It’s true, I have an addiction. I was actually doing it right now. Instead of writing this to you, I was mindlessly trolling the internet. The situation with my screen time has gotten to the point that I would call it a problem.
You know that I often harp about life balance. I get up on my soap box and tell anyone who will listen how important it is to put yourself high on the priority list. That you have to take care of you as well as you take care of others, or else you will get to a place where you have nothing left to give.
Over the years I have mastered the life balance thing pretty well (yes, most of my kids are out of the house, so that helps!). I exercise and eat well. I take care of my family and home. I have slowly built my coaching business. Now I can look at my calendar and recognize all three pillars—me time, family time and work time.
But here is the problem. Overlapping and intertwining with all that “balanced” time is screen time. No matter what I am doing, there is almost always a screen involved. While my kids are getting ready for school I am often staring at a screen. During my allotted work time I am on Pinterest and Facebook. When I ask my daughter about her day I am texting while she answers. While I make dinner I am reading a news article. I can rarely sit at a red light without checking my phone (I know—B.A.D., but I have to be honest).
I know exactly how I got here. I let my daughter sign me up for Facebook. I gave in and bought a smart phone. I started taking online classes. I started meeting classmates online. I put up a business website.
Being an obsessive compulsive kind of gal, the rest is obvious.
Suddenly there was an excuse. I “had” to be online. I had to stay up to date with clients. I had to attend my class. I had to update my website.
But because I did this without structure, all of a sudden I realized I was staring at a screen all day. I told myself I was “working” when most of the time all I was really doing was popping from article to article about things that I already knew enough about. There are only so many super foods and green smoothie recipes. There are only so many ways to say that Monsanto sucks and that GMO’s need to be labeled. I am comfortably sure that I am liberal leaning and that whatever is happening in Hollywood has nothing to do with my life. And yet there I go, consuming this information day after day.
I have to call myself out here. This situation has gotten out of hand. When I am checking my phone or scrolling through Facebook, I am not truly present. Sure, my physical body is in the room with my family, but they know that I am not really there. I’m not kidding anyone. I am wasting countless hours on something that is not improving my life one little bit.
These habits need to be broken. And that is what they are—habits. Ones that I want to change. Again, this is my domain. I talk to my clients about habits week in and week out.
So now I am the one who needs some brainstorming to break my pattern of obsessive screen use.
The first thing I am going to do is put my phone out of reach in the car. I can put it in the trunk so that I physically cannot reach it while driving. That one is easy. Starts today.
At home it is more challenging. I am going to set up specific times for Facebook and random perusing of the internet. I can give myself thirty minutes in the morning and the evening. That will give me plenty of time to stay up to date. I will put those thirty minute increments into my daily calendar and set a timer when I use them.
While I am legitimately working I will block websites that tempt me. I know that there are programs you can download to block offending sites. I fear that if I don’t have something concrete in place that it won’t work. So I will look into those programs today and get those up and running pronto.
Fixing this problem basically comes down to structure and following a schedule. I thought I could avoid having to do this. I thought I could handle it organically.
Nope, I can’t. I have not handled it and now I recognize that I need these parameters in place so that I am forced to adhere to the plan. It is the same thing that I hear often from others—I know what I need to do, I just need to DO IT.
I also need some accountability, so thus I have outed myself here today. Things will not change unless I do something different, so this is me committing to change.
When you see me, talk to me, or interact online with me—ask how I am doing. Ask me if I am keeping within my new boundaries. If I hem and haw, tell me I need to do better. If I say I am doing well, please congratulate me (because it is NOT going to be easy).
How about you? Are screens an issue in your life too? Please leave a comment below and tell me how you handle this hot button issue. Do you feel that being online is holding you back from being present? Or are you comfortable with your life balance when it comes to technology? Any and all recommendations welcome. Or maybe a support group is in order. 🙂
P.S. If you have gotten this far thank you. I got some local press last week. If you want to read the lovely things they wrote, click here.