Today’s tip will help you achieve the goal of being more intentional about spending time unplugged. As I’ve tried to become better about scheduling certain times of my day/week to be screen-free, I’ve found that simply putting my phone in a designated area – or home base – is a super simple fix that is also super effective. I know it sounds too easy to be true, but “out of sight, out of mind” really works, for me at least!
In our home, I have two home bases for my devices:
- Kitchen desk – Phone in front pocket of wooden mail sorter; laptop and iPad on desk or in cabinet above.
- Bedroom nightstand – Phone on charger.
Our home has an open concept floor plan, so the kitchen, dining, and living room areas are all connected. The kitchen desk or my purse pocket work well as a home base for my phone during the day, because I can normally still hear it ring, but it isn’t sitting right beside me, where I am more apt to notice each text, etc. that pops up. (I have pop-up notifications turned off for most apps, which is another helpful tip I’ll share more about later.)
At night, my nightstand is a good location, because my phone needs to end up on the charger by bedtime (I use it as an alarm clock), and since I’m normally out in the living room with my husband, it encourages me to actually spend quality time hanging out with him, talking, watching TV, or reading together – as opposed to mindlessly scrolling on each of our phones, separately.
Now, plenty of the time I do end up moving my phone with me around the house or even outside (especially if the kids are in school – I want to make sure I can hear it ring). But it has truly helped me to be more mindful to leave it in one of my designated areas for periods of time – for example, during my quiet time, while doing chores, working on computer, or spending quality face-to-face time with both of my girls after they get home from school.
While there are lots of times I have a valid reason for needing to be on my phone or computer in their presence, I always want to make sure they know they’re more important to me than any screen. And I want to model for them a pattern of putting devices away at certain times to spend undivided time with people.
Do you have a home base for your phone or other devices? What are your thoughts on this, or other tips you’ve found to be effective in striving for more balance in screen and unplugged time?