So before I begin and you all get the wrong idea, I’m not some old lady stuck in the times of writing letters while listening to a wireless who thinks we should all chuck our smart phones out in the bin. I am, in fact, a child of the 90’s. I got my first phone when I was 12 (the Nokia 3310 of course) and over the years my phone has become like an extra, extremely important limb.
My love for my electronic BFF is causing me not to be present enough in the actual real world around me though. I know I spend too much time scrolling, liking, reading and commenting, even more so now I am a blogger, but it is something that I find quite difficult to keep in check. Something happened the other day that made me realise I need to prise that damn phone out of my own hands and stop staring at that glowing screen. Leo and I were in the library and my little man was playing with the kitchen set in the children’s corner. I was feeling a bit swamped with linky reading so decided to do some commenting while Leo pretended to cook a steak on the toy stove. Suddenly Leo went, ‘Mummy you cook!’ , so I put my phone on the chair, sat on the floor and finished cooking the steak. I looked up at Leo who had climbed up on the chair, grabbed hold of my phone and started tapping away. He looked down at me with my smartphone in hand and said ‘Look Mummy, I’m you!’. He then carried on tapping on my phone, the whole time not looking at me once. I felt awful.
What have I become? Wasting precious time with my boy glued to my phone like some Android addict, getting her kicks from new followers on Twitter and free WiFi? I don’t want to be that person any more, I’m not saying I want to ditch my phone completely, I just want to spend as little time on it as I can – especially in front of Leo. Being a blogger and being constantly on your phone pretty much go hand and hand but I am trying my best to find a balance and only reach for my phone when I actually need to, not just to ease my screen time cravings.
I am sure I am not the only person who feels this way, I can’t be can I? I think if a lot of you are honest with yourselves you would probably admit to spending more time than you are happy with scrolling away on your phone too. So here is my solution, 5 easy little steps you can take to spend less time on your phone and more with your kids.
1. Wear a watch – Telling the time the old fashioned way is a great way of avoiding unnecessary screen time. Looking at your watch is a much quicker way of finding out the time and, as you’re not on it, you are not going to get distracted by anything going on with your phone. You only wanted to know the time after all, not have a quick nose on Facebook and check your Twitter feed.
2. Take photos on a camera – I’m not saying you need go out and buy yourself a fancy DSLR camera, although you can if you want to, but by using an actual camera to take pictures you are saving yourself so much time potentially wasted on your phone. It is so easy to snap a picture on your phone, immediately upload in to Instagram and then somehow spend the next 20 minutes scrolling through other peoples profiles and commenting on pictures. If you are using a camera you don’t have this option, easy.
3. Limit your social media time – So this is easier said than done but social media really is the root cause of most peoples eyes-glued-on-phone syndrome. If you need to use social media (which you will if you’re a blogger too), decide how long you’re going to spend on there before you dive in to the never ending feeds of status updates, images, videos and so on. Set your time limit and stick to it. I allow myself to be active on Twitter for about half an hour over breakfast and then again in the evening once Leo is in bed. I will respond to notifications if and when I have chance to during the day but if my phone beeps and I’m busy doing something else, I ignore it. Most things in life are more important than a notification saying someone favourited your last tweet.
4. Get organised – This year I have been using a diary properly for the first time in years. I use my diary to keep on track of things going on in my real life as well as in my blogging life too. I plan out my months worth of posts in advance (pretty much) and knowing exactly what I am going to be writing about stops me procrastinating and wasting time when I do sit down to blog. By writing down any upcoming events/family visits/trips away in my diary I am no longer having to waste time searching through old Facebook and WhatsApp messages to find out when and where things are happening, it’s now all jotted down easy for me to find in my diary.
5. Turn your WiFi off – After Leo is done watching his cartoons in the morning (around 9am) I turn the WiFi off on my phone and don’t turn it back on until we have a bit of quiet time in the afternoon or sometimes not until Oli is home from work. It is too tempting to mess around on my phone if I can hear new notifications coming in or the ping of a new Facebook message. I would just turn my phone off but someone might need to call me so it stays on but without any internet, like in the olden days. I am also trying my best not to turn my data on when we are out and about and instead waiting to get my internet fix in the evenings when Leo’s prying eyes are tightly shut as he snoozes in his bed.
There you go, 5 little changes you can make to your life that will help you to spend less time on your phone and more in the real world with your kids. I hope no one feels offended by this, I am not judging anyone who spends a lot of time on their phone. I am simply saying that if, like me, you want to reduce your screen time here is an easy way to do it.
Do you feel like you use your phone too much? Maybe you have found the perfect balance between your online and real life? Please tell me your secret if you have! Are there any other things you do to try and spend less time on your phone?
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