The Harm of Living a Distracted Life

It happens. I know it happens. You know it happens.

I was so busy scrolling on my phone that I was only half-listening to the child who had come up to ask me a question.

"Huh?" I asked. Still not giving her my full attention.

"You don't listen to me when you are on your phone," she responded discouraged.

Whether I'm scrolling Instagram or sending a friend a text, I am prone to spend more time than needed on my phone. I can get lost in my screen.

There is a danger that comes from this being commonplace and typical though.

The problem I've found is that when I don't give my kids my full attention regularly they eventually stop coming to talk or ask for help.

She said, "I knew you weren't going to listen because you were on your phone."

A similar situation could happen reading a book, listening to a podcast, working on the computer, or even doing a craft or some kind of project.

We are only giving our kids a fraction of our attention.

Now, I'm not advocating for a life revolving around our children. I think it is appropriate and good to have hobbies or work to do and our kids need to understand that mommy is busy right now.

I'm more speaking about living distracted in everyday life, not set aside times that you are doing other things. Does that make sense? I hope so. There should be a balance when mommy is not busy and is available to her children.

When our kids are constantly seeing us preoccupied with other things they may stop engaging.

And I'm sure that you are with me in that I want to have a connected and thriving relationship with my kids. Well, I don't achieve that when I'm living a distracted life.

So how can we combat this way of distracted living? How can we be more available and connected with our kids? I have some ideas!

Just a little side note first, most of these tips have to do with our phones. This is because, I believe, in our current culture, our phones are the top things distracting us from engaging with the people around us.

1. Use timers when starting projects or work or are going to be unavailable.

I use timers to help keep me accountable to my time and so my kids know when I'm free again when working on a project of some kind.

For example, as I'm sitting down at the computer right now, I have a timer going. My kids are either resting or reading or playing quietly while I am writing this. When the timer goes off, I stop what I'm doing and they know quiet hour is over.

This won't work for every situation, but it can be a helpful tool.

2. Have set times when you put your phone away.

I used to challenge myself to not be on my phone from 9 am (when our homeschool started) until after dinner. This gave me time to use my phone in the morning and evening, but during the day I didn't get on social media or use my phone for other purposes besides calling or texting. This was extremely challenging in the beginning but got easier and I noticed myself reaching for my phone less.

Each weekend I take a social media break to spend more time with my family and resting. This is just another example of taking time away to keep yourself untethered to your phone and/or social media.

3. Turn off certain notifications on your phone.

This is a way that will allow you to access social media or other apps on your own timetable. Turn off those constant notifications. Then have set times that you check-in and access those apps.

4. Uninstall apps from your phone.

Some ladies have found that it is just simpler for them to uninstall certain apps from their phone and only access them from their computers.

5. Look people in their eyes.

This is super simple. If someone is talking to you, give them your full attention and look in their eyes. This will take the distractedness out of the question because your eyes are on them, and therefore, so is your focus.

I do this with my kids all the time when they aren't listening to me. I call out, "You need to look at me so I know you are listening."

It truly is remarkable how much is lost when we don't give our full focus to the people surrounding us. I don't want that though. For you or for me.

Let's vow to live a less distracted life and connect and engage in new ways with the people around us each day.

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