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Single Tasking

This summer there have been a lot of things that I've been wrestling with as a mother in the "information age." Modern technology is everywhere, in the palms of ours hands, constantly tempting us to interact with it. While there are serious pros to how much easier our lives have gotten because of it, there are the obvious complications that follow. "Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people." - Richard Foster "A Celebration of Discipline"

We went on a family hike last weekend, got to the top of the mountain and there was a group of teenagers sitting on some rocks, behind them the most incredible view. Stunning, really. They were on their phones. Our kids are looking up at us, are they constantly seeing us phone-in-hand? It's something that I've been haunted by, that we would be so distracted by computers, iPads, phones, whatever... that we'll miss it. This one life. I'm tempted to get a flip phone. In order to curb excess interactions with my phone I have taken IG off and have to physically download it every time I want to use it, this may not be necessary for you but it is for me. I also try and keep my phone playing music most of the day so I'm less likely to use it. Do you have any phone rules? Always interested to hear!

For years we've glorified multi-tasking, put it up on a pedestal. I'm here to say single tasking is my new multi tasking. I'm purposefully choosing to focus on just doing one thing at a time, ie talking to a friend, playing with the girls, just riding in the passenger seat, sitting on the front porch listening to the sounds of the earth. Sam and I watched the Secret Life of Walter Mitty and we both had to check each other from peeking at our phones, it's hard. I did actually watch the movie though and loved it. It's a powerful story and I highly recommend it. I watched a movie, no laptop or phone involved. What an accomplishment (and how sad is that?!).

Do you think there will be a revolt? A rise to stand up against the distractions? A throw back to simpler times where people gathered around tables and ate (no phones allowed), where they read books at night instead of surfing? It's something I think about. I think about how to proceed as the girls get older, what screen time is allowed and what isn't. I also check myself in what I'm releasing to the wild and what I want to get back, what I'm filling and nurturing myself with. BTW I'm on the lookout for inspiring blogs.

Also, a little humor...



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17 comments :

  1. I so agree with you... it really is hard to be truly present in the moment and to let go of our distractions. Especially with so many of us working online, the line between at-work and not-at-work becomes blurred. I've seen people respond in so many different ways; some people take 2 days a week off of social media and some spend the first 30 minutes of every day in their Bible. I personally started carrying my Bible in my purse and it's been so helpful! Instead of checking my phone while waiting somewhere, I read a few pages of Scripture. It's been so refreshing. I actually wrote a post about it on my blog, thatsprettyace.com, if you're interested in reading! I've loved following along with your story, Lesley. Thanks for sharing your heart! xoxo, Brittany K.

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    1. those are wonderful tips brittany! thanks so much for sharing and i look forward to checking out your blog. :)

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  2. Love, love, love this post! When we moved back in December we didn't have internet or cable for weeks and it was rough to start out with. I have always been one to have the TV on in the background kind of watching it as I do other things. However as time went on it got easier and I learned what a blessing it was to be able to really focus on what task you were doing and not be distracted by something that doesn't mater. Unfortunately I am somewhat back to my old ways now, maybe it's time for another break...

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    1. at one point in my life i constantly had the tv on (typically the food network) and now i never do. i have no idea how it happened but the older i get, the more i like quiet. ;)

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  3. I definitely have a 'dumb' phone. And it's nice to be free of being so available. However, I still manage to spend too much time on my iPad and laptop. It's not a big deal when we're away from home, but those days when we are just hanging out, I sometimes miss the little moments. I need to get better at that!

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    1. wow, i'm amazed that you've held out. that's like a serious win. you're doing better than most of us sister!

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  4. This post inspired me to delete Pinterest, FB and Instagram from my phone! This morning when I was up at 5 nursing Killian, I read the Bible (app version) instead of catching up on social media. Felt good! Thank you for sharing your heart and saying what we've all been thinking!

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    1. that is beyond encouraging to me, friend!

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  5. I'm reading this at work on one computer screen while I have work up on another. My phone is right next to me while my radio is playing. I hate this. I hate that I'm tied to all of it. That I check my phone before I have brushed my teeth in the morning. That I play on it before I fall asleep at night. It's not healthy and it's just not right. While I agree that there are benefits to the technology, we lose sight of what's important because instead of burying our heads in books, we're burying them in our phones. I say we lead this revolt. Hide the phones. Bury the ipads. Get outside. Talk to our children. Live free. Cut the proverbial cord. Amen.

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  6. My husband and I both use TMobile pay-as-you-go plans for our phones (which are smartphones, btw)-- we pay for minutes to text and talk, but not for a data plan. What started as a way to save some $$ (we're not big cell phone people) ended up providing a second benefit-- unless we're in a wifi hotspot (at home, at work for me), we don't have internet access on our phones. This means that when we're at the park, at the beach, in line at the grocery store, stuck in traffic, we're present and in the moment and focusing on life right in front of us. I think our two daughters benefit hugely from this, first of all because this makes it a lot easier to focus attention on them without distractions, and secondly because being constantly "connected" isn't something I want them to grow up thinking is essential to human life. This self-imposed limit is my attempt at some balance and it is definitely something that is working for us.

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    1. this is SUCH a great tip! thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. I had a flip phone up until about 6 months ago and loved it for this reason, I wasn't on it all of the time. But I love the features of my smart phone, so I will never go back. I now just have to have more willpower to stay off it. But I think this is good, I need to become better at self control. It is an important skill I am teaching my 3 year old son, so I try to lead by example rather than just taking the temptation totally away.

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  8. One tip, I turn off my data when I am not using it so I don't get constant notifications and I have to make a conscious effort to turn it back on to check anything. This helps me think before I act....Don't get me wrong, it's tough. Your post is exactly what I have been thinking about too and I agree with everything you are saying. Multitasking is not as good for us as we think.

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  9. I am not great with margins (full honesty!) but I try to put my phone down at night. Like after 7pm or so. I'm a better listener to my husband. I also keep the apps on my phone minimal. And am trying to limit IG photos to when I'm ready to engage and respond to people. Otherwise I find it overwhelming!

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