Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn
- How technology is affecting our relationships
- How we can incorporate limits in our relationships; including an easier way to communicate without arguments
- How to incorporate these limits in your life
- What to do if your life is more unique and doesn’t allow for limiting tech as easy
I grew up in what I feel was my own type of stone age. My parents didn’t have internet, television was limited to channel 2 and 4, and we had party lines. (If your neighbor was on the phone, you would have to literally ask them to use the phone or wait; which you could listen to their conversations). Creepy! That was back in the ’80s. Okay, so not ACTUALLY a stone age, but to me, I did not know any different. My town at the time consisted of 500 people if we were lucky. We lived in the middle of nowhere off the Trans Canada Highway. To play with any of my friends my parents needed to drive at least 20 minutes to town. However, we knew almost everyone who lived close and we would have BBQ’s, my parents’ friends came over on a regular basis and played pool, ski-
Now that technology has advanced to the degree it has, I find a lot of couples, parents, and family members are becoming disconnected and distracted. Plus, a lot of us are no longer able to have a single person income. We require both people to work to make ends meet which is causing us to add more and more to our plates and are still expected to raise the same type of family as the generations before us. The best way to do this is to limit some of the tech used in the home or at work. Why? Because if you have time to watch TV in particular, then you will have time to reconnect with the people in your life. But what can we do if you are ready to start limiting some of the tech and the other people in our lives are not? Especially our spouse/partners?
Keep in mind, the biggest struggle to adding anything new into your routine
- Have The Talk To Incorporate Setting Limits On Tech “Set Expectations” – Sit down with the person you would like to take part with and discuss what you would like to “try” out limiting tech in the home or even at work. (If you find it difficult or nerve-wracking to have this conversation because you feel it may not go over well and start an argument, you can refer to my NJT “Non-Judgmental Talk” Blog. Let them know it’s because you want to spend more quality time with them.
- Discuss What Limits Work For Both Of You – There are a few methods for this. You can limit by day of the week or even time. When starting out, I would highly suggest you start out small. If you start with too many limits you will both become frustrated as change is always the hardest things for us to adjust to. Example: My husband and I have set limits when we come home from work, we can check our phones to see if there are any last minute things we need to take care of prior to
6pm.From 6pmto 8pmwe keep the phones out of our site and put it on silent. However, daily can be too much depending on your job, so you could find a day of the week or a few that work for you. Example: Set limits on a few particular days, then pick a time. It can even be for one hour. The whole goal is to have a Full Block of Undistracted Time with that other person. No emails, no phone calls, no TV, Tablets, iPhones, etc. Play board games, cards, go for walks, go for a random drive if you have kids you can see if there is a play area you can go to, library, etc. There are tons of things you can do that don’t cost any money. Just time, which you have now blocked out time for.
- You’re The Only One Okay With This Idea – What do I do if the other person has no interest in trying this out? The problem I see the most is lack of communication first. So make sure the other party fully understands WHY you want to do this. When they hear you want to spend more time with them that isn’t them behind a screen, or you want to get out a little more and not be drawn to the phone while you are out, and making sure they see how spending extra time together can allow you two to bond, that is huge. Sometimes there is an addiction problem, that is beyond what I can answer. If this may be the case for you, more research and seeing a professional may be required. Usually, when the other party understands it’s because we care so much they take the news a little easier.
- Leave The Tech In The Car Or At Home When Going Out – Have you ever gone on a date, sat down at the table, ordered your food and half the time you are out either both of you or one of you is checking your phone/tech every few minutes? My husband and I, when going on a date will leave our phones in the car. We are usually only out for one hour, so if a sitter or someone needs to get in touch with you, advise the sitter or other family members what place you are going and provide them with the number. If it’s THAT important, they can call in case of an actual emergency. Obviously, some things are super important that may need to be dealt with. If this is the case, set a time while you are out or explain prior an expectation you will be taking a call at a certain time, dealing with an email, etc. If you know you will be checking the tech frequently as it’s a bad time that night that something needs to be taken care of, you may want to consider rescheduling the outing. You want to be able to provide your full undivided attention to the other party. It makes us feel more important. If you are constantly distracted, we tend to feel rejected, unimportant, and sometimes even get angry!
- Trial Period – After discussing your expectations, setting a few limits and trying this out, you give it one week. See how it goes. Trying anything for more than 7 days can be too stressful for us to think about, so setting smaller limits to come back and talk about how things are going will be more beneficial. If you notice time or days are not working or if the limits are not being taken seriously, talk about it. One of the leading causes of failed marriages or relationships are expectations are not being met or communication is lacking. Be sure to sit down and talk about things. ALWAYS.
- What If My Life Doesn’t Allow For Limiting Tech? – There is always somewhere, someday, some time, you can manage even 20 minutes. If you are glued to your tech because your job is round the clock and you are always on call, I’m not quite sure how you function as a human being. There must be a day you have off where not everything you do is 100% must do. You may need to skip the dishes, miss a day of laundry, don’t clean your home, etc, but your family needs you at least a small amount. Otherwise, what is the point of having any relationship if you can never truly bond with someone? All other chores will still be there the next day. Is it worth risking never having a connection with someone? If you are single, no kids, totally fine with tech consuming your life, that is great! But when the tech affects other people, we need to be mindful of what is important vs what is not or could be done later.
My personal experience with limiting tech or cell phone
If you are still stuggling with limiting tech in your home for whatever reason, email me or post a comment and I will get back to you. There are going to be special circumstances or situations that are not a one-size-fits-all scenero. I want to make sure I can walk you though it step by step.
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