Do you have a love-hate relationship with your digital devices, particularly your smartphone? There’s no doubt these devices have simplified many aspects of our lives, but constant connectivity – and the associated bells, buzzes and chimes – comes at a price, and can lead to information overload, stress and distraction.
Here are five ways to help you achieve a healthier balance between your home and digital life.
1. Make real-life connections top priority
Many of us spend countless hours on our smartphones checking Instagram, playing games and responding to texts, instead of interacting with the loved ones in our presence. Of course, we’re going to check our phones, but when you get home from work, try devoting more time to communicating and catching up with your family, and less time staring at your screen.
2. Establish phone-free zones
Sure, your phone enables you to multitask, but at what cost? There are times and places when it’s best to just shut off your phone and enjoy the here and now. Hold off on texting friends or sending work emails during your child’s sporting event, concert or a family meal. That way, you can give your full attention to the moments and events unfolding right in front of you.
3. Set boundaries
There is such a thing as being too available. If people think they can communicate with you any time and you’ll respond (such as a friend or boss’ late-night texts), they will. Establishing parameters will make it clear you can’t be reached 24/7.
4. Take a break and unplug
Sometimes, you need a break from all digital communication, perhaps for a few hours, a day or an entire weekend. Scheduling device-free time is the only way to truly disconnect and eliminate the endless barrage of distractions that infringe on your personal time. Let people know you won’t be responding to texts or emails during this designated unplugged time.
5. Curtail social media use
Reclaim precious family time by reining in your social-media use. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other apps are designed to make you repeatedly use them, eating up massive chunks of time. Before posting yet another status update or photo, consider your motivation. If you really want to control your social-media consumption, consider deleting a couple of your social-media apps, so you won’t receive so many notifications.
As with many things in our lives, moderation in our digital world is key to maintaining a healthy balance.