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Techy Tuesday: Taming Technology

Being a mom is my current job.  It's demanding, doesn't pay overtime and has no 401k.  It's also heart melting, awe inspiring and pee in your pants hilarious.  There's a perception that stay at home moms have all the time in the world, but if you ask a stay at home mom, she'll likely tell you that there aren't enough hours in the day.  In order to make the most of the time I have, technology is one of my favorite gifts and tools I use to help me accomplish all that is on my plate.  As a mom, it gives me an easy way to keep track of everyone's calendars, get all my to do lists together, collect inspiration, and read to my hearts content.  But there seems to be one thing that eludes even the most tech savvy mom, and that is balance.  Balance is a challenge for anyone to attain and looks different for each person.  Now that I have this blog {which fills me up in ways I didn't know needed filling}, it throws a new piece into my balancing act and I'm learning very quickly that I need to get my balance soon before I fall.

The week of Mother's Day, I read an interesting blog post that seemed to find its way into circulation among my social media circles and has to do with missing out on our kids' childhood by being consumed with technology.  The blogger here makes some very hard hitting points and caused me to really be aware of how much time I spend ignoring my son while I catch up on my social media updates, but it also makes me want to stand up for technology at the same time.  The Techy in me was awakened.  Like most things in the modern world, technology is best when controlled by you and not the other way around.  This Techy Tuesday, I will give you some simple, practical tips on how to tame technology to make it work for you so you're not being controlled by it instead.


As you can see from the chart above, the very same things that make technology enhance our lives can also make them a hinderance in our relationships; that is, if we allow it to.  Technology, like anything else, is best consumed responsibly.  What does that look like for me?

Setting aside tech time
Even before I began blogging, I knew that I needed to gain control of how often I would reach for my smart phone, so I set some guidelines for myself.  I was not to check my phone or other device unless my son was occupied with something else.  Most times, it is during his TV time and nap time.

Customizing ringtones
We cannot control when the phone rings, but we can control what it sounds like when it does.  So, I have assigned custom ringtones for the different people that might call me most often.  I have a ringtone for my hubby {and only my hubby}, one for family, one for friends, and one for unknowns.  By customizing and assigning ringtones to different categories of contacts, I know who is calling before I even get to the phone.  For me, that means that if my hubs is calling, I know immediately and know when to stop what I'm doing to answer, or if its my ringtone for unknowns, I know to let it ring and ignore it.

*UPDATE: While reading through my Flipboard app, I came across an awesome tutorial on How to "Mute" Unwanted Callers on your iPhone!  Check it out!  Now your phone doesn't even have to ring when an unknown caller rings you on the celly!  Tech-tastic!!!

Turning OFF notifications
My latest and most useful gift from technology is not just having notifications, but having the power to turn them off.  These days you can be notified of anything, from a new email to a new photo of you posted on Facebook.  When control of notifications first came on the techy scene, I was all about it and wanted to be notified of anything and everything.  Soon after that, I learned that I really don't want to know the second that one tiny thing happens in my social circle, so I turn off most notifications so I'm not distracted by an alert that will want to take me away from what I'm doing.

Placing phone face down
After all that I've already covered, one simple and deliberate thing I can do is to turn my phone face down when I don't want to be disturbed.  This is especially helpful when I'm sitting down with someone in person for coffee or a meeting.  It lets the one I am with know that they have my undivided attention.  Leaving your phone in your purse does the same thing if you are out and about.
The biggest gift that technology has afforded modern society is the gift of convenience.  Let's not allow that to turn on us by being over consumed by a means to make our lives easier.  I will admit to you that I am guilty of reaching for my phone when I shouldn't be, but I am a work in progress just like everyone else.  By doing the things that I have highlighted above, it increases my chances of really being with those around me.

Have you found yourself consumed by technology at times?  What steps have you taken to tame technology and change that cycle?  Did you learn any new tips here that will take you a step closer to gaining balance?  Let's hear about it in the comments.



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