If you missed it, I’m reading through Hands Free Mama this year, one chapter a month, and I’m working on becoming more present and reducing the amount of time I spend on my phone. This month was all about setting aside certain times of day that are “hands free” and becoming more aware of what’s distracting you from the important things in your life.
This chapter wasn’t anything revolutionary for me. I’ve been working on reducing my social media consumption and internet usage for a few months now, so this was just a reinforcement of that. It did make me think a bit more about when and why I’m using my phone or laptop, and made me a bit more conscious of putting it away during the down times.
I read an article last week in Real Simple about boredom in children and how little they actually have a chance to experience that anymore. The article cited several studies that talked about how important boredom and down time actually are for fostering creativity, and it really rang true for me. Anytime I don’t actively have something to do, I tend to pull out my cell phone and start browsing. Rarely do I just stand in an elevator and wait or sit quietly with my thoughts while I’m waiting to meet someone out. It’s so funny because when I was a kid, I didn’t have a phone and so I was much better about having nothing to do. But now? I’m terrible at it!
I have been making a concerted effort to put my phone down when we’re at home, especially when Jackson is awake. My ultimate goal is no cell phones/internet while Jackson is awake – I want to be totally focused on family time and him. And if he’s playing by himself, I don’t want to immediately go for my phone – I want to get some cleaning done, or read a book, or just sit and think. As of right now I’ve been pretty consistent with not touching my phone from the time I get home from work until the time he goes to bed (and on the weekends, I do from his second nap until bedtime). It’s silly how hard of a habit it is to break, but at this point it’s something I do without even thinking about it!
I’m hoping that over the next few months I can reduce my phone usage even more when I’m at home. It’s not like I’m reading or learning anything revolutionary when I’ve got my phone out – I’m just checking Instagram for the 70th time that day. And do I really need to read all of my work emails within 5 minutes of getting them? They can wait until I get back to work! I’m very conscious of the fact that Jackson is going to be watching us and learning what social norms are from what we do. I don’t want him to learn that it’s okay for anyone to constantly be distracted by some handheld device, and I don’t ever want to give him the idea that Facebook or Pinterest is more important than him.
So that’s where I am after the first month reading the book. I found that it was surprisingly easy to keep up with reading a bit of the chapter each week (they’re very short little sections), but this month I might try to read each section a few times throughout the week, because it was easy to forget to focus on it if I only read it on Saturday and never re-visited it.
Anyone else reading along with me? Even if you’re not, tell me what you think about reducing your distractions from the internet!