10 Technology Boundaries I Set For Myself
I’ve had a few people walk into my house and almost immediately say to me, “Wow, your house feels so peaceful.” They couldn’t have given me a higher compliment. I’ve mentioned before in a post that I have a high value for peace. Everyone is different. Some people really value adventure or fun or creativity, all of which are amazing. For me, personally, I really value peace. So when someone who doesn’t know me or doesn’t know that I really value peace, walks in and says that about my home, I am flattered. It means I’ve been able to create the home environment I desire.
For Me, Simple Is Peaceful
There are lots of different ways I create an atmosphere of peace in my home. One is to simplify, which I wrote about here. Another way is simply how I act and how my children behave. Another way is how our family interacts with one another. There are many ways I create it. I wrote earlier in my simplify post that I set boundaries with myself and technology as another way to create peace. Technology has been so helpful and made many things we do much easier, but I also believe it can hurt us too. The amount of time we especially spend on our phones has greatly impacted how we interact with one another and the world.
Why I Set Boundaries
A huge part of a peaceful life for me is setting boundaries for myself on my phone and computer (or tablet, if I had one). I am very aware if I “lose my peace” and start feeling extra rushed, stressed, or addicted to one of my devices. When I realize something isn’t right, I make changes. Here are some of the practical things I do to make sure I am in control of my technology and not addicted to it. These have developed and changed over time. I’m sure they will change again. If I notice I’m not feeling peaceful, I’ll figure out why and make some adjustments.
Another huge reason I set boundaries with myself is my children. One, I want them to have a mom who is present. I want to be a mom who isn’t on her phone much and one who is in the moment, aware of what is going on around me. I also want to treat them how I’d like them to treat me later when they have a phone or computer. I want to feel more important and valuable then that text that just came in or then those social media likes and comments. I work really hard to be to them how I want them to be to me later. I don’t want to fight for their attention later. I want to feel respected and valued so that’s exactly what I do for them.
Boundaries I Set
1 | I turn on my phone from 8am-5pm. This is probably something I’m the most flexible on. There are definitely times it’s on past 5pm, but I’m working on really starting to have it off by dinner time each night. This makes it so my evenings are filled with other things besides checking stuff on my phone. I’m more engaged with my children and husband, and I chose activities that are quieter and less interactive.
2 | I keep my “to do” list and daily calendar on paper. I do have my full calendar on my phone, but the night before, I write out on paper what is happening and what needs to get done the next day. This keeps me from continually checking my phone all the next day to find out what’s next.
3 | I don’t keep email on my phone. It’s so tempting to check email when it’s on my phone. There’s no reason for me to check it 20 times per day, and a way to keep me from checking it, is to make it not easily accessible. I do load my email each Sunday afternoon. This makes it so I can email all the grandparents photos from my phone of the kids. They all live in different states so they love getting weekly photos from me. Then, I promptly delete my email account off again. It takes a total of about 2 minutes to load and delete each week.
4 | I’ve chosen to only have 1 social media outlet. Social media is probably, for me, the most addicting part of having a phone or computer. I know I can pretty easily get addicted to it, but I also know that I don’t want to spend much time on it. So, again, I’ve figured out how to set boundaries for myself. I only have Instagram.
5 | I make the 1 social media I do have, hard to access. I don’t keep the app loaded on my phone. I download the app if I need to post a photo, but then I delete it when I’m done. It is a PAIN. But that is the point. I want it to be a pain. I don’t want it to be easily accessible for me to click on my phone to check things. I’ll check Instagram a couple times throughout the day from my computer or when my children are napping, I might load and look at it on my phone for a few minutes.
6 | I have an app on my phone called Moments. I have the free version which doesn’t do a ton, but it does tell me how much time I’ve spent on my phone that day. My average is about 45 minutes when I don’t have the Instagram app on my phone. When I have the Instagram and/or email app on my phone all day, that number goes up to 2+ hours. My goal is to be between 30 minutes and an hour. So to meet that, the Instagram app and access to email has to stay off.
7 | On Instagram, I usually follow 100 or less people. This is on purpose. It simplifies my feed. Sometimes, I don’t even follow friends who I’m close with. The reason is, I see them a lot. I keep up with them. They live nearby so I don’t have a need to interact with them on social media. I like to use it more to keep up with friends who live far away that I don’t see often.
8 | I don’t have other apps on my phone. I purposely avoid having a bunch of apps. Again, for me, I love simple and my phone reflects that. I use the camera, photos, music, Moments, texting, stocks, weather, and maps app. That is basically it. I’m 100% sure I could find other “cool” apps if I searched, but I purposely don’t go looking for them.
9 | I text pretty minimally, and I clean them out at the end of every day. I definitely use text and love how quickly I can communicate things to people, but I use texting intentionally. Before I text, I think, do I really HAVE to ask them this or say this? I avoid casual texting simply because it takes time and energy I’d rather put other places. I also clean the texts out at the end of every day. I make sure I’ve replied to everyone then I delete the thread. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but it’s how I personally love to keep life clean and simple.
10 | I don’t check my phone when other people are around, including my children. My children do a 1 hour quiet time in their rooms every morning, and then again in the afternoon (or nap). It’s during those times I intentionally check my phone, reply to texts, post to Instagram, etc. When they are around me, yes, I do occasionally check my phone, but I try to make it rare. Very rarely is something on my phone an emergency that absolutely cannot wait a while. So I don’t “need” to be around my phone all the time.
Everyone is Different
I understand this isn’t for everyone. My husband LOVES new technology. He has almost every popular social media outlet, and he often has new ones before the average person. We’ve come to realize we are simply different in this area. He helps me see that technology isn’t bad, and it’s here to stay so we need to figure out how to manage it. But I also help him see that having personal boundaries with it is a very good idea. We work hard to compromise and also realize we probably will always view and interact with technology differently from each other.
I do think a huge reason I and my home feel peaceful to people though is because I’ve simplified many aspects of my life, and one of those is the use of technology. I adjust and I change. I’m still working through how I want it to look and how I want it to look for my family. But I’m not afraid to set boundaries with myself or even people that come into my home. We don’t have phones at the dinner table no matter who you are. That’s not just a boundary for my family, it’s for other people who join us for meals as well. Figure out what isn’t working for you, and start trying small changes. It might take trying a few different technology boundaries with yourself and with your family, but take the time to find what works for you.