Technology brings so much to our lives — information, entertainment, security and comfort in our homes. But it’s not hard to overdose on tech time.
Sometimes you need to unplug and connect with the great big world beyond the screen. To help your household enjoy some time without electronics on a regular basis, consider establishing a tech-free zone in your home. Here’s how:
Do you have a place at home to dedicate as a technology oasis? It could be a room that currently serves another purpose, such as your living room, bedroom or kitchen. For example, if you use your kitchen for meal and homework time, establish a screen-free zone there (unless you need to make exceptions for internet research for schoolwork). If you have an extra room, such as a sun porch or basement recreation area, even better.
Set guidelines for your tech-free zone. Maybe you decide it’s OK to listen to music, as long as you push play before you enter and don’t spend time searching and socializing on Spotify instead of focusing on other activities. Maybe you silence phones during your tech-free time, or leave them in another room within earshot, where you can answer if someone calls but aren’t tempted to check apps while you’re doing other activities.
Another way to help limit tech time is by establishing household rules about electronics-free activities — such as mealtimes or an hour or two before bed — or setting aside a day each week to unplug entirely. The Sabbath Manifesto promotes a National Day of Unplugging to help people slow down and take a timeout from technology.
Decide what kind of activities you want to do when you take your screen sabbaticals. The options are endless, including cards and board games, reading, yoga, scrapbooking or crafts, art, writing, music and so on.
Whether you feel like knitting, meditating or journaling, make your tech-free zone a place to connect with the present, pursue personal or creative projects or just enjoy time with family.
If you have a dedicated electronics oasis, consider decorating the space in such a way that facilitates feelings of creativity and relaxation.
Hang a fun sign declaring the area a tech-free zone and create a charging station to deposit phones before entering. If you plan to spend your screen breaks reading the classics, set up a comfy chair with a throw blanket.
If you want to use the space to meditate, paint the walls a relaxing color. Set up a big table and chairs if games or crafting is your main focus. And remove all TVs, computers and other electronic devices, of course!