Digital Mindfulness

If we are honest with ourselves, we can honestly say that we are obsessed with the internet. It wasn’t always like this.

I remember when the “bag phones” came about and my dad would haul it from tractor to tractor incase he broke down. I remember when the phone was so cool because you had to pull the antenna out to hear the call. Those flip phones used to be so popular… and I wanted one. Who else remembers the razor phone? Now we are here… where we have everything in our smart phones… right at our finger tips. With the click of a button and a five second wait we are looking at the internet.

My routine:

In the morning I wake up – check my phone. As if the world can’t wait for me to have a cup of coffee or read a chapter from my latest book i’m indulging myself in. No, I check my dang phone. I scroll through Facebook, I check twitter, I look at the latest Instagram posts. I then reply to the emails and to the text messages or snapchats.

THEN I begin my day.

Sounds like i’m pretty much owned by the internet, right?

Honestly, do I own my devices… or do they own me?

So, honestly, I’m really not that bad after I start my day because I busy myself with work. But in those awkward situations (like at the dentist office or waiting in a line at the grocery store) I pick up my phone and scroll. It’s a habit, it’s a safe place, and it’s a way to avoid confrontation with other people.

But because i’m being honest with myself I also know I can definitely cut back on how much I use my devices.

For example:

Just the other night I said goodnight to the family and went to bed, but then I received a notification that Miranda Lambert released her new single. And well, my dad and I have this on-going debate about Gwen vs. Miranda (i’m team Miranda)… and I had to share the song with my dad. Instead of walking out and showing him the song, I just texted it to him. I missed the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with him – and probably a strict “Told you Gwen was better”.

I don’t like missing out on the interactions or the laughs that you don’t get behind the screen. I mean your screen isn’t going to smile back at you.

Screen Time

So, if we’re being honest, I learned a lot this week about how to manage my screen time.

I watched the TEDTalk – Quitting the Internet for One year

During this talk I realized that we rely on the internet to connect with our friends and family. We rely on it to communicate about birthday parties, weekend plans, the latest movies and politics occurring.

Quitting the internet brings a life of no restrain or addiction, but it also brings with it a sense of loneliness because a person can miss out on so much of what’s happening in the world and in his or her community.

So what I have found is that a person doesn’t need to quit the internet, but rather use the internet in moderation. There is no need to spend four hours a day scrolling and rereading the same thing 12 or more times. It’s about balance.

Simplify

I got the opportunity to read an article that was really helpful. Instead of quitting the internet altogether… it gives suggestions to simplify it. The internet is this mega construction that is exhausting to even keep track of. We cannot possibly keep up with every social media site that has ever been invented or keep track of all of our friends. If we did that we’d never be away from the devices.

So the article talks about simplifying. We don’t need 2,000 friends we follow. We don’t need to post every hour, and we don’t need to feel obligated to read EVERYTHING. It’s exhausting. We can let go. And that’s something i’ve been working on this week. I already feel much more satisfied with my internet sources than beforehand.

Letting go has been such a huge relief for me. There’s a way to be happy with out the internet controlling your life. The notifications can stop controlling you, the texts can stop, the constant updates can stop.

So now, my question is… what is your routine… and how can you simplify it? Become a mindful user of technology.

 

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