Disconnecting and Setting Boundaries

In a day and age where we are constantly connected to everything going on in the world, where we can find an answer to a question within seconds, and where we are held to the expectation that we will always be accessible at a moments notice, we forget what it is like to solely be alone with ourselves. We are constantly checking our phones, social media sites, and email, we often feel “naked” without our cell phones, and our society now uses our phones to avoid conversations with strangers in elevators, waiting rooms, public transit, etc. by constantly have our heads down getting lost in the cyber world. We are often so attached to our phones, that we can’t even give our full attention to the company we have right in front of us.

While many of you reading this probably are under the assumption your phones are not causing you any sort of grief or stress, that even though you are always on your phone, you are not victim to any adverse side effects, I challenge you to go without it. This challenge is not a technology detox where I ask you to do without technology for the whole weekend or 24 hours or anything of that sort. I get it, we all have a need for the technology we own, and we enjoy the convenience it provides us and the ease at which we can retrieve information or contact our loved ones or what have you. What I am challenging you to do though, is set up some boundaries. Pick time periods throughout the day where you have your phone in another room, or turned off and out of site. It is actually a refreshing feeling to not constantly be checking our phones, or skimming through our social media sites.

Think about the amount of time you waste in a day, scrolling through your Facebook news feed or whatever social media platform you frequent. Think about how many times, you mindlessly check your phone to see if you got a text or someone liked your most recent profile pic. We waste so much time, doing such meaningless things!

There are a number of studies that talk about the negative affects we endure from being constantly connected. I know for me personally, it has definitely affected my attention span. I cannot focus on one thing for too long, because I am so use to interruptions and being constantly exposed to a number of different stimuli.

Recently, I’ve started challenging myself to set boundaries between me and my phone. Unless I have a genuine reason to be on my phone during these time periods, I do not check it or pay any mind to it.

  1. I do not do anything on my phone when I first wake up. I know a number of articles and studies have discussed the benefits of not using our phones first thing in the morning, and I have to stay, my mornings feel a lot more peaceful by waiting until I leave my house to do anything on my phone.
  2. During my lunch hour, unless I need to make a call, I generally do not use my phone. I read or write, uninterrupted, only checking the time if I don’t wear a watch that day. While we are at work, we are constantly checking our emails, answering calls, and most likely exposed to the internet, that the mid day break from all the technology use, is refreshing.
  3. Once I am home, and I know I am not leaving, I plug my phone in, in my bedroom. I devote my attention to my husband, or my own well being, but rarely check my phone until right before I go to bed. While I know they say not to use technology before going to bed, I do like to make sure no one needed me during my technology break.
  4. Anytime I am out with anyone, I leave my phone in my purse. There is nothing more frustrating then having to repeat what you’ve said because the person you are speaking to was too busy texting or checking Instagram. We need to respect the people we spend time with and they deserve our undivided attention. There is nothing more important than the authentic relationship with the person in the present moment.

I promise the relief you feel when you take a break from being connected, is a feeling you didn’t even know you needed. It is hard to remember what it is even like being disconnected from the rest of the world. The time I spend without my phone is a time I feel less anxious, less distracted, less preoccupied, and I waste far less of my precious time!

I would love to hear ways you set boundaries in your life, whether it be with technology or not. We all have to learn to be more in the moment, instead of focusing so much on what the Kardashians are up to or what our former high school classmate we haven’t spoken to in 10 plus years is doing on Facebook. We need to focus on cultivating real moments with real people in real time.

Email me at amyoung1989@gmail.com, I would love to talk!