One of my goals for 2018 is to spend less time on technology. It’s difficult to create margin in our lives when technology invades every corner. For many of us, technology greets us the moment we wake up and follows us through our morning commute, our lunch break and our evenings, where phones, computers and TV fill every waking moment with noise.
While technology itself is not sinful, we are better equipped to serve God and others when we are fully present. By creating space in our day where technology does not exist, we create quiet to hear God and fulfill our calling. Here are five things you can do to spend less time on technology this year.
- Put your phone away for a few hours each evening. A good time to do this is during dinner. Even if you don’t have a family dinner time or roommate meal, you can use this time to learn how to cook, read a book or do devotions that didn’t get done in the morning. I usually set my phone aside from 5:30 p.m. to right before bed. This way I can talk with family, catch up on work and prepare for the next day.
- Move your social media apps off the main screen of your phone. If Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are your struggle, move them into a separate folder away from the main screen of your phone. You will still be able to access them, but it will be more difficult. You can also set up a verification code for Facebook which then requires double authentication to log in. The inconvenience makes it harder to use the app.
- Set designated times to use your computer and TV. By assigning times for computer and TV use, you get to spend time on them—but not impulsively. You will be more intentional with your technology use and therefore more fulfilled in both daily life and the time you spend on technology. By setting limitations, you enjoy your Netflix and social media time more when it happens.
- Take a weekly technology sabbatical. This is a new boundary I’ve personally set this year. Each Saturday night I shut off my phone, and it stays off until Monday morning. I used to use “emergencies” as a reason to keep my phone on and nearby—but the reality is that these emergencies never happened! I let family and friends know I would not be able to be reached on Sundays, and now I use that time to create much-needed space from my phone, computer and TV.
- Do activities with friends and family as opposed to watching Netflix or TV. When you set aside time to use technology, you need to replace the time with something else. Think of some activities you can do with friends and family to engage in your real-life community, not just the online one. Of course, you can also use that time for things you enjoy, like reading, drawing or catching up on neglected hobbies.
While it’s increasingly difficult to take breaks from technology in today’s society, setting those boundaries is a choice you will never regret.
How do you create space for “real life”? Share in the comments!