I remember the email that caused me to snap. It was pleasant, but I needed to respond. And with that, I was just done. iPad, iPhone, internet…done. I felt like I was living inside of WUPHF, with something dinging all the time, wanting my attention. But then…a brilliant realization.
No one makes me use all those electronics. Nothing bad will happen if I don’t check my email.
I started the unplugging process. I disabled all alert noises except for texts. I turned off the banners announcing new emails every time I unlocked my phone. I closed my email tabs and asked my one regular email buddy to text about anything time-sensitive. And we went on vacation, where it was easy to not spend time on all my devices.
Right now, my inbox is growing steadily. I’m going to try to deal with that after dinner, when the kids are supposed to be playing but the littles generally spend the hour screaming. (TOYS?! You want me to PLAY with TOYS?!) I can’t get much reading or relaxing done with the kids awake, but it seems like a good time to manage online business.
I’ve found that the more time I spend online, the less desire I have to be in the Word or to focus on anything for a decent amount of time. I’m also becoming more aware of the example I’m setting for my kids by always responding to the demands of electronics. I won’t want them doing that when they have their own phones and such, so I know that I need to model good boundaries now.
It’s unsettling to see how much my i-devices have become a part of my day and how much time I waste in two-minute increments. Unplugging has been good—last week I read a whole book in those two-minute slices of time. If I’m going to keep making progress on my reading list, I’ll have to be unplugged.
At this point, I’m still having to fight the habit to pick up my phone or skim Facebook, but I’m making progress. Slow progress, but I already feel less pressured with artificial demands.
How about you? Are you unplugged? Plugged in?