Do You Own Technology OR Does Technology Own You?
Unplug? Are there warning signs you need to unplug?
Bella, our dog, was watching Tim intently, growling softly with a playful tone. What in the world did she want? Tim and I had no idea what was going on. Suddenly, something flew through the air, barely missing the back of Tim’s head. Bella deftly caught it and ran to her place.
After a brief panic, we realized that Bobby, our cat, was stealing the last slice of ham from dinner. Bella, ever mindful when there is food involved, watched his progress and tried to tell Tim what was happening. Although Bella was happy to call Bobby out on his bad behavior, she was perfectly content to chow down on the stolen goods.
How did this happen in plain sight? We were guilty of paying too much attention to our devices and not enough attention to the cat and dog!
Today, let’s focus on unplugging from our technology.
Here are three thoughts to provoke you, two ideas to inspire you, and one item to act on!
Three Thoughts to Provoke
Number One. Unplugging Benefits
Did you know that our electronic devices, even our TVs, emit a blue light that disrupts our sleep patterns? Our circadian rhythms dictate our bodies. The blue light acts as a powerful melatonin suppressant. Turning off devices earlier in the evening can help us normalize our circadian rhythms.
We can easily spend hours scrolling through social media, drooling over fashion, new tech devices, or even spend countless hours grazing the latest news. Compulsive behavior, just one more post. We need to pause and recognize this behavior. Putting aside our devices can give us time to connect with our children, parents, spouse, and even our pets.
Number Two. Establishing Transitions
Experts suggest we turn off our devices at least one hour before bed. Many of us ask, “what do we do during this time.”
How about establishing some transition habits? Here are some unplugging recommendations.
- Do dishes before bed;
- Put the cat in the kennel; our wee beast likes to scratch on the bedroom door and meow at 2:30 a.m.;
- Rotate the laundry; fold the dryer contents, put the washer in the dryer, wash a new load;
- Wash your face;
- Take a relaxing bath.
You get the idea. Replace your old habit with something new that satisfies you and easily crosses a task off of the ToDo.
Number Three. Unplugging Made Easy
Leave your devices in another room at night. I know you rely on that phone for your alarm clock. Maybe you like to listen to music before you fall asleep. Buy an alarm clock with a radio.
When you take that device to bed with you, yes, I am looking at you; you run the risk of checking email, just one more time. I see you checking the weather one more time to see if the snow totals have increased. Did my phone buzz? You have to respond to that text message.
To unplug, you need downtime. Repeat after me, “I need downtime!”
Two Things to Inspire
Number One. The Little Things
Let me share this quote from Craig D. Lounsbrough with you:
I spent a lifetime in a garden one afternoon.
My family loves Star Trek. In the movie Insurrection, Picard falls in love with a beautiful woman who teaches about living in the moment. When Anij is injured, they experience time slowing down, living in that moment.
When is the last time you unplugged and enjoyed the little things? Things like playing in the snow with your children? Have you recently played a game of fetch with the dog? How about puttering in the garden?
Unplugging from technology comes with a couple of challenges. Still, it might give us the chance to make every afternoon worth a lifetime.
Number Two. Unplug on your own terms
As said before, there’s no need to rush on unplugging. What works for me may not work for you. The important thing is for you to set the boundaries. Create space for life outside of technology. Schedule some quiet time.
Susan L. Taylor remind us that:
We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly – spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.”
Your Action Item
Technology tools make life easier. We can use them wisely; however, we must leave a margin to enjoy the beauty of life around us. If we get too wired to technology, we miss those little things that can make our days brighter and our nights restful.
Unplug this week. You choose the amount of time—the when and the how. Make a plan. What will you do to replace that time? Please write it down. Follow it for the week. Let me know what you gained through this exercise.
Will you do more unplugging next week?