I rely on my iPhone for everything. Besides being my phone, it’s my calendar, my alarm clock, my video, audio, and photo library, my camera, and my way to connect with friends and family through texting and social media. Despite how versatile it is to own a smart phone, though, I have a love/hate relationship with mine. Truth be told, it’s stealing my life away, and I know I’m not the only one.
Our whole society is becoming more and more addicted to our cell phones and TV shows (Netflix binge anyone?), and as a result we’re becoming more and more disconnected from the people sitting in the same room with us. These are the people that deserve our attention and time, so if you’re looking for a way to improve all the relationships in your life, then consider taking these steps to disconnect from technology.
8 Ways To Disconnect From Technology And Connect With Your Loved Ones Instead:
1. Don’t allow phones at the dinner table.
Let’s be honest, if we can’t put our phones away for the 15 to 30 minutes it takes to eat dinner, then we have a problem. Put away or turn off your phone at family dinners or when out to eat with friends, and don’t just put it face down – it will be too tempting to check if you get a call or text.
2. Look up to say “good morning” to family members or coworkers.
Instead of reading the newspaper in the morning, most people check their phones, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we don’t look up from our phones to greet our family members or roommates, it sends the message that whatever you’re looking at on your phone is more important than them. Make an effort to take a moment to look them in the eye and say, “good morning.”
3. Spend (at least) 10 minutes talking before turning on a movie.
At the end of a stressful day, it’s nice to unwind by watching a movie or show on Netflix, but take some time before you start your movie to talk about your day with family members or roommates. Watching TV shows or movies night after night can leave you feeling disconnected and lonely, so it’s good and, honestly, a little therapeutic, to take a few minutes to rehash your day with someone else.
4. Write a letter once a month to friends and family.
When’s the last time you sent someone a letter? If you’re like me, it’s probably been a while. It’s a lot easier to just send an email or text, but it’s that extra effort that makes a letter so much more meaningful.
5. Use the heads up/phones down when someone is talking to you.
Make this a general rule at work and home. It’s polite and respectful to give your attention to someone when they’re trying to talk you whether that’s your boss or your four-year-old child. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to have a conversation with someone who won’t look up from their phone when you’re talking to them.
6. Take an intentional break from your phone.
Turn off your phone or purposefully leave it another room where you cannot hear it. Do it for an hour a day, or for a few hours on the weekend. This will allow you to give your full attention to the people in your life without the distraction of your phone.
7. Call a friend or family member once a week.
I love texting, but it’s hard to catch up with someone just by texting. Take the time to make a phone call to a friend or family member who you haven’t talked to in a while.
8. Give the gift of quality time.
Technology should make life easier and save us time, but in reality it can be a huge time waster, pulling us in a thousand different directions and stealing away seconds, then minutes, then hours. That’s a lot of precious time that could be spent with family and friends, so put your phone down, turn the TV off, and choose to give that time away.