Hi, my name is Michelle and I am an addict. Seriously, I have an addiction to my cell phone and it has gotten bad.
As a mom of a 15 year old girl, I am constantly talking to her, or trying to, about the importance of putting her phone down and being in the present. She walks around often looking down at her phone and not aware of her surroundings. She gets home, pulls her phone out and is on for the majority of the evening. If she is not dancing, then chances are her phone is in her hand and it is on with her face staring at a screen. She may be watching her current fav show, scrolling through Instagram, keeping up her “streaks” on Snapchat, or Facetiming her friends and/or boyfriend. Always on the phone- I tell you. FOR REAL!!
But wait- this post isn’t about her- it is about me. I am always on my phone. I rarely move from one room to another without my phone in my hand. I constantly look at it throughout my work day. I pull it out as soon as I get into the house and either turn on a show or scroll through Instagram. I use my phone as a bargaining tool or a mode of relaxation with myself. Think: Ok Michelle, give yourself 30 minutes on the phone and then you will get to your homework. Ok Michelle, if you listen to Mayci tell her story for 15 minutes, then you have earned 30 minutes on your phone. Ok Michelle, you just worked 8 hours and drove home, you have earned an hour of staring at your Instagram feed, or watching Hulu/ Netflix, or planning your upcoming posts, etc.
You know when you are driving sometimes and you get to your destination but honestly cannot remember the drive? C’mon, I know you know what I’m talking about. Well that is how I have been feeling about my days… I wake up and then it is time for bed. I cannot seem to remember you middle. I know some of that middle time has been wasted with mindless use of my phone.
Now please understand- I have been trying to be more intentional about my IG feed and my blog so yes that does require some phone usage. Madison is not home often during the evening and my in-laws help out with the kids a lot and need to reach me, so I need my phone. But the time I spend staring at that screen is ridiculous. I keep my reward cards on my phone so I have to pull it out in public often. And NO- I do not talk on my phone at the cash register or anything like that, I mean, come on— that is just plain rude and I do have some self-control!! However, even my plans to spend 15 minutes on the phone turn sometimes into 30-60 minutes depending on what is going on in the moment. And that is just completely unacceptable.
About 2 months ago, I turned off my volume on my phone for notifications and haven’t turned it back on. This was originally so that I wouldn’t be distracted if my phone went off. However, I still look at my phone constantly, because the ringer is also off so I look to see if someone has called or messaged me. I have my do not disturb feature on from 11:00 pm – 5:00 am because most often I am asleep during that time. Not to mention , that my immediate family, (husband, daughter, sisters, parents) are able to by-pass the do not disturb feature anyway. And if a friend or someone was going through a crisis, if they call more than 2 times back to back- they too can bypass the DND feature as well.
And still, I am on my phone WAY TOO MUCH! How I am criticizing my child and her phone habits, when my habits are just as bad if not worse? I miss so much because I am staring at a screen.
Something has to change and I have to make this a priority. Here is my new plan:
- As soon as I get home, put my phone in a designated area(I will figure that out today)- I can still use it for music/background while doing housework and such- but will need to keep it out of my hands
- DO not allow phones at the table when people are eating or if someone is speaking to me or I am speaking to someone
- Keep my do not disturb feature as is
- Turn my ringer back on (obviously still off while at work)
- Turn my notifications off for EVERYTHING except my calendar reminders, text messages, and phone calls
- Allow myself 15 minutes AFTER waking up and getting ready for work (on weekdays) or AFTER waking up and getting ready for the day (on weekends) to go on Instagram and Facebook.
- BLOCK telemarketer calls so they are not constantly calling me during the day(I am amazed how many of these calls come through daily)
- Take care of things like dinner, listening to kids school days, getting things ready for homework, dance, laundry, etc PRIOR to using my phone for social media or show watching.
- Keep my laptop set up and on my desk. Check my email from my computer before I leave for work and when I get home from work.
- Reply back to URGENT texts and texts that need an immediate response as soon as I see them— leave other texts(friends checking in, random conversations) to the evening when I have settled in.
- NEVER allow myself to be walking around staring at my phone (of course there are exceptions, if I am taking a picture, posting something as long as it is NOT disruptive or disrespectful to those around)
- When out in public, have my phone nearby but do not pull it out unless making a NECESSARY phone call or using a reward card/discount app
I am realizing more and more that I need to be more intentional with my life as a whole and that includes being intentional with the material things in my life. Yes, I am aware that things will come up when I will need to be on my phone at “not-so-great” times and that is okay. I will still post on my Instagram stories in the moment and will still use my phone for music- please know that I am not trying to get rid of my phone all together- I just want to be more mindful of how I am using it. I am also aware that I want to change a lot of things… they will not happen all at once and I am aware of that. But I am going baby step my way to better and more mindful and considerate control and maybe from there I can lead by example.
Wish me luck– and if you are reading this on your phone… have you given your eyes a break for today yet??
In all things find beauty,