You don’t owe your attention to your phone or anyone online (including us.)
Recently I adjusted my notification setting on my phone for the first time ever.
Have you seen where you can put your phone into a “focus,” “personal,” or “work” mode?
You can filter the calls and notifications to those that you DO want, and everything else will be silenced.
Do you know how nice it is not to be interrupted during work hours by spam calls or doctor’s offices?
And when I’m not working, it’s nice to not be interrupted while I’m spending time with Ellie or other people. I get to be more present all the time. If someone does call me, I check my phone often enough that I can just call them back when it’s more convenient for me.
If you haven’t adjusted your notification settings, you should try it, it’s totally worth it!
This past Sunday, Kelsey took Ellie for a few hours and I went on my run (my workout in my grit chair). Normally I listen to something— music, or podcasts that help me think about things I want to (generally about health, creativity, and happiness.) But this Sunday I just went up the street, and looked at the leaves, and the sky, and just spent time thinking. I felt inspired for some cards for next year. The moon was out, and the clouds turned pink. I bumped into a friend who was also walking without her headphones.
There is a joy of returning to silence, being able to hear yourself think.
I’m by no means a monk, but I think our phones have pushed us to the point that setting them aside for any length of time is like lifting a fog. Suddenly tasks that felt daunting (like tidying up the house) are more possible.
When I woke up in the ICU five years ago one of my main thoughts was “I’m so glad my story didn’t end with me just staring at my phone.” I felt like I had a second chance to be more present. Pre-accident me was consumed by my phone. Instagram was an obsessive habit. Realizing that I could have died, having wasted more time looking at my phone, instead of being present with the people I love scared me. I’m definitely more conscious of my phone usage, but I still slip into periods of feeling the constant tug of pulling out my phone whenever there is a momentary pause.
I think one of the hardest parts of regulating your phone use is that social media provides a huge opportunity to connect with others, and in particular for creators to connect with their audience. (If that’s where you met us, we are so very, very thankful!)
Something that has given us more freedom to be on social media less and with our families more is advertising. Advertising is its own game, but at least it feels like we are able to reach a much larger audience without having to appease the Instagram/Facebook Algorithm. It’s helped us feel like Tiny and Snail is more sustainable—especially now that we are both moms and our time has been squeezed even tighter. And it’s so rewarding to find people who feel like us about card writing and who are super excited to stumble upon our cards.
There are ways to invite more focus and intention into our lives, and I honestly think that setting aside our devices can give us a lot of that focus back.
I’m some ways I’m probably preaching to the choir, but I’m some ways I feel like if I feel this constant struggle to regulate my relationship with my phone, it might be an issue for you too.
So a few ways that you can invite more peace into your coming week:
- Adjust your notification settings on your phone. If you need help figuring out how, search on YouTube for instructions on your specific type of phone.
- Go for one walk a week without listening to anything except for the birds and the traffic and your own thoughts.
- Feeling scattered and unfocused? Try writing a long-overdue thank-you note. It will feel good, and give you a boost of dopamine, which will give you more focus and follow through for other tasks. (And if you take the card on a walk to the mailbox right away, you’ll benefit even more!)
I’d love to hear about your relationship with technology. Have you felt unable to control the impulse to check your phone? Have you figured out any tips for regulating your phone use? Has your cell phone use evolved over the years? Where would you like to be with your technology use? Leave a comment! I love that we can all learn from each other.