Episode 010: Tech Boundaries
Maybe you find yourself spending too much time on social media or your phone in general. And that’s how you connect with people, but it also feels like you aren’t present in “real life.” Sometimes it brings joy and entertainment, and other times it brings guilt or shame. If you’re looking for ways to take control of your digital life, then this episode is for you!
In this episode, Diana shares how she’s placed boundaries around social media and overall phone usage while still recognizing that it’s a useful tool in her life.
We’ll also discuss:
- How to not be distracted by your phone all day long
- Social media boundaries and reset
- Using social media algorithms to your advantage
What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?
- 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
- How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
- Guest interviews
- Deep dives on specific topics
Find Diana Rene on social media:
Episode 010: Tech Boundaries
[00:00:00] Diana Rene
You're listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. A podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Renee, and in 2017, I had my second daughter, and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home. Okay, not literally. But I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next ten months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings, and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system, and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks, and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.
Today, we're gonna talk about something that I know I have struggled with for years and years and years. And I still, to this day, struggle with it, but I have found different ways to balance. I think everyone in the world struggles with this, to some extent, some more than others. But what we're gonna talk about is basically our digital usage, especially social media, but just digital usage overall, and primarily our phones, because I know that prior to my, my phone being such a big part of my life, my laptop was kind of like the thing that I always would pick up after work.
And I would like. Scroll social media on my laptop. And then, as smartphones got smarter and smarter and smarter and basically turned into these like little computers, I found that it was my phone, that I was kind of turning to more, and I was picking that up more, and I was focusing on that more. And then, as I became a mom, there was this really interesting thing that happened.
I was on my phone more than ever before, but it was also like the way that I felt connected to people because I was a stay-at-home mom and I felt really isolated in my home all day versus like, Before, when I was working in an office, and I didn't have a tiny human to, to take care of all day long and I was sleeping at night, and I was talking to other people my age, not just to a tiny human who just would stare at me.
Right. So there was like all these things kind of coming into play that I found really interesting. And I also just didn't really know if it was an issue and if it was an issue, like how to handle it or what I needed to do to do differently, like, I just think there's so much confusion and guilt and shame when it comes to how much we are on our phones and how so much of it is necessary in our world today.
Especially if you are working from home or, like I was just saying, if you're a stay-at-home mom and you feel isolated, there are so many ways that we can feel connected with this little thing that we can hold in our hand, but there's also a way that it can disconnect us from the present and disconnect us from being with our family and enjoying what we're doing in whatever present moment.
And so, like I said, this is something I still struggle with, and I go back and forth and like, I'll feel really guilty one day. And then the next day, I don't feel as guilty because I see the, I see like the good in it. And I see like the necessity in it. And then I kind of like go back and forth and, and the pendulum kind of swings.
So if that makes sense to you, stick around because we are gonna talk about some of the things that I have found have helped me in this journey of like, letting my phone be a, a great tool in my life in a way to feel connected and, um, contributing to my purpose in this world without letting it become like this huge hindrance and this thing that's getting in the way of what I ultimately really want.
And I ultimately want to be present, right? Whether that is with my family or with whatever I'm doing in the moment. I think it's so easy to distract ourselves if there's like a thousand different ways to do it. But it's hard for me even to sometimes sit down and like watch a movie because I like, I feel that pull of that distraction and so, one of the things. The first thing I wanna talk about is to turn off all notifications. And this was something that I first did probably like three years ago, and it was hard at first, but it also was really, really helpful, and it made a big impact. And I don't mean only on our social media apps. I mean, turning off all notifications on every app on our phone, including our text messages, which was probably the hardest one for me, but also probably, uh, the biggest impact. So, when I say turn off all notifications. I mean, I would go into my phone into the settings, and I would go into notifications, and I would literally just turn every single app off.
The only notification I would allow would be a phone call or a FaceTime, um, which I PR. I mean, I probably could have gotten rid of FaceTime also because I don't have to have that distraction because here's the thing, you guys, we ha we already. 10,000 things, trying to grab our attention all day long. And what I found was that when I set a time for me to check in it, it was on my terms.
Like I got to decide, okay. At nap time, that's when I'm gonna check my phone, and I'm gonna lay in my bed, and I'm gonna relax, and I'm gonna check anyone who sent me text messages and talk to them. I'm going to check my email. I'm going to check Instagram. I'm gonna check whatever. Right. But like I knew that at that time was when I was going to just relax and check-in. And it changed my relationship with my phone because it wasn't like people had access to me or companies or businesses or bad news or anything with media had access to me whenever they wanted to because I was getting these constant notifications. Right. So when we have our notifications turned on, we are giving the power to everyone around us, on our attention.
And when we turn off those notifications, and we set that boundary for ourselves, then we are giving ourselves the power to check in when we choose to. Right. And I think that having that boundary is probably most important part of doing this. If you're gonna turn off your notifications, having set times throughout the day or evening that you are going to check in makes it feel a little bit easier because you know that you, you like, you're not gonna like, just never check your phone.
Uh, but you are going to have these times of the day that you can check in when needed. Now obviously, if you have situations where you might need to be getting a hold of, then prepare for that. Right? So like, I will never turn my ringer off completely in case there's an emergency, like in case anybody needs to get a hold of me from my family or extended family, then the ringer stays on.
And I don't, I do not turn off notifications for phone calls. Now, like even two years ago, it was harder, but now you can do amazing things with all of the different modes. If you have an iPhone, like you can set up sleep mode, and you can set up different, do not disturbs where only certain people can call you.
So I will do that sometimes. Like I will add my husband's work phone. I will add my in-law's cell phones, my mom's cell phone, my sibling's cell phone. And like my kids' school numbers that they could call me from. So I will sometimes set up a do not disturb for like, if I have a really important thing that I need to work on, then I can do that.
And I know that if they need to get a hold of me, they can. But, but typically I just don't turn off any notifications to phone calls, but I do turn off notifications to text messages still to this day because that way I am someone who I could be like reading and like really enjoying my book. But if I get a text, I'm gonna pick it up, and I'm gonna look at it, and I'm gonna get sidetracked, and then I'm gonna reply to the text, and then I'm gonna be like, oh, like my memory's just gonna go straight to opening Instagram and straight to opening Facebook and straight to opening TikTok.
And next thing I know, I've been like scrolling social media for an hour when I was really enjoying my book, and I should have spent my time sitting there reading my book. And if the notifications are off, then I don't know that somebody's texting me, and I'm not like triggered into picking up my phone and kind of going down that rabbit hole of distraction.
So this is something that has been really, really helpful. Um, we do. We actually did get a home phone recently also just because that way, like when I was like really having a hard time with my phone being a distraction. That way I could turn my phone off completely in my kid's school and like my husband's work and all my family members, like my mom and in-laws and everyone like that, knows my home phone.
So like, if they call my cell phone and it's off, they know they can call, call my home phone if there's an emergency. But that's just kind of like an added layer if you really struggle with being able to check your phone and you need to be able to just turn it off for a couple hours, if you have a home phone in your home, obviously, then that can be a great way to do it also.
So another thing that I like to do typically once a quarter. So like once every three months is to do some type of social media reset. And when I do that, I do it anywhere from three to seven days. And it just kind of depends on how much I need it at that current point. Sometimes it's just three days and I'm good to go.
Other times I'm like, you know what? I need a full week reset. And so I'll do it. And what I mean by a reset is I delete all social media off my phone. Um, I don't ever check social media on my laptop, but if that's something that you do, then there's, then there's certain like apps you can install on your computer to not allow you to log in, but I just delete everything off my phone, all Instagram and TikTok and Facebook and any social media that I use and those tend to be the main three, and I delete. For however long I need to, for three days, for seven days, I typically give myself the day ahead of time. That way, I know. So like, if I'm not really struggling with social media res you know, at that point, and I'm not like checking it all the time and I feel like I have pretty good boundaries set up with it, then I'll just do three days.
And I know ahead of time that, okay, I'm gonna be off for three days. And I'll, um, you know, I run a business on, and my main platform is Instagram. And also TikTok, and so I will post on there, and I'll just say, Hey, I'm taking a break, just so people know. But other than that, I just delete it. And I'm off of 'em for three to seven days.
And what this does is it just allows me to learn to live like in the real world again, without social media. And it helps me to not pick up my phone constantly. I find, I read a ton more during these resets. Like I will read through so many books in a one-week period if I don't have the distraction of social media.
And so I require this of myself once a quarter like I said, because I think it's just really important. And I think it helps me never get too far sucked into social media. And, um, I just know it's a requirement. And so sometimes I'm annoyed that I have to do it. Cause I don't really want to. Other times I'm like, heck yeah, I'm so excited.
Can I start it now? Um, and so it doesn't, you know, it goes up and, and down. But this has been truly, truly, truly helpful in just my overall mental health. Um, like I can feel in my body, I can feel in my body when I am on social media too much. And when I am putting all this stuff into my brain, there was a book I read, and I believe it was called to hell with the hustle by Jefferson Bethke.
And I'm gonna botch this, this statistic. But from what I remember him saying, I believe it was someone, uh, now, like who lives in present day, consumes more information in like a 24 hour time period than someone in like the 15 hundreds did in their entire life. Because think about it, like they didn't have TV, they didn't even have radio.
They didn't have like this constant. Like if, if you had to tell somebody something and you didn't live with them, you had to like, figure out a way to send them a, I don't know, what did they use then? Telegrams? Probably not even that then. Right? Like you just, you, there wasn't like constant information even daily or weekly or monthly.
And now it's like every second we are being bombarded with information and content and things that like are vying for our attention. And, and so it's just, I don't think we were built for this. I don't think that our brains and our minds and our nervous systems were built for this much consumption of information.
So the social media reset is just something that is mandatory. And I truly believe if you start doing this also, it'll help you to have that healthy boundary with social media and just help you to just take a step back every now and then.
The last thing I like to trick the algorithm. And what I mean by that is we are constantly, I mean, like I just said, we're always getting all this information, but also, especially in the last few years, I don't have to tell you that we are constantly getting bad news.
Right. Like, and not just like, kind of bad news, but world-changing bad news constantly is what it feels like. And so, um, I don't know about you, but I can go down some rabbit holes, especially on TikTok. Um, and if something big has happened recently in, in the news and it's something bad, what's an example like.
Anytime there is, um, a mass shooting or when Russia first in invaded Ukraine, like these, are big things, right? And so like I would go down rabbit hole and I would like watch these videos to, to learn and to see what's happening. And, um, because I'm interested in it and I'm invested in it, and I wanna see what's going on, but the algorithm now is like sending that to me constantly, and two days later, that's still everything I'm getting, and it's just really tough too, in to consume that. Right. And so if you're at that point, or if your algorithm is so focused on sending you like bad news because that's what you have engaged with in the past, then start tricking the algorithm, go to feel good accounts. Go to accounts that you really like, go to accounts that make you happy and smile that don't like, get your heart racing angry, but go to the accounts that you want to see more of because they make you happy or feel light or, or anything, and start engaging with those accounts. Leave comments, watch the entire video.
Even like I will sometimes even find an account. I really like on TikTok, and I will like pick one of their videos, and I will like let it replay over and over and over for 10 minutes while I go and do something because that's showing the algorithm that I want more of that I want more of the happy I want more of the light.
And then next thing I know, after I do that for a day or two. The algorithm is back to like a more feel-good, funny, ha lighthearted. And I'm not saying that you should never consume and learn about the stuff that's happening in our world. I just mean when you need a break and you need to kind of get the algorithm a little bit back on track and not be so doom and gloom for you constantly. That's when I kind of employ this, like tricking the algorithm method.
So I hope these are helpful for you. Like I said, this is something I still struggle with, and I probably will struggle with it for my entire life. Um, especially having a business that relies so heavily on social media and being on my phone.
But I think for anyone, this is something that we will always struggle with because technology is just going to keep, uh, like moving forward more and more and more. And so, it's going to become even more prevalent. And I just think that these are three small things that I do that kind of help keep me in check and help me keep somewhat of a healthy relationship or a healthier relationship, um, with my phone and just technology slash social media use. I hope this is helpful. Send me a DM on Instagram. I'd love to hear if this is something that, or if any of these things are, things that you're going to try.
Thanks for hanging out and listening to The Decluttered Mom Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories, and if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the dot decluttered dot mom and send me a DM to say hi.
I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.