Slowing my Scroll: How I’m Learning to Balance Online with Off

I love the Internet. Give me a cell phone with the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter apps, and I’ll get lost for four hours (#jokingnotjoking).

Do you need to know the full (and rather brief) discography of Sugar Jones? Look it up. Do you need to find out what a burst ear drum looks like (I had no idea and I’m 35)? Look it up. Do you need to understand how Keyboard Cat came to be? You do. Look it up.

In fact, the first time I spoke to my boyfriend-now-husband was on ICQ (I hyperlinked that for you sweet, young things). We were in high school in the early 2000s, okay? So, basically, without the Internet, my children’s lives would never have been realized.

I know, slightly dramatic. And, as much as I love the instantaneous pleasure of finding an answer several seconds after asking a question, the Internet, of course, has its downfalls.

Wait, it’s not the Internet’s fault. It’s my own. As with any technology, the Internet is a tool. It’s how it’s used that gets a little complicated. We are all completely in control when it comes to how we use a tool, but sometimes it doesn’t quite feel that way.

Georgie hanging around my desk while I’m sneaking in some work.

Do you ever feel like you get lost on your phone when you should have been spending time doing something much more important? I do, all the time. I used to blame it on the fact that my career is based around the Internet. I work in marketing and I build websites and social media strategies. I make videos that are shared online. I study social media analytics and trends. I love everything I get to do for my job, and I know I’m so lucky.

Guys, did you know that I AM social media? Lol!

But, there are days when I’m pretty sure I’ve spent more time looking at my screen than at my life. I’ve felt this way much more frequently now that I have two little ones who require much of my attention. I know that a change is required, and I’ve decided to make it. I’m setting some new, clear boundaries for myself when it comes to spending my time online and off.

  1. Once the kids are home from school/daycare, and my husband is home from work, turn off Facebook and Instagram. I have been catching myself scrolling, liking and commenting on photos and posts when I should be playing, talking and dancing with my family. One of our favourite things to do is dance in the kitchen before and/or after dinner (a little Drake, a little Wiggles). Previously, my first thought was to take a photo of the dance and post it to my IG story. But, why? Was it so I could show others we were having fun? Who cares! It’s now my plan to live in the moment and capture more photos with my eyes and memory.
  2. Plug my phone in anywhere but beside my bed. The number of times I have read my phone to fall asleep, or have picked it up two seconds after opening my eyes is ridiculous. Plus, since we have a relatively new baby at home, I would look at my phone each and every time she would wake in the night. In fact, I’ve had nightmares about certain things I’ve read online in my half-awake daze. It’s affecting my sleep and my daily mood. So, my phone will now be charged in our kitchen.
  3. Get a real alarm clock. The excuse I had to keep my phone beside my bed was that I used it as my alarm clock. But, I won’t be doing that now! By purchasing a real alarm clock, I will have no reason to keep the phone two inches from my head (plus, is that really healthy?). I’m oddly excited about this new purchase. I had no idea there were so many cool options.
  4. Keep regular business hours. This is a toughie. I work at home, and I don’t have a closed-off office. My office is in the corner of our main living space. This set-up may sound weird, but I do love it. There’s great light and it still feels like a separate space. However, there’s no way for me to shield my eyes from my desk during off hours. I’m constantly reminded of the work I should be doing. I hate to admit that I’ve worked while I should be with my family or taking care of myself, like sleeping. Although it’s required at times, it can be hard for me to step away from my computer and shut down for the night. This is going to be my hardest challenge of the four, but it’s one I need to focus on to feel better and do better for my family.

Do you find it hard to step-away from the Interwebs? Do you regularly get sucked down rabbit holes online? Do you feel like you may need to set some clearer boundaries for your online usage? If so, I’d love to hear your habits. Good luck!


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