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 🙂
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…
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?
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.
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 is 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.