The One Change Every Time-Starved Mom Must Make This New Year

Do you often find yourself saying “If/when I find the time…”? Then please stop everything else and read on.
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Do you often find yourself saying “If/when I find the time…”? Then please stop everything else and read on.

Unless it’s your primary source of income, then you seriously need to consider why are you spending so much time on the phone? Sure, you might read something interesting or binge watch some show, but those are one-off things. Hang on, looks like I jumped a step – “so much time on the phone” — Really?! Yes, really.

Most of us are not even aware of how much time we spend on our phones. It’s true that data never lies — so first thing, measure how much time you are spending on your phone daily, and on what. There are apps to do this; try Quality Time (Android) or Moment (iPhone).

4.5 hours?! 892 notifications?!!

Really?! Yes, really. Doing that alone will be the most effective trigger for you to course-correct.

To elaborate:

  1. According to Heather Menzies, author of the book No Time: Stress and the Crisis of Modern Life, we end up feeling busier because we’re required to work at the speed of technology. This feeling of having so much to catch up can really leave you exhausted, without even having ‘actually done’ something.
  2. If left unchecked, this can worsen into a general sense of unfulfillment (if there’s such a word) and possibly lower self-worth (since the fire hose of data flowing into your hands is full of perfect bodies, perfect homes, perfect kids, and perfect lives).
  3. And lastly, all those WhatsApp forwards that you have read, and ignored – about excessive phone usage causing insomnia – are absolutely true. So your waking up dull/tired is not to be solely blamed on your hyperactive toddler or crazy project deadlines.

Okay, okay, got it! Now how do I fix this?

Here are the top 3 ways that worked for me:

  1. Turn off notifications for all apps; disable the auto-download feature for all media in WhatsApp
  2. Use a maximum of 2 social media apps at any time. When I started using Instagram regularly this year, I temporarily deactivated my FB account. I also uninstall WhatsApp during school vacations. Other alternatives I have tried are using FB only on the PC, or only on a specific day of the week.
  3. Set usage timers/alerts wherever possible – available under Settings in Instagram, YouTube, etc. While it’s true one can dismiss the prompt and continue, but trust me it does make a difference. Even if in half the instances you disconnect from the phone as a result of the alert, you are freeing up that much time for yourself.

Once you start making these changes, you will:

  1. Find it hard to go to sleep initially (contrary to what one might expect). You will surely need some replacement like reading or prayer or singing, but 4-5 days into the routine and you will see your sleep cycle improve. You will start to sleep soundly, wake up without needing an alarm (will take time, but it surely happens if you stick to the phone-free night routine) and most important of all, wake up fresh.
  2. Find time to actually do things rather than keep adding on to wish lists, bookmarking recipes, saving DIY pins, and so on.
  3. Experience less mental load and overwhelm, you will find yourself doing things at a more relaxed pace and also being more present in the moment. Which means, going back to where we started, you will stop whining about “If/when I find the time…

I earnestly hope you embrace this as your New Year resolution and make sure that 2020 doesn’t just scroll by!:)

Image source: unsplash

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