How I’m Staying Present by Setting Tech Boundaries

June 22, 2018

How to stay present as a parent. | M Loves M @marmar

There’s something that’s been on my mind lately, and maybe you’ve been thinking about it too. It’s the concept of staying present. It sounds way easier than I think it is, especially considering all of the distractions in our current day and age. While technology is amazing, lately it’s been making me feel down. The other day, I went to bed feeling guilty that my phone took up as much time as it did. In some ways, you’d think my phone was more important than the people that I was with. There’s no denying that our phones are addictingfor better or for worse. Even when I tell myself not to look at my phone, I find myself pressing the Home button to see if I have any new notifications. But then I wonder, what if I did? Would it be so important that I would need to stop what I’m doing to answer it? Most likely not. Today I’m sharing some tips I’ve been incorporating into my life for the past 6 months that have allowed me to stay more present. There is definitely progress to be made, like not hitting my phone’s Home button as often, but I think I can do it because I KNOW it will be worth it!

How I'm staying present as a mother. | M Loves M @marmarHow to improve quality time with your family. | M Loves M @marmar

Having Augustine has made me really think about how important it is to keep my technology use in check. Before, I could be scrolling on Instagram around Matthew and he probably wouldn’t care because maybe he was doing the same with news articles. But with Augustine, I don’t want him to ever think that my phone is more important than him. And if that’s the case, this should be my same thought process with Matthew too!

For the past 6 months to a year, I’ve been incorporating the following tips that have allowed me to have a healthier relationship with technology and my phone. I’m so curious what you all think about them. Do you do any of these too? Or is there something else that you do? Please share with me below! I hope more people, especially parents, can learn this challenging art of staying present. It’s more difficult than you’d imagine but the benefits are definitely worth it!

How I’m Staying Present by Setting Tech Boundaries

Take Your Phone Out of Your Pocket

Lately, I’ve been taking my phone out of my pocket and leaving it on the counter in… gasp…another room! What?! I know, such a crazy concept, right?! But hands up if your phone is almost always within arms-reach? I know that has been me! I feel like my phone used to be my third arm, I’d never go anywhere without it. By leaving my phone in another room, though, I’m less likely to pull it out and check on it. Also, I shouldn’t feel like I need to be tied to my phone and be accessible 24/7. I own the phone, it doesn’t own me.

Do Not Disturb

This has been a game changer for me! I started putting my iPhone into the Do Not Disturb mode {it’s the little moon icon when you swipe up from Home} at nighttime because it would prevent my phone from lighting up and buzzing when I had a new notification. The only people that can get through are those on your Favorites, or if a person calls you two times in a row. I started doing this at night after I had a huge group text message chain that was going on for ages in the wee hours of the morning. I liked that I could put my phone into Do Not Disturb and still see the notification when I clicked the Home button or when I went into the Messages app. All those messages weren’t necessary for me to be seeing as they showed up.

Recently, I’ve been keeping my Do Not Disturb on during the day as well because I feel like most of the time I don’t need that distraction. If someone wants to get ahold of me, they can if they’re a Favorite, or if they call twice. This has really prevented me from looking at my phone with every little ding and alert. Plus, it preserves my battery life!

Remove Email Notifications

I used to get notifications with every email I would get, even the generic PR ones. My favorites were “Dear Blogger” or “Dear Maria.” Those always made me laugh! Email is an amazing communication tool, but I don’t like how distracting it can be. Especially when you have other work that needs to be done. I set specific periods during the day for checking my email and that has helped me so much. I don’t want to see an email come in, get stressed, and let that stress sit with me until I can answer it. Also, I don’t want it to distract me from the other tasks I’m doing. It’s just not healthy. Having designated email time blocks helps me be more efficient, and it also allows me to stay more present with whatever I’m doing.

Don’t Look at Your Phone First When You Wake Up or Right Before Bed

I used to be a morning and evening scroller. I’d wake up and scroll on Instagram, previously Twitter, for 20-30 minutes. I’d also do this at night, which would prevent me from getting the sleep I needed. I would see emails or posts and start to think about things when instead I should have been unwinding and preparing for bed. When I start and end the day without looking at my phone, I’ve found that I feel much happier and more confident. I feel like it’s a small change that I can do for myself that has a great benefit.

Give Yourself the Gift of a Social Media Detox

When was the last time you told yourself you were going to go a day, or two, without going on social media? The concept was foreign to me until I did it. I challenged myself to stay off my phone for one weekend last year and the first day it was tough, but the second day it was a lot easier. I felt like I was more focused on what I was doing and the people I was with, without feeling the need to share on social media. I was present in my communications and interactions, which I know was much appreciated. I also felt lighter if that makes sense- maybe because I didn’t feel tied to my phone. I got back on social media that Monday, but I vowed to do it again, and more often. Since then I’ve allowed myself to take more social media breaks on weekends, and even regular days {like this Tuesday for example}. I know that the apps are all still there for when I’m ready to plug back in.

These are just a few of the steps I’ve been taking to have a better relationship with technology and stay present. I would love love love to know if there’s anything you’re doing, or thinking about doing. I know how hard this is and you might not feel like it’s important right now which I totally respect. I just wanted to share this with you all since it’s been on my mind, and maybe it will give you the encouragement you need.

Regardless of what I wrote here, do what works best for you! If you don’t feel like you need to make a change, then don’t! But if you feel like technology is creeping in on your life in areas you don’t want it too, maybe rethink how you use it. There has to be a better way for you to get what you want and need out of technology while letting it work for YOU!

And remember, please share any ideas you have for staying present as well! I’m all ears!! Also, here are 5 Ways I’m Making My Life a Little Easier!


P.S. There are a few great sales going on this weekend with some of my favorite brands!

Loft is offering 30% off + an extra 10% off almost everything in stores or online + free shipping.

Anthropologie just placed over 1,000 new items on sale at up to 50% off.

photos by Priscilla Frey

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