Control your devices so they don’t control you!
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I think most of us would agree that overusing technology is bad for our personal – and interpersonal – health. It affects our relationships, our moods, and our productivity. It can even lead us away from God.
But many of us may not realize how far we have actually slid down that slippery slope. And we may not know how to change it once we have.
Enter Cool, Calm, and Connected by Arlene Pellicane. This is a phenomenal book to help you restore technology to its proper place and make sure it stays there. And it’s a book that I can confidently say about 99.99% of us in today’s digital world need to read.
The book is broken down into 5 habits that are simple to implement but result in a transformed relationship with technology.
Those 5 habits are:
H – Hold Down the Off Button
Moderate your screen time and be purposeful about having regular times in the day without your phone or other devices. Spend time in God’s Word, with family or friends, or doing something that will fill you up. You don’t need to check Facebook first thing in the morning or last thing at night, and you don’t need to keep up-to-date every hour. Don’t use your phone as a “digital pacifier.”
A – Always Put People First
People are more important than whatever is on your screen. Make it a habit to pivot away from your computer or device and look at people as they approach you or talk to you. When you are with people, be with them. “When you arrive home, don’t plug into screens, plug into people.”
B – Brush Daily: Live With a Clean Conscience
Every night, ask yourself, “Do I have a clean conscience before God? Have I done or posted anything online today that was evil, unkind, or wasteful?”
I – I Will Go Online With Purpose
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or other social media, whenever you pick up your phone or turn on your computer ask yourself, “What am I here to do?” Resist the urge to multitask, and instead approach your task with focus and purpose.
T – Take a Hike
Be intentional about spending time outside each day. Schedule time to be away from your phone and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. It’s important for your body, mind, and spirit. Make sure to teach your children to do the same.
How It Affected Me
This book was powerful. It showed me areas that I need to work on and convicted me in others that I didn’t realize I had a problem. It was highly-informative and even quite fascinating at times. But the best thing was that it didn’t leave me feeling ashamed or guilty, but rather empowered and motivated to change.
I was so affected by it, that I immediately wanted to change some of my deeply ingrained habits. After I finished reading and had had some time to reflect, I came up with a list of 6 rules that I decided to set over my screen time.
They are as follows:
6 Rules for My Screen Time
- I will not check Facebook or IG or emails first thing in the morning or last thing before bed.
- I will put my phone away during meal times and play times with my kids and husband.
- I will have two set times for Facebook/IG scrolling with a limit of 15 minutes each. All other time on social media will be with a specific work or blog-related purpose.
- I will only check my notifications during designated “breaks” that I will set for myself during the day.
- I will go outside at least 15 minutes every day. (I know, that’s not much, but we’re heading into winter, and I hate winter.)
- I will practice “the pivot,” lowering my device and turning to face whoever is speaking to me.
There are quite a few changes I could make after reading this book, but trying to change too much too soon leads to overwhelm and discouragement. So I’m sticking with these six goals for now. If you would like to make the same changes in your life, feel free to leave a note in the comments below. I would love to hear that other people are joining me in this quest to lead a healthier technological lifestyle.
This book is not very long at all – it’s only 134 pages (plus discussion questions), and the book itself is not that big. But every sentence on every page is powerful and purposeful, leaping off the page like an arrow straight into your heart. There is no fluff here! So it won’t take you long to read it, and it’s well worth the time you will spend.
I would really encourage you to get your hands on this book, whether that’s borrowing from the library, borrowing from a friend, or buying a copy of your own. Just get a hold of it and let it work its magic in your heart.
“Try not to focus on the negative habit you’re trying to shake. Instead, focus on the positive habit you’re trying to embrace.”
“Think what would happen in your marriage if you reached out to touch your spouse as many times as you reached out to touch your phone.”
“Is what we post from the privacy of our computers good enough to proclaim in public?”
“Try not to go online just to know more. Set out to go online to grow more.”
“Today’s nonstop multitasking actually wastes more time than it saves.”
“The enemy of your soul would love to keep you chasing notifications, posting comments, and using the bulk of your free time for entertainment.”
“Don’t approach your device casually or you will casually check it All. The. Time.”
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