I absolutely love technology. I have a business that is ran through technology. I can capture memories with my family through the camera on my phone. I can connect with people all around the world whenever I want. But it can get out of hand. It can become a distraction from what really matters and from what is actually going on. Our phones are playing a huge role in absent-minded motherhood (you know, where you get lost in the scrolling on Instagram and Facebook instead of playing with your kids). There are so many excuses to not be paying much attention to what’s going on around us in real life. The phone is a distraction from real life, plain and simple. And we are raising a generation that will joke around about whose mom was staring at the square in her hand more often. That’s not what I want. I know it’s not what you want either.
I want to empower you when it comes to setting boundaries with your phone so you can live a present life. You are the only one that can make this choice. You can make the choice to be different from everyone else. To go against the grain. To swim upstream. Protect your time. Choose to focus on what matters.
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
The role our phones play in how we “mom” today.
Tips for setting boundaries with your phone + social media.
Different phone settings you can utilize to help break interruptions from your phone always going off.
The benefits from doing a phone detox.
How looking at why you feel you need your phone attached to you, will help set you free from actually needing it attached to you.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Welcome back friends to The Purpose Show! This is episode 24. I am talking today all about having a present life when it comes to your phone, how you can handle time spent on your phone on social media, and what kind of permanent phone settings you can set up to have a present life and a present motherhood.
The fact is phones are a distraction from life. Our phones are absolutely playing a huge role in absent-minded motherhood, where you get lost in the scrolling on Instagram and Facebook. There are all kinds of new apps popping up all the time. There are so many excuses to not be paying much attention to what’s going on around us in real life. The phone is a distraction from real life, plain and simple.
All of the sudden, today, anyone who has your number – anyone who has ever had your phone number – can get hold of you at any time of any day. And what really gets me is that these people not only can get hold of you any time they want, but most people actually expect a fairly quick response. That’s because of expectations laid out by society. I think it is completely ridiculous.
In my group of friends, my inner circle, I am known as the one who doesn’t text back, doesn’t respond back to everything. It’s kind of the running joke. Honestly, it makes me really happy because this has been a problem for me. I have been sucked into my phone. It’s a big part of my job.
It’s really easy for me to justify time on my phone. A lot of the time, I do need to be on my phone. I am not saying to never be on your phone.
I absolutely love technology. It has given me my business. It has given me freedom. It has given me so much. When we moved away from friends and family, I was never more grateful for technology and my iphone as I was then. It is an amazing, beautiful thing for sure.
But it can get out of hand. It can become a distraction from what really matters and from what is actually going on.
If you just take a minute to purposefully decide that the next time you are out and about with your family, notice how many people are on their phones. I did this the other day when we were at Legoland. I was preparing to record this episode. I decided I was going to mindful of two things: (1) how often I felt the need to reach for my phone, and (2) how many people were on their phones at Legoland. If you are going to Legoland, you are probably there to have some family time and enjoy some time with your kids, right?
It was really, really saddening. I noticed that I was reaching for my phone a lot. Immediately after that, I decided to do another social media detox and phone breakups, which we will talk about later in this episode.
While I was there, I also noticed that everywhere there was a bench, there was someone or a cluster of someone’s, sitting there on their phones. More than half the time, those people had kids sitting right next to them, who were trying to talk to them, or trying to get their attention. Everyone was just on their phones.
It’s hard because I don’t want to be judgmental. There was a blog post that was floating around that went viral a few years ago. Basically, someone had written a letter to a mom who was on her phone the whole time.
Now, I have been that mom at the park. The mom at the park who started a business and is home with her kids only because of that business. And she needs to work. She needs to get her work done. You don’t what that mom was going through. And that was me. It could have been me.
I would take my kids to the park so they could get their energy out and play. I would bring my phone, fully charged, and sit on that bench responding to emails, or going through the applications for a new assistant to hire so I could be more present with my kids. Writing a blog post on my phone at the park in the middle of the day – that was me. You just don’t know and you can’t judge other people.
I think we can agree that our phones have become such a distraction from real life. And that there are expectations by other people for a fairly quick response time. That responding to a text a day or two later is really out of the norm. It can even be considered rude.
I have really gotten that vibe myself. It has taken over a lot in my life. People say things all the time. It is discouraging to me that just because someone has your phone number, which is a lot of people, and that someone reaches out and asks if they can “pick my brain” about blogging or starting a business, that I am expected to give that request time and space in my life as soon as my phone lights up. It flabbergasts me how often people are “entitled” to my time away from my family.
Let’s face it. If I am holding a “square” in my hands and using it to type a message to this other person, I am not present with my family.
They know that I have a business. They know that I homeschool. They know that I have four kids and a husband. And yet they feel entitled enough to send me a text that would require a pretty lengthy response, or any response at all. And they feel like I am the rude one for not responding fairly quickly or ever.
That, again, flabbergasts me. That’s ridiculous to me.
Basically, what it comes down to is this realization of, “OK, this is the way society works today.” I do know that some people have chosen not to do the “smartphone thing” at all. And hats off to them. If that’s you – good job! That’s awesome!
That is not for me. I am a modern mama. I have an online business. I have stuff to do. My phone is a tremendous help to me when I am out and about, doing things with my family. Or if I want to let the kids get some energy out and I need to respond to a couple emails. Or jump on a Facetime call with my PR girl, spur of the moment. I need that. It is phenomenal to me. It is so worthwhile.
However, I don’t want to let the convenience of today’s technology be a foothold in my life and a reason that I missed moments with my family by this distracting little rectangle.
I realize that you might be “yes, that’s me! I need to get this under control in my life.” I have totally been there.
I love Instagram, in particular. If you follow me, you notice that is where I am the most. It’s personable. I am there a lot. I like to share my day. I have always wanted to have a vlog – video blog. It doesn’t work out for our family. It is way too high maintenance and we don’t want to be “movie stars”, where we are filming everything about our life all of the time with a “real” camera.
Instagram Stories was introduced last year (or whenever). For me, it has been so fun. I feel like I can be really personable and share little 15 second blips of my day. I treat Instagram Stories as a little vlog of my life. I love sharing that with you guys. I love sharing quick tips of decluttering, time management and such. I absolutely love it. It is such a breath of fresh air for me.
But it can totally get to a point where it is a little out of hand, taking up a lot of time. When you are sharing like that, people respond back with messages. It has can be time consuming when you are responding to strangers and giving them your time, when your family is what really needs that.
I want to empower you: you are the only one that can make this choice. You can make the choice to be different. To go against the grain. To swim upstream. Protect your time. Choose to focus on what matters.
It can be done. About 3 – 3 ½ years ago, I hit a point that I realized this was taking up way too much of my time. I really wanted to put it in its place, and I did. I have been doing detoxes. Figuring out some phone settings, some tips and tricks, that can really help you put your phone in its place in your life, which is on the back burner. With your family up front. The phone should not be such a distraction. It can be done. I just want you to be empowered.
It is OK to not respond to every text message. Or at all. It is OK to just not respond. We all know that feeling where we get a text and it burdens us, “O crap! Now I am going to have to respond. I don’t know what to say to that.” Maybe there is someone that wants to hang out and you really don’t want to hang out with them. Or someone is asking you something and you just haven’t made a decision about it yet. You have allowed your phone lighting up to distract you, to burden you, in the middle of your busy day with your kids, at work, or wherever you are.
I want to empower you and let you know that it does not have to be that way. You can make a choice to live a different way. And everyone else can just deal with it. I promise you it will be OK. It is not as big a deal as you may be thinking it is.
When your phone lights up, dings, or vibrates, that is you giving other people a priority in your day. It is. It is you giving them priority over your family and your day. Even without responding. The fact that it made a noise distracted you. You hear the noise and you are thinking, “I wonder who that is?” That’s a distraction.
I think that we need to accept that harsh reality, that harsh truth and let it sink in, so that we have a drive to make a change. You are the only one who can set boundaries with that. Who can realize that is the truth of what this is. And then set the boundaries according to how you want to live your life.
We can’t get upset with other people for texting us. That’s just a given in today’s world. Only we can draw the line where we want it to be. And only we can keep it there. And live our lives with the priorities and boundaries that we have set showing the other people in our life how strictly or not strictly we live by this. Right? Only we can set that boundary line.
And the way you set it may be a little awkward at first and a little hard. You may realize that you have a major phone addiction. That’s OK. It’s normal in today’s world. But there is something that we can do about it. Right?
Let’s dive into the specifics of setting boundaries with your phone and the people that have the number to your phone.
These are my suggestions for what helped me. I feel like I have a pretty great relationship with the other people in my life. It may take me awhile to text people back. I have set times that I do that. But I also feel like my phone does not run my life at all. It doesn’t have a priority in my life over my kids, my husband, my life. I feel like I have struck a pretty good balance and I am sharing what I have done.
One of the first things I want to say is it is important to stop carrying your phone around with you all the time. That’s the first thing I did when I realized I had a really bad habit and wanted to break it. Assigning your phone to one location for when you are at home is huge.
For me personally, I picked the entryway because it is downstairs, by the front door. It is not in the kitchen, where I spend most of my time. I didn’t want the phone near me all of the time because just seeing it can be a distraction. It is in a central-ish location, but it is also out of the way. It is not with me all of the time.
Full disclosure, of course, I bring my phone with me throughout the day. You can tell that in two seconds if you follow me on Instagram. But, having a location for your phone is somewhere you can put it on days that you get “exhausted” from responding to things. Don’t you ever feel worn down by text messages, especially if anyone does what I do for a living? Just texting other people can be exhausting.
On those days, give yourself a break. Put your phone in its assigned location. Get away from it for a day. Don’t even look at it. Don’t even pick it up and carry it with you. You don’t need to capture yourself folding laundry on Instagram Stories for the thousandth time. You don’t need to capture every cup of coffee. Every homeschooling lesson. Every time you are in the school pick up line with your kids. You don’t need to capture everything. We are “capture happy” in today’s society.
Take a break and let it go. Give your phone an assigned general location. Stop carrying it around with you all of the time.
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The next thing is turn off all of your notifications. I know this sounds crazy but, hear me out. This is how I have my phone set up.
If someone calls me, it will ring or vibrate. If someone calls me, they can get hold of me. If someone texts me, I don’t know it unless I look at my phone and go to the text message icon. Then I see that I have text messages. Everything is turned off.
I go through seasons where I will undo the text thing. I always have it set where text will not make a sound. But I will sometimes go and change the settings to where it will go on my “lock screen” if someone texts me. Right now, if I turn my phone screen on, there will not be any notifications on there. All I see is the picture of me and Brian in the background, the time and the date. That is great! It is so minimalistic, simplified and freeing.
But sometimes I might be waiting for someone to text me. Maybe there is something going on. For example, a group text because my family is all planning Easter. Then I will change settings to where it shows on my “lock screen” but it won’t make a sound or vibrate. If my husband sends me a text message, I hear the sound. It will vibrate. It is a special sound so I know that Brian has texted me. Then I answer it.
You can set it to where everything is off all of the time except for certain people. For example, when Brian was gone, I had it set where nothing made a sound unless Brian texted me. Even his phone call ringer is different than everyone else’s ringer.
Turn off Instagram alerts. Turn off social media notifications. You don’t need to be everywhere all of the time. I think we have FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – about everything. We are afraid we will miss something. What if someone messages me on Facebook? OK? What if they do? Why can’t you see it later when you log into Facebook on your computer. Why does it have to be all the time? Right now? Always?
I would encourage you to turn off all of your notifications. As of this moment, I don’t get any notifications on my phone except for one special app that I have where only my assistant, Hayley, can get hold of me because she is awesome. She doesn’t bug me at all unless she absolutely has to. She can get hold of me on there or she can call me.
Even if I have it set to where I get notifications on my “lock screen”, it doesn’t make a sound. It doesn’t vibrate. It is there when I go to look at my phone.
Give yourself boundaries with your phone. There should be times where you will look at your phone. Sure, I want to see if there are texts. I want to see if I missed a call and somehow didn’t hear it. If I want to go on Instagram, I will look and see if there is anything I need to see there.
It’s set times that you are boxing it out instead of having it ding every two seconds. Having the screen light up because someone just followed you on Instagram. Having it light up and alert you for every single thing all of the time. You are literally saying, “this is more important and this has space in my life to distract me from what matters most.”
Also, the Do Not Disturb setting is your best friend. It is an extra-thick boundary for things like family movie night, date night with your husband, times where you are trying to focus on work. Times when you are basically saying, “nothing is more important for this.” Even if your mom calls to see how your day went.
In a true emergency, which let’s face it – it’s rare, if someone calls 2-3 times in a row, it will come through. But other than that, no alerts.
We tend to think “Oh, what if someone needs me? Oh, the business! Oh, What if this? What if there is a family emergency?” How often does that really happen? If something is a true emergency, what is 911 for? Again, if they call three times in a row, it will come through.
Block that time out and give yourself boundaries with this or it will take over your whole life. Your kid’s memories will be you looking at your phone. That is my biggest fear. I think about it all of the time. It reminds me and motivates me to have these boundaries in place, which is so easy to do.
If you are wondering how to do all of these settings, the Content Upgrade will walk you through all of that. The link for that is in the show notes.
Delete the Facebook App. You can delete other social apps if you want to, but specifically Facebook. Do we really need to be able to get an alert, or to open it up and see what our high school girlfriend is doing for lunch at a moment’s notice? No, I don’t think so. If you are listening to this, you are probably a mom. You really don’t need to know that. You have a lot going on.
Facebook is one thing that can be browsed on the computer during down time or on your phone’s browser. There is no need for an app to give us constant access to what everyone is doing today. I do not have Facebook Messenger on my phone. I do not have the Facebook app on my phone. Honestly, I almost never go on there on the computer.
The only thing that I use Facebook for is doing my live streams for my community because everyone else uses Facebook. A lot of my community groups are on Facebook, but I can run those through separate platforms, 3rd party apps, which I honestly like better.
You do not need Facebook on your phone no matter who you are or what you use it for. When you delete the Facebook app, you are deleting that ease of access. You are making it so you have to go onto your computer or your phone’s browser and actually log in to check it. It is an extra barrier that’s good for boundaries.
Have set social media and phone “break-ups” or “detoxes”. I just did one. I do this pretty often. I used to have them set in my calendar, which I highly suggest you do if you are trying to break a phone habit or addiction. Every three months I would set one for three days. I would detox. I wouldn’t go on any social media.
I wouldn’t go on Instagram. Not do an Instagram Story. Nothing. I wouldn’t capture anything. I would just live in the moment. Put my phone in its dedicated space and only bring it with me when I was leaving the house. I just live my life in the moment and enjoy my family. It always reaffirms these boundaries. It reaffirms this drive in me to be present. Put my phone in its place and not give it time in my life.
I love Instagram. I think it is amazing. I think it is generally a very positive atmosphere. It is very image heavy and I love taking pictures. I take my own photos. I love photography. I love capturing my babies. I love, love Instagram. I love the community that I have built there. I generally get very positive messages there. I have instant, immediate messaging and response to my Instagram Story turned off to protect my time. But people can still message me from my feed. I love, love it there. I love sharing my story. I love treating it like a vlog. I love it there.
BUT, everyone needs a break sometimes. When I am going to get ready for a social media or phone “break up,” I will completely delete the Instagram (and any other social media apps). It’s not even on my phone. It is a reminder for me when I turn on my phone to check Instagram, that “Oh, it’s not there. Oh, I am doing a detox.” Delete it completely. You can’t just decide, “I am going to do a detox.” It’s not enough. Remove it from your phone completely. Then when you are done you can re-load it. Do this for a set amount of time.
I usually do 2-3 days. There have been times when I was going to do a detox for 2 days and it turned in to two weeks, because I am just burnt out and I am enjoying the break. That’s so good for you. You need to have these times. I would suggest 2-3 days.
Take a break. Use that assigned phone location we talked about. Keep your phone there. Don’t carry it around the house. Don’t do any social media for a few days. Don’t check to see what everyone else is doing. Don’t update what you are doing.
Then I would challenge you, as you do that a few times and you grow in that, start to do it when you are doing something amazing. We have this problem with capturing every single thing that we do, especially if it is something really cool. Going to Disneyland. Wine tasting with your husband. Taking a trip to Hawaii. Start to challenge yourself to do these social media break-ups when you are doing something you would normally capture and share.
Ask yourself… Why do I feel like I need to share this? What is my heart issue here? Why do I feel like I need everyone to see this about my life? What am I trying to prove here? Really dig deep and face this problem that we all have.
Choose really carefully who you respond to. I feel that one of the biggest problems with texting, as helpful and convenient as it can be, is that everyone feels like they can get hold of you anytime and they expect you to respond pretty quickly. You have life going on.
I have four kids. I homeschool. I have the business. It seems to me that people would “get it” when I don’t respond for several hours or even in a day or two. But I have received a few texts, at some point, saying things like, “Hello? Oh my gosh, are you mad at me? Are you getting my texts?”
And my response is “Are you serious?” Who are you? Do you feel entitled to my time? I am supposed to drop everything and answer your text message at the speed that seems reasonable to you and your expectations?
I am in the middle of raising world shapers. Home educating them. I am managing my home. Uh, it can and will wait.
That is my mantra for this kind of thing. It can wait. It is OK for it to wait. It is not the end of the world, or the end of anything. And it will wait because I am busy focusing on what really matters. I don’t want this to sound unkind, but I feel like we should be really choosy with who we should respond to regarding texting.
If you really think about it, it makes sense. If someone who isn’t in your immediate relationship circle – your family, your husband, your closest friend – is sending you a text message and you responded right way, you just gave them your time. You took time away from your family, kids, work, and you gave it to them. That’s the fact. You also just set a precedent letting them know they can text you anytime and get a response.
The same principle goes for the topic that you are texting about. Is this really worth your time? I think we all need to wake up, myself included. Choose wisely how we spend our time, who we are spending our time with and on. Really get intentional in this area of our life.
We are raising a generation that will joke around about whose mom was staring at the square in her hand more often. That’s not what I want. I know it’s not what you want either.
That’s what intentionality is. Realizing, mindfully, what other people are not realizing. Seeing the problems and reacting, responding, by changing the way we are doing things. Even if it means being totally different than everybody else. That’s what this is about.
I encourage you. We have to change our phone settings. We have to put these amazing rectangles in their place. Let it be a gift and not a burden. Boundaries will help you do that. Setting the boundaries of time and space. Putting the phone where it belongs in your life.
If you would like to see the actual settings of my iphone, I have shared them in the checklist with this episode. It is completely free to download it. I would encourage you to download it and change your settings. It has changed my life so much.
Whenever I feel like I am burnt out or I am struggling with Instagram again, I detox. You can totally do this! I hope this makes you feel empowered and inspired.
Go download that free checklist. It will help you put “pedal to the medal.” Put action to this episode. Change your phone settings for a present life.
Go get your free checklist. Be encouraged! You guys can do this!
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!