For a few reasons, I’ve decided to challenge myself to a “no screens November” next month--and instead of going off the grid quietly as I’d originally planned--decided to share this idea with my community of readers in case anyone else is also feeling a recent unease for the consuming nature of technology in their own life.
I thought, what better timing than the month before Christmas to reorient my heart to the present moment, time with family, and most importantly time in the Word in preparation for the celebration of Advent. I hope to complete this challenge every year with the goal of reseting old habits and becoming more intentional with how I spend my time.
I try to make a consistent effort in monitoring my use of technology, especially in the presence of my children; but lately, I’ve been feeling sucked into screens more than usual... picking up my phone every few minutes to check notifications, mindless scrolling on social media, too much online browsing and shopping, and spending the majority of my downtime staring at the television. Everyone has their own comfort level with technology-- and I have far exceeded my own.
In no way do I mean to suggest that anything is wrong with phones, or social media, or shopping, or television -- in moderation. But if I’m being honest, I’ve been letting screens interfere too much with my life lately, as well as my roles as both a mom and wife. They're taking away from my ability to soak in the present moments that are so fleeting with my babies. They're taking away from evenings with my husband when I choose to scroll or zone out to my shows on Netflix instead of interacting with him after the kids go to sleep. The constant temptation of screens distracts me from opening my Bible and engaging in thoughtful prayer throughout my days; and keeps me from enjoying other hobbies I always mean to get to, but never do.
It takes roughly 30 days to both make or break a habit, which is why I’ve chosen one whole month to complete this challenge.
In committing to any sort of lifestyle change such as this one, I have found that it's important to set clear boundaries and rules to set yourself up for success. I wanted to share the rules I’ve created for myself for the month of November, and I challenge anyone else who is reading this and feeling inspired to join me to make your own set of rules catered to your own targeted outcomes:
No social media, other than posting to my Etsy Instagram as I do routinely for advertising purposes.
No television shows. No Netflix/Hulu/etc. Nope, not even the Bachelorette. I’m a little nervous about this one because watching TV together is how my husband and I often like to end the day together after the kids are asleep. I guess we will be getting creative next month, which I’m actually looking forward to! I will be limiting myself to one movie each weekend as a little “vedge” time and because we do love projecting movies in our backyard this time of year when the weather gets cooler.
No online shopping (exception: buying Christmas gifts for people)
Using my computer only for email, things related to running my Etsy shop, and working on writing assignments.
I do plan to continue using screens for basic communication purposes such as responding to texts, checking emails, video-chatting with family members here and there, and the few exceptions to the rules I listed above. Just like any challenge--whether it be a diet or another significant lifestyle change-- it is important to be realistic with the expectations you give yourself.
To fill the time I’d normally spend on screens, I plan to catch up on some reading to meet my 2021 reading goal, studying Scripture and praying more intentionally each day, working on Etsy orders, writing, baking with my son, and making the effort to be more present in all areas of my life.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly dreading this challenge -- but I’m also really excited to reshape the ways I spend my time as the holiday season approaches. I know my heart is not where I want it right now, and I’m excited to redirect it to better places.
Who’s with me?!