Have you heard the phrase digital detox thrown around? I kept seeing it, so I decided to try my own. It became a family affair! Alan and I sat down to decide what we wanted it to look like. We actually tried this about 3 months ago, and the reason I'm just now telling you about it is because I had to work up the courage...because our "digital detox" was a royal fail! Our hearts were in the right place: we wanted to cut back on the technology to be able to focus our attention where it matters more...on our family. Yet, we had some obstacles we didn't face before starting. So what I'm doing is telling you about our mistakes just in case you're thinking about trying one of your own :)
The Hummel Family Digital Detox Mistakes: Avoid these....
1) Failing to align your actions with your core purpose of why you’re doing it
I’m starting out with the biggest issue I had. With every action item we had for our digital detox I needed to bring it next to our core purpose of why we were doing it to see if it matched up. What was our core purpose? It was to be more present, less distracted, more tuned into each other. We needed to see if the things we took away or kept lined up with our reasoning for doing the detox. The gist of what we did was no phone for me before 8am (I get up early to reflect and pray...and work :) ), no technology in the bedroom, no technology at the dinner table, no TV during the week. We liked those aspects, but to really be present and tuned in, I needed to address number 2 on this list...
2) Starting it at the wrong time
Be sure you’re aware of what’s going on in your life and if it’s feasible at the time. I gave up certain areas of being on my phone or computer, but the thing that kept me most tied to my phone was the fact that I was still selling a ton of things on facebook marketplace. We happened to decide to move (yes, that's right, we tried a digital detox right around the time we were planning to move our entire house) and with that we were getting rid of a ton of stuff. If anyone has ever sold things on marketplace it can be really time-consuming. I had multiple items on marketplace with multiple people writing to me for each item, so I was constantly glued to my phone. If I were to do a digital detox again I would pick a better time. You CANNOT be in the middle of a move, selling stuff and try to do a digital detox. I was probably on my phone MORE than I typically would have been. FAIL. It's almost comical to think about! :)
3) Forget the follow-through
We didn’t even finish! I wasn’t even going to write this post because in some ways many people will see it as a fail. (I guess it was!) Yet for us it meant in the future to really talk through what we both want over the long run with our connection to all things technology. So, it might be less extreme but it will be more of a long-term, lasting change. In our simplicity journey it's all about focusing on what matters most. Technology is not bad, but it needs to be used in a way to enhance relationships rather than strip them down.
4) Create rules for others
Ok, so I have a big pet peeve. Actually, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves in my entire marriage relationship. I see the bedroom as a sanctuary, meaning I allow no technology in the bedroom. (for myself, that is) It’s my place to unplug and unwind. Yet, my husband’s side of the bed is technology central and IT DRIVES ME INSANE. So what did I do? I made a rule for him…get rid of all your cords and don’t use your phone in the bedroom. See, it honestly was nice for the few nights it happened, but I’m realizing we both weren’t on board and I just can’t make rules for other people. I should know better...I'm a marriage therapist. My husband and I are on polar opposites with technology- he loves it and I hate it. So rather than making rules for other people if you're doing it as a family, sit down and have a discussion to be sure everyone is on the same page.
All right, everyone, there you have it. Our royal fail! Even though we made some mistakes, it taught us how we can put limits on technology moving forward. It taught us what to avoid and it also taught us what other "rules" to set to be successful. When we talk about what we want technology use to look like in our family, our goal will be to set guidelines that lead to more love and more genuine presence. Happy rooting, everyone!