February 2019

Recently, I have been making the effort to purge unnecessary “time suckers” out of my life: social media and excessive time spent on my cell phone. 

My business requires a significant amount of time on my MacBook or iPhone: emailing, scheduling, bookkeeping, marketing/graphic design, social media and website updates, video editing and producing YouTube videos, patient documentation reports, and of course…writing monthly newsletters! I do enjoy chilling out after putting Naomi to bed and checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts, posting videos and pics of Naomi and interacting with friends, patients, and acquaintances.

But I am also a wife, mother of 3 kids and need to run a household. I really can’t afford to compromise good productivity when there are groceries to be bought, meals to be prepped, dishes to be washed, laundry to be processed, kids to be nurtured and a husband to feel supported! Of course, I haven’t mastered anything yet; maintaining balance in juggling it all is a daily goal and I fail all the time, but can still feel at peace because I take just one day at a time.

My husband notoriously reminds me to spend less time on my iPhone when we are together, and I am working on that. I heard on Dr. Mark Hyman’s podcast that he gave his wife a small wooden box for their anniversary– to place his smartphone into– every time they’re together on the weekends as a way to be more present with her. What a great idea.

We have always committed to restricting screen time and phone use with our kids with rules, expectations, and progressive autonomy. We have seen the effects that excessive use has had over their attention spans, moods, mental health and motivation. It will be something we take seriously until all 3 leave the nest!

It’s important to educate ourselves and younger generations on the detrimental effects of excessive smartphone use– anxiety disorders have risen exponentially over the last few years. 

Doing a “Digital Detox” is a good place to start, it would seem, but it doesn’t entirely address the problem long-term. It’s like deciding to omit alcohol during the week, but then binge-drinking on weekends. That’s not an effective solution to improving your health.

Instead of doing a Digital Detox, Dr. Cal Newport, Computer Science Professor at Georgetown University and author of 6 books, including New York Times Best Seller “Digital Minimalism” recommends more of an intentional, daily lifestyle commitment to reduce the amount of time on your smartphone.

Digital Minimalism, in Essence:

1. Start with listing out your core values (read my January 2018 Newsletter)
2. Look at the best ways to use technology to help support these values (being intentional about how you use social media and apps)
3. Then, ignore technology for all the rest! Those are the “time suckers” that rob us of our productivity and quality time spent with loved ones. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Candy Crush, etc…Delete them off your phone!

Here are the initial steps I’ve taken to monitor and reduce time on my iPhone:

1. Studying my Screen Time App: Go to the “Settings” on your iPhone. Scroll down to “Screen Time.” Study how many hours you have spent on apps and categories Entertainment/Social 
Networking/Productivity. Make a goal to reduce it by 20% daily. Set up “Downtime” and “App Limits.” Mine are set to OFF between 11pm-7am.

2. Going to bed without my iPhone: I have been charging it in the kitchen vs. on my nightstand every night before crawling into bed. It has actually made a difference! I have less tension in my jaw and neck, and I feel more relaxed, less anxious, while reading a book and dozing off. Added bonus: I’m getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night!

3. Stressing less and posting less on social media for business marketing ads and moving towards hiring someone to take care of that for me.

Please feel free share with me what struggles you’re having yourself or in your family and what solutions you’re exploring to make a positive change! I’d love to hear from you.

Signing off my devices…

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