This summer, I have been home with my kids, working on things for the new studio. Every time I would walk by my computer I would find myself checking my email, checking facebook, looking at blog stats, et cetera. My kids would be calling me and I would hear myself respond, “Just a minute!” I wouldn’t even know what they were asking. If the light started blinking on my phone I would have to see what message I had received. Somehow I justified this for a good period of time thinking I had to respond immediately to everything in my inbox.
A few things happened that made me realize how obsessive I had become. First, we had a friend over. Every few minutes a sound would chime showing a text had come on his phone. Our conversation was interrupted each time so he could check his texts. I love this person very much, but felt like our conversation was not as important as the electronic one he was having. He was certainly not being present and I felt disappointed and sad at the lack of personal interaction that day. It made me think how my children must feel trying to talk to me as I send a text or check my email. Then, I started realizing that my new job as a yoga teacher and school owner did not have to interfere with my family time. Since I work for myself, I felt like I always needed to be working. Why not treat it like an office situation and give myself working hours? I decided I needed a plan for how to work more efficiently instead of having to sit at the desk all day long. Here is my new plan– work only while kids aren’t home and computer off from 4-8pm.
My new experiment is an effort to be more mindful of my time, to spend quality time with my family, and to remind me that I don’t need to be connected every moment of every day. Why not try this with your computer or television? You never know what might happen?
For those of you with children, there was an article in the NY Times about language development in children. They found children today are developmentally delayed in their language due to texting and screen time. They found parents are using far fewer words to speak with their children because they are so busy texting and typing. This lack of interaction drastically reduced the vocabulary development in the children they studied. The statistics frightened me as an educator and parent. So… in an effort to be more mindful, put the phone down, mute the alert sounds, turn off the computer and enjoy the people that surround you.