to remind me, so let’s hope it helps. I’m doing better than I was before, but it’s way harder than I thought! Good thing I have all month to get better…

          • Today I made my lock screen a picture of my three kids with the message “love this life” as a reminder to focus on being present. It has worked numerous times today as I’ve reached to unlock my phone….

          • HOLY COW I love that idea so much! A lock screen is a great idea. It’s true, it’s too easy for me to access my apps at a moment’s notice. A lock screen is a great reminder to make conscious choices about my phone. I’m going to do that tonight, thanks for the idea!

  10. We live rurally and have satellite internet which limits the amount of data you can use a month (read: lame). This data-month we went a little crazy streaming a few shows and are out of data until the 15th so our internet is sooooo slow (bringing up your website took forever). It’s been nice though because it’s made me stop wasting time clicking around online forever and reading about other people’s lives and instead, living mine. I’ve worked on projects, read books (!!), prepped my primary lesson, made meals, cleaned out, caught up on phone calls to organize our lives . . . my downfall is honestly just the internet and while I have it on my smartphone, I’m not as addicted to it that way. So this data issue has really been a blessing in disguise. You’ll love all the “free time” you find that you have again!

  11. What a great challenge. I have more of a problem of being on the computer and have had that problem for a ridiculously long amount of time. My DH and kids all hate it. I do work on my computer and it makes it super-challenging to “not” check other sites while I’m working since the tabs were added to windows. Maybe I need to go back to the old version of only 1 tab at a time, ha ha.

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