Phone Peace: A Step-by-Step Guide to Digital Freedom [Episode 4]
Episode 4 of the Motherhood Grace Podcast
Hi Friend! It's Kate Markovitz, your host of Motherhood Grace the podcast and today we are going to discussion what I call Phone Peace or Digital Freedom.
I am in control of my device.
On episode 2, I shared some media messages I've seen or heard in my life. Many of these messages steamed from what I've seen in the media, which these days occurs A LOT on our devices.
You may have no idea HOW addicted to your device you actually are... I always think I'm doing pretty well and then if I force myself to keep my phone in a drawer for a day, I can feel myself itching to just pick it up and look! It's wild.
I came up with Phone Peace: A Step-by-Step Guide to Digital Freedom - settings for a purposeful relationship with your phone. It's a free PDF guide you can grab at motherhoodgrace.com/phonepeace.
In this episode, I'm basically going to walk you through the 5 steps that I wrote in Nov 2020. It's important to note the time because with technology, things are always changing and adapting... but the core principles of the 5 steps will stay the same.
So if you have the guide and you are in a position to do it while listening, you'll get a ton out of this episode. If you are listening first, it'll lay the foundation for completing the guide. There is NO right way to go through it, this is just an extra resource.
Remember: I am in control of my device.
The PDF opens with an intro and some background, which I'm going to glaze over for this episode and hop right into the 5 steps.
Step 1: Audit
First, you need the actual data, not the amount you THINK you spend on your phone or device. To do this, you are going to want to pull your screen time information.
In the guide, I walk you through the steps, and just in case you are on a walk or folding laundry, I'll talk through these so you can do them too.
Note this is for an iPhone because this is what I have. Unfortunately, I wish I had access to an Android, but we don't have any in our home.
Open Settings app.
Tap "Screen Time."
View your usage stats. Tap "See All Activity" for a breakdown.
Once you have your data, I want you to ask yourself these questions:
Is this more or less than you thought you used your devices?
What was the most shocking statistic?
How do you feel after looking at these stats?
Step 2: Mission
It sounds silly to have a "screen mission" but this can truly shape the rest of this process and why it's important to set this intention.
Here are three questions and examples:
WHY are you on your device?
WHY do you WANT to be on your device?
What is your TRUE PURPOSE in having your device?
Step 3: Notifications
First, I want to assure you that anything that comes in WILL ALL still be there when you look at your phone later. You do NOT need to see an email or comment the moment it comes in.
By opening that notification immediately, you essentially say, "You are more important that EVERYTHING else, including myself and people in front of me."
You do not need everything in real time. YOU are in charge or your schedule and YOU determine when you get back to the email, text, comment, etc. The urgency is something we've developed as a society.
Here are my Suggestions (but please go back to your mission and what matters most to you):
Turn off notifications for ALL apps except your calendar, GPS navigation, and phone/video call apps (i.e. FaceTime).
Note: If you turn off text notifications, the people in your life will learn to call you for important questions vs texting AND realize what is a true "emergency" is and what can be sent via a text for a response later.
Step 4: App Limits
This is actually my favorite feature. If you do not want to completely delete apps but want to limit their use (or perhaps if you have limited self-control!), this is a must-do.
There are several ways to set up limits: by individual app, by a group of apps, by time frame. Think about your mission and goal with screen time.
It may take a little time to look around so you can fully understand the limits on your phone.
At the time I'm recording this, I think Apple literally launched a "bedtime" feature... so remember that this will adapt over time.
Based on screen time data, what apps do you use the most?
Do any of these need to have an app limit?
Are you interested in a "downtime" phase for your usage?
Step 5: Boundaries
Steps 3 + 4 set digital boundaries around notifications and apps, but what about your ability to set other boundaries for your phone? I'll give you some examples.
These are some boundaries I have put in place:
I put my phone (and computer) on airplane mode (or Do Not Disturb if I need internet) if I really need to focus and do not want anyone pinging me.
I leave my phone plugged in downstairs every night and bought a digital clock for our bedroom. Downtime has helped me stick with this routine and put my phone away at a decent hour (at least 1 hour before bed).
I do not look at my phone until I've had time to myself in the morning - I pour my coffee, journal, read or just sit without the distraction for a bit before "signing on."
My husband and I try not to bring our phones into other homes or if we are out to eat, etc. If I do (sometimes I want to share photos or videos), I put on airplane or do not disturb.
Other boundary suggestions:
A "box" to keep phones/devices when inside the home or when company comes.
Delete social apps off phone completely and only access them via your computer/web browser.
Identify at least 2 healthy substitutes to picking up your phone - ie. 5 deep breaths, walking around the home/block/office, drinking a cup of water, etc.
Putting device in a "lockbox" for lengths of time.
Grab Phone Peace: A Step-by-Step Guide to Digital Freedom - settings for a purposeful relationship with your phone. It's a free PDF guide you can grab at motherhoodgrace.com/phonepeace.
And if you've enjoyed the affirmation, you can join my daily affirmation message by texting "PODCAST" to 412-775-3511. I'll send you a positive affirmation every day.