How to disconnect in an overconnected world

How to disconnect in an overconnected world

Let’s talk about disconnecting today okay?

Raise your hand if you’ve never got your smart phone far from reach. Raise it even higher if you check in (social media, wordpress, facebook) at least a half dozen times of day. I’m guilty of both of these and since starting this blog I find I’m even more over-connected than I was before. Pre-blog I’d check in to read a couple of my favorite blogs from time to time but I didn’t spend nearly as much time “connected” to the interwebz.

Ironically, the inspiration from this post came from my mother. She was heading out one day and I asked her to give me a shout when she arrived at her destination and she looked at me square in the eyes and said “what for?”. I couldn’t believe it – it’s natural to me to check in with friends and family throughout the day because I have the power to. It’s just normalized isn’t it? Call me when you get there! Call me when you leave there! Call me when you’re on your way. You get the idea. The point is, my mother comes from a generation where smartphones, internet and the ability to be over connected simply didn’t exist. She’s told me on many occasions that she’d head out for the day and only check in at the end of the day when she’d walk back in the door – not because she didn’t want to but because the possibility didn’t exist.

I spent the next few days analyzing my habits and I was alarmed at how over-connected I am.

learn to disconnect from our overconnected world

5 confessions from this over-connected momma

  • I spend an obscene amount of time perusing social media without actually accomplishing anything productive
  • I sometimes surf randomly without purpose because it’s become part of a ritual. It often feels like I’m going in circles.
  • I often check my phone notifications in the middle of the night if I happen to wake up. Gross.
  • The first thing I do in the morning is check my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest notifications. Even more disgusting.
  • When I have a moment to myself my instinct is to hop online and see what’s shaking in the mom blog community.

Clearly, I have a problem. I’ve somehow been sucked up into the hustle and bustle of the revolving door that is the internet which believe you me never sleeps. Never. There’s always something happening right? Awesome twitter discussion! More gorgeous Instagram photos to check out! Pinterest pins to organize neatly to your boards! Posts to write! Emails and comments to answer! Technically speaking you can never be truly done with the internet especially when you are a blogger. Am I right?

But that right there is the problem isn’t it? How and when do we call it quits? I knew this was getting out of hand when I’d spend long nights behind my computer screen perusing pinterest when I should be drafting posts and basically not being productive.

In that moment I knew something had to change.

How I’m breaking up with my habit of being over-connected

I created a blog workflow. I’ve realized that blogging takes time. Easily three to four times the amount of time I naively assumed I’d have to invest. There’s far more involved than simply writing and publishing posts. Since opting to monetize my blog and try to make a little extra cash from this space I’ve had to explore ways to make the process less time consuming and more automated. I’ve been experimenting with different options and have finally found a system that is working quite well for me. It helps cut down the number of hours I’m sitting behind the computer and makes blogging more enjoyable since it removes some of the stress that comes from tedious tasks like promoting posts and being ever-present on social media.

I’ve amended my morning routine to include a “tech free” meditation session. My morning routine is truly a saving grace. It’s my “me” time where I can center myself and focus on making my day a positive one. Instead of heading straight to the computer I sit, enjoy a strong cup of coffee and allow myself to be alone with my thoughts.

Phones are left in our kitchen at night. No electronic devices in the bedroom. This is truly a no brainer and a must for me. I plug my phone to be charged over night and forget about it. Having it in my bedroom really deprived me from relaxing and getting a restful sleep. Instead of perusing blogs before bed I now read an actual book which allows my brain to disconnect and my body to relax prior to falling asleep.

No blog/internet work after 9pm. This was a hard change to make because getting blog related work done throughout the day is rather difficult when Margsy is having an especially fussy day. Most nights I’d take advantage of her early bedtime by working on the blog late into the night. It left my brain feeling wired because I constantly felt like I was racing against the clock to get things “done”. Now, I shut down the computer around 9pm regardless of what is left to be done. Although my type A personality hates leaving things unfinished I’m far happier and more relaxed.

Remind myself that the blog, internet, Instagram, twitter, emails, comments and followers will be there tomorrow. This is probably the most effective strategy for combating being over-connected as a result of living in a technology driven society. Despite my best efforts to get things done in a timely matter I sometimes can’t. Life gets in the way ya know? And, I’m slowly learning that it really isn’t as big of a deal as I’ve convinced myself it is. The internet in all it’s fast-paced glory will be there tomorrow. Self-care comes first!

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25 Comments

  1. May 8, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Great post, which many of us will relate to. You’ve taken an important step by analysing how you spend your time and setting boundaries.

    • May 8, 2017 / 10:46 am

      Thank you for reading!

  2. May 8, 2017 / 9:20 am

    Love this. Check out the “Moment” App- it’s changed my life and opened my eyes- it tracks phone usage, app usage and I set alerts to remind me how much time I’ve spent on my phone (every ten minutes I get a little buzz to let me know the tally). It’s so helpful

    • May 8, 2017 / 10:46 am

      I had no idea this existed! Thank you for sharing!

  3. May 8, 2017 / 9:35 am

    Man….I relate to all of that. Especially lately, with the mild insomnia I’ve gotten from an antibiotic I’m on. I now sit up at 3 am and scroll through Instagram videos for an hour.

    I definitely need a break.

    • May 8, 2017 / 10:45 am

      Ack! So sorry to hear about the insomnia! I suffer from it too and it’s insanely frustrating.

  4. May 8, 2017 / 9:48 am

    “It left my brain feeling wired because I constantly felt like I was racing against the clock to get things ‘done’.”

    I said that exact sentence to my wife not even a week ago. I constantly feel over-connected and at the same time constantly worry that withdrawing even the slightest bit will ruin my online relationships, progress on my blog, and leave me to be the only person in the world who doesn’t know what’s going on. Thank you for writing this just for me, haha!!

    • May 8, 2017 / 10:45 am

      I was nodding my head to all of this. I just constantly remind myself that there’s always tomorrow!

  5. May 8, 2017 / 9:52 am

    A few months back, I realized that I was on Facebook way too much. Anytime I had a second of downtime I would be on my phone. Not only was this taking valuable time away from more important things – like my kid – but many times the things on Facebook just brought me down. I didn’t want to give it up entirely as it is the only way I can keep in touch with a lot of people. So, now I have Facebook Friday. I only log on on Fridays. It has been wonderful. I would not go back.

    • May 8, 2017 / 10:44 am

      This is such a great idea! So glad to hear it’s working well for you!

      • May 8, 2017 / 3:55 pm

        I really want to implement your no devices in the bedroom rule!!

        • May 8, 2017 / 4:03 pm

          It really really helps. The instinct is still there but it’s so nice not to have access and just really relax and disconnect.

  6. May 8, 2017 / 10:58 am

    I quit Facebook a few months ago because I was refreshing it on my phone constantly. When there was something new to catchup on it either brought me down, made me feel inferior/jealous, or wasn’t interesting. I was never a big poster myself, I liked to share photos with it but somehow expected more from my Facebook friends. I miss the pictures and connections but for now this is a way of disconnecting from what isn’t important and focus on who is right in front of me.

    • May 8, 2017 / 12:27 pm

      That’s a HUGE step lady! Well done!

  7. May 8, 2017 / 11:32 am

    nice post! I am starting a 30-days challenge without social networks to see how much improvements I would have without the addiction of checking my phone each and every time, much more than half dozen of times… thanks for sharing it! 🙂

    • May 8, 2017 / 12:26 pm

      Oh this sounds great! Let me know how it goes!

  8. May 8, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    LOVE this post! I hate our connected world, really. I want the 80s back. :/ I enjoy blogging, but it too has sucked me into more online time. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it is – or I need to quit my blog. The writing isn’t time consuming, it’s the reading that is, enjoyable though it may be. I just developed a nightly schedule for myself so I stop wasting time on the internet. So far I’m so-so with it. This is tough!

    • May 9, 2017 / 8:05 am

      I know right! I sometimes dream of a time where these types of things didn’t exist and revel at how relaxing it must have been! Finding balance with blogging is super hard. I’m still trying to figure it all out myself.

  9. May 8, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    Nice! I do many of these things.

    • May 9, 2017 / 8:04 am

      I think it’s pretty much normalized unfortunately!

    • May 9, 2017 / 8:04 am

      Thank you for reading!

  10. May 9, 2017 / 9:19 am

    For starters, I never got a smartphone. I have a basic cell phone with the old slide out keyboard for texting. I do have an iPod, but in the event that I’m somewhere without wi-fi, (which is a surprisingly vast amount of places for as connected as everyone is) I’m out of luck. That also means no scrolling Facebook while driving. Not only will I not do it because it’s a terrible idea, but I also won’t do it because I can’t…which is a great motivator! Also, I have cut down on my number of friends. Everyone on my friends list is someone I know and care about. Little Suzy that I talked to once in second grade? We don’t need to be friends, I have no interest in her life, and she has no business in mine. I reserve my friend spots for family, close friends, and those from my temple. I have also drastically cut down on pages I follow. If they post nonsense 24/7, like those ridiculous click-bait articles, they’re gone. I only like pages that post really funny stuff or if it’s a business I frequent, or a page that promotes something I’m really into. I’ve drastically cut back on getting in comment arguments with folks I don’t know. I’ve realized that most people who do this are just trolls that have no education on the subjects they are arguing, so I’m not going to waste my time. I have never been one to take my devices into the bedroom. The only people who call me are work and my mom, and they can both wait until I wake up. I don’t need to have the temptation to check social media either. I deleted Twitter and Snapchat, because I have Facebook and Instagram, which are plenty. I still like books over the internet anyway, and I keep a hefty stack of library books on my coffee table to remind me that there’s plenty more to do than obsess over social media. I agree with your mom, I don’t want to have to check in with someone every time I move. Granted, I do “check in” on social media from time to time, but that’s mostly a log for myself of places I’ve been and things I’ve done. I don’t always have access to a pen and paper when I’m out (or at least not one that won’t get lost!) so it’s nice to check in to that new restaurant I tried so when I can’t remember it later I can just look back. Disconnecting is really important to me. Since I try to keep my social media accounts to the “bare necessities” I do like to check them somewhat frequently because I enjoy the things I find there, but when I’m out with other people, I’d much rather enjoy their company. It bums me out when you go out with a group of people with the intention of hanging out and instead of talking, they all want to be on their phones. Usually at that point, I just give up and check my stuff too, because unfortunately I can’t make people want to hang out with me. I really hate that this is what our society has become, and I hope some day we can go back to human interaction.

    • May 9, 2017 / 9:56 am

      I was nodding my head to all of this. Especially the part about being out and people spending more time on their phones than socializing. I’m also very hopeful that we can return to human interaction some day.

  11. May 10, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    I completely relate to this. Especially since I have really started to dedicate my time to my blog more the past 4 months. Also being a sahm makes it so easy to fill free time with looking stuff up and trying to feel more connected with people in general. Thanks so much for some ideas of how to disconnect a bit!

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