How is it that every time I get some free time I spend it on Facebook or some other social media site? Is it that I am so tired that I need that time to just be in my own moment and actually feel like I am doing nothing and zone out? I choose to believe that but then the activity becomes addicting right? Whether you are a Facebook junkie or twitter fan or pinner of things you inspire to or an Instagram user, you are in my boat. I find that I spend more time online when I have more things to do around the house. It's almost as if I am trying to ignore my duties at hand. Social media is a way for me to "check out". I think to some extent we all have this type of problem. Now, it doesn't have to be social media that is our vice. What about T.V.? You know-it's so important to be able to catch up on your favorite show right? Isn't that how Netflix gets business? The idea that people will spend hours a day just binge watching a show they have never seen before. I have totally done that. The show Bones was my vice for a good two weeks. Every day I was watching that non-stop and yes, being a very bad mom (wife, stick in other term here) in the meantime.
So how do we get away from that? How do we break the cycle? They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. But where do we start? How do we get away from those vices? I would actually rather spend this extra time with my kids. But how do I do that? Let's see if I provide some insights for you and then ultimately take my own advice.
1. Take your smart phone out of the equation.
Are you like me? Do you need your phone by your bedside when you go to sleep? Do you use your phone as an alarm? Do you have the urge to check all your accounts as soon as you wake up and then just sit there for too long- which makes you actually late in the morning. Those of us with children know that there is nothing worse than making an already short morning shorter when the adults don't get up on time. I do this at least three times a week or more. So how do we stop this? We have to take our phone out of the equation. Don't let it sit by your bedside. Go buy an actual alarm. They are totally inexpensive and easy to use! Don't get caught up in the idea that it will only take you a minute to get your "social media fix". It doesn't ever work out that way. 5 minutes will always turn into 15. Am I right? Take the phone away. Trust me, you will be better for it. You will get up on time and you will actually get things done and leave the house on time. No more rushed mornings. (Hey, I can dream can't I?)
2. Schedule me time.
This one is huge! Scheduling time for yourself and making you the priority over all else sometimes has its perks. Getting a mani-pedi or doing some shopping (clothes or even groceries- you pick) is such a benefit to the soul. We all know this internally but we often don't do it. Why? Lack of time right? Think of the time you had spent on social media of choice today. Think about what you could have done to get yourself recharged instead of being a slacker. Yep. A slacker. Don't have money to recharge at the spa? Go for a walk and be by yourself. It will help you so much in the long run. I don't really need to quote any resources for this. We all know it to be true. And this "me" time will keep you off the media sites. Period. And when you are more centered and happy you are happier around your kids. Win-win.
3. Schedule kid time.
This one is so important. Our kids don't want much in life. Depending on your child(ren) and their age(s) I can guarantee you that they want to spend time with you. Ok, so maybe your teenager would rather spend time with their friends and your middle-schooler may feel like you are more embarrassing than anything else. But I have to say that down deep they still want your appreciation, they still want your time and they still want you to be with them. For every child this will be different. And obviously this will vary greatly by the age of your kids. It doesn't have to be anything special. We are not talking about spending a ton of money on something that you can't afford. I am not talking about buying your kids things that they think want. Spending time is all you need. Coloring for 15 minutes with your preschooler, taking your teenager to the new movie you both want to see, or just having a ten minute conversation at dinner time about their day. All of these things are proven to make better families, better relationships and a happier life. That is what we all want right? Once you actually schedule the time and you make the commitment to turn the phone off or leave it in the drawer until later- you will see that it becomes a natural thing. It's not hard, it's just that you need to make it work for your life and make it a routine.
4. Schedule your social media time.
One thing that can really help is to schedule the time you will allow yourself to be on your favorite social media of choice. Whether it's an hour or something else every day- schedule it. Obviously it will change day to day based on our activities but if you actually schedule it and commit to not being on those sites until that time you will be a lot happier. Think of all the things you are missing when you are on social media for 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there. Honing down on the time you allow yourself to be online will allow for more productivity throughout the rest of your day.
5. Cut it off completely.
For some people the need to cut off the social media completely is something that is necessary. There are a ton of ways that you can block the websites from coming into play. Cutting things off cold turkey is really hard. I know I couldn't do it! But some people that know themselves know that they may need this to get rid of the habit. Can you imagine the amount of free time you would have to get stuff done if you take away the time sucking problem all together? Wow. Unimaginable for me. No words. But, if this is something you need then please go ahead and take a look at these sites to help you do that. For Mac users you can try Self Control and for PC users you can look into Cold Turkey. Other sites like Barracuda may be what you need. Also, for iPhone users, there is a way to turn off some websites in the settings panel. Some of us who have no self control need this option so they can actually get the work done. It's sad but true. I am one of those people. I may need to check some of these options out more closely. ;)
Bottom line? Take a look at how much time you spend on your favorite social media sites, decide if it is worth the time spent and if you don't like what you see please take steps to change that! It's so easy to decide to be present with your kids and stay away from the online ickiness. Oh who am I kidding. It's fun! But everything in moderation right?
Want to learn a little bit more about the way I think? Try out Summer can't wait and neither will I and Creativity and Me. Both posts are worth a read and may even help you through some tough times too.
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