In today's fast-paced world, an endless parade of technology and entertainment choices compete for family closeness. Do you ever find it challenging to break away from your smartphone or computer and make time for true connection in your relationships? Do you spend more time with your computer than your spouse? Does your teen seem more interested in his X-box than family time?
Imagine this scenario:
A man wakes up and turns on his iPad to check the latest news before work. He checks his email and Facebook before heading out the door for his morning commute. In the car, he tunes into Spotify, listening to a podcast or his favorite band while making a couple of phone calls before he's on the clock. At work, he sits in front of his computer for most of the day, and the rest of the day he's on the phone with clients. Music on the way home, maybe the family watches a Netflix movie together. Settling into bed with his Kindle, he reads on a screen until he falls asleep.
How to Create Connection and Work-Life Balance
Maybe you're more disciplined in your life around technology. However, as you can see, there's not much time or opportunity in the above lifestyle for real connection is there? Not much time for good old-fashioned conversation with your partner and children. And this scenario isn't that far off from what many of us face every day.
To create and sustain a happy and meaningful life with thriving relationships, we have to make an effort to balance the technological world with our relationships, placing more value on meaningful connections with our loved ones than checking our Facebook feed or playing Fantasy Football.
Finding a work-life-tech balance and carving time with our family isn't always easy, but it's possible with intentionality. Setting intentions daily to design our day according to our values is one helpful practice. Being deliberate about our screen time rather than automatically gravitating toward technology to fill our time will assist in achieving a balance. And it doesn't mean we have to eliminate technology from our lives, because it's not only fun and entertaining but also useful and necessary. With intentionality, mindfulness, and conscious awareness, we can find ways to balance the enjoyment of technology with making our important relationships a priority.
Family empowerment is about strengthening the connections that keep our relationships healthy and thriving.
Related reading: "How to Handle Distracting Technology at Home"
Try these techno-love balance tips to strengthen your connections with those you love:
If your children play video games frequently, make sure that at least one night a week you play cards or board games or go for a walk together instead. And occasionally play a video game with them, too. You'll be surprised at how much fun you can all have—and you'll have time to actually talk, too!
If you're going to stream a movie or watch a DVD with your partner, choose one together that you're both excited to see, and make it special: popcorn, dim lights, snuggling, the works.
Use technology to create closeness rather than separation. Instead of each family member spending time on their own devices in separate rooms, bring everyone together to play a video game or watch a movie all family members can enjoy.
Use your phone to capture a picture of a special moment together or something memorable. Share pictures by posting them on Snapchat or email pictures to a family member.
Turn off your cell phone during dinner, and make it a house rule to never answer the phone during this valuable time for connection.
Turn off all technology (cell phone, computer, television, Xbox—everything!) one evening weekly, and take that time to relax together uninterrupted.
If you're checking your email or social media sites in the evening while your partner or family is around, be conscious of limiting the time, and let them know you'll shut it down in a few minutes to be with them. Then do it!
How do you manage technology so you have a good balance in your life and have regular, quality time with those you love? Take a look at this area of your family life and see if you need a major overhaul or just some fine-tuning in the Techno-Love Balance. You'll be glad you did!
Related reading: "Teens and Screens: Does Your Child Have a Screen Addiction?"
For a personalized plan from a seasoned parent coach, reach out to Heartmanity. A set of new skills and a fresh perspective can help you go from only surviving to thriving in your relationship and family!