Focus Time

My phone is my lifeblood.

Fact. Truth. Sadness. Reality. But, for most of us these days, we are incomplete without our phones. They help put our daily puzzle pieces together, get us out of binds, solve a problem in seconds flat, and connect us to people that we might not otherwise be able to find the time to connect with. Add a thousand other uses for a cell phone, but you get the point.

On the other side of that coin, we often feel guilty for our phone use. Sometimes this is totally legit; we should be more active members of the world around us, specifically when it relates to our kiddos and loved ones. I can feel my body shift when I hunch myself over and bend my fingers to type out a message. And don’t get me started on texting while driving.

But, I’ve come to realize that we shouldn’t feel that immense guilty burden simply for our phone use. Personally, I think it’s the fact that I am not intentional with the time spent with my phone – or anywhere else, really.

Think of every time you have a question, or realize that your child needs new pants, or something breaks, or you wonder what the news is, or simply find yourself board and you grab your phone and instantly start searching. You open every email, article, or link in hopes of reading it…some time. How often do we get back to these ideas and, then, clear them away?  

I could consider myself an informational hoarder. I currently have 31 tabs open in Safari. Blog posts. Recipes. Organizational prompts (that should speak to my psyche right now). Articles. So many Christmas gift ideas. A closet organizer and search for a new bed for our girls’ room. The new Disney+ lineup. A writing group I belong to. Home DIY blog posts. Facebook. The local news. Resources I checked out while at a conference for work recently. Two grocery orders. A Black Friday ad that I have no intention of using. A new rug for our bedroom.

There’s a lot of hope in those searches. In perusing them, I can also see a desperately juggling mother who only has enough time for quick spurts of inspiration only to be pulled back to reality. “I shouldn’t be looking this up right now.” I (and many of us) spend free time going back and seeing what we can work on.

Let me repeat that. Our. Free. Time. Work. On. Those words are true and deliberate.

What is our free time meant to do for us, particularly as parents? Isn’t it meant to be time to recharge, to either get a task (or two) done and then have a moment of “me” time to feel whole again? At least, that’s the hope. Have you ever spent an entire nap time going down the online rabbit hole only to look up and see a child standing there; nap complete, mama frustrated.

Which scenario do you see in your life more? For me, it’s the rabbit hole. Sure, I usually do have to actually get something done, like an online grocery order or something, but it takes far longer than it should because I tend not to focus just on that one thing. Cell phones are turning us into multitaskers who instead of task completers.

This leads me to a new challenge for myself. You may assume that I’m going to say “No phone use…” but that defeats the purpose. I do, actually, need to get a task or two done. Like, I legitimately need to pull the trigger on the purchase of the closet organizer and a bed for my daughter’s room. But, it’s impossible with all the other thoughts going through my brain via my phone.

So, my ultimate goal is, with everything, to simplify. When it applies to my phone use, it’s to reduce the outside distractions. To only use my social media once a day, unabashedly, but then to ensure that my other use is during one of those “free times” and with a specific goal in mind. FOCUS TIME.

If you’re doing this along with me, it might help to make a prioritized short list of the things you “need” to do. For me, it’s ordering the bed and closet organizer. Then, to check and stick to our Christmas list before searching for a good price and ordering.

This alone should shave off all that extra time of looking things up only to see them pile onto the open tab grave site. 

I’d love to hear – what’s your biggest struggle when it comes to your phone use? What’s one step you can try to help battle this issue?

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