We are social media marketers, and as such, it seems like our laptops or cell phones are never too far away. One of our biggest struggles is making sure that the little “pings” that are forever going off don’t create a knee jerk reaction to check it immediately, at the cost of our relationships and our parenting.
I recently went on a trip with a friend and I was supposed to be “off the clock” but my phone went off over and over again with notifications and I took every chance I got to check them because Lawd forbid someone say something defaming one of my clients and I don’t catch it right away. I should have planned better. It was a wonderful trip, but I could have been even more at peace.
I found myself disengaged in our conversation, just waiting for the proper exit to go check my phone. I’m missing out on the good stuff because I am forever attached to this thing, and I sort of hate it. But… I LOVE my job.
To do better, and come up with some good solutions, I have decided to address some hard, and somewhat embarrassing truths.
Here goes nothing.
You’re being a jerk. Put your phone down. Close your laptop.
That message will be there when your little girl is finished with her agonizingly long story about who likes who and who was rude to who in Mrs. Davis’s 4th grade class.
Those emails will be there when you get back from that amazing weekend with your most treasured friend. And the clients understand. Or they won’t… but ultimately, those people who don’t will start to weed themselves out of your life if they can’t be patient over the weekend, and that’s really a win-win for everyone involved.
Your teenage son is being exposed to grown-up things at school at a very rapid rate, and if you don’t make sure you ask him about those things and make it’s emphatically clear that he can talk to you about anything… you’ll lose him long before some beautiful blue-eyed girl steals his heart and takes him away. Close your laptop and create genuine conversation with him. He’s not little anymore and he’s only going to be “medium” for such a short and precious time.
You used to make dinner for your family every night. It’s been a couple years since they could count on you to have a good meal done when Daddy got home. There will always be “one more thing to do” before you quit for the day. Pick it up tomorrow. The world will go on. Remember when you used to sit around the table and have dinner? That was nice. Do that again.
… Enough to set digital boundaries so precious time doesn’t slip right through your fingers. Even if it creating killer content is your job.
… Enough to set specific working hours and fiercely attack that to-do list during those hours alone so that you do not feel guilty when it’s time to clock off.
… Enough to clock off when it’s time to clock off.
… Enough to set an example for your children that they do not need to be dependent on their devices too.
… Enough that you put in the work it takes to break your bad digital habits, so you have the space to love the people in your life so darn hard.