It’s early in the morning as you make your way to the kitchen- ouch you step on those tiny lego pieces. You wonder how many times you have to remind your kids to clean their toys. You notice this thought and stop yourself; you’re grateful that they’re still playing with lego’s and not glued to their digital devices.
You rub your sleepy eyes and start your morning routine.
You glance over at your phone sitting on the counter and aimlessly start scrolling through your social media feed. An hour passes and you realize you have to get the kids ready for school, and get yourself ready for work. OH Shit- you’ll be late again— as you catch yourself scrolling through your phone again. Why can’t you stop?
Studies show that most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less, even if they have no alerts or notifications," Larry Rosen, psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind, says. "We've built up this layer of anxiety surrounding our use of technology, that if we don't check in as often as we think we should, we're missing out."
Rosen's research has shown that besides increasing anxiousness, the compulsion to check notifications and feeds interferes with people's ability to focus.
Besides the wasted time, there's also the psychological grind that comes from spending too much time on your phone. Several studies have shown social media can be bad for your mental health, and Facebook admitted last year that passive use of its social network can leave people in negative moods. Researchers are still trying to figure out what long-term effects channeling so much time and energy into our devices will cause.
Specific Actions you can start taking to limit tech usage.
1. Set a timer-start with 15 minutes without checking your phone, then go to 30 minutes, or every hour. Once the time is up, give yourself time to check your notifications, messages etc. Then go and reset the timer.
2. Turn off as many notifications as possible- this will keep you less distracted.
3. Take off distracting apps.
4. Don’t take your phone to bed or don’t use your phone as your alarm clock.
5. Try turning on your phone's grayscale-sounds weird but it works. This is all about making your smartphones screen much less desirable to look at.
As you read through these 5 tips you feel better-you are ready to switch things up. How about trying something completely out of the box? Try setting up a lego themed tablecape tonight. It’s simple, just take the lego’s and arrange them on the table. For the cute centerpieces, my eight year old son and I filled each vase with smaller mason jars, then added the colored lego pieces in between. We decided to use yellow, red and blue. The giant green lego board acts as a canvas for the table, and is a great tool to play and arrange the lego houses, and buildings. The possibilities are endless, allowing creativity and critical thinking skills to open up.
It’s the perfect way to give your kids your undivided attention, to play, talk and engage. It reminds you of what’s really important—spending heart to heart time with those who matter most instead of head down scrolling through your phone.