This is a 12-part series and you can read them in order:
Hands Free is hard.
I said it out loud.
No joke. I had to actually SCHEDULE time to remind myself to put my phone down, but my daily phone usage went from 6 hours a day to 4 hours a day. That’s crazy good for someone who is a social media strategist by day! I’m sure I could get better, but I’m really happy with these results in just four weeks.
Let’s move on and see what was my next assignments.
Chapter 2: Make Purposeful Connection
I am all about connection. In fact, I wrote an article about stop networking and start connecting in 2019. I think too many of us are in transactional relationships and successful individuals will always create meaningful and purposeful connections in order to grow themselves.
I was all into Chapter 2, especially when Stafford said this:
“Whether I chose to go Hands Free for ten minutes or two hours, a profoundly transforming reaction occurred every single time.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
You see, I am going to admit something very personal to you. Prior to even reading this chapter, the week before my sweet boyfriend and I were headed to breakfast. We got in the car, I opted to drive, and he was on his device most of the ride there. He never even heard me talking to him. I was hurt. And you know what – it wasn’t even his fault because, I never told him I was trying to be hands free to better my life, our time, my relationships, and my moments. He was doing what he has always done and that was just not fair.
The writer, too, had not told her family. For some reason, I chose to have this secret life about being hands free. But once she did, her family actually wanted to help her be successful
Exercise 1: Go Public
Start telling the important people in your life that you’re making a change and don’t be afraid to ask them for help. That might look like:
- Asking children to remind you to put your phone away in the car. They love to remind you of things!
- Asking your significant other to be media-free WITH you at mealtimes so you can connect and chat as a family.
- Remind others at events to put their phones on silent so you can participate fully in the activity without distractions.
This is really hard in such a digitally distracted world, but when you’re sitting around a fire, playing card games (like Kings in the Corner), laughing and looking into each other’s faces – – devices don’t even come up in your mind. I know because what I just described is what a game night looks like for me now.
Exercise 2: Start the Conversation
“Zoning out in front of a screen…is a strong temptation.” – Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama
How many of you do this today? I mean – get real with yourself. I couldn’t even watch a movie the other day because I had my phone in my hand and the notifications were going off. At one point, the 11-year-old in the house said, “Don’t take your eyes off the show.” That woke me up.
Exercise 3: Turn Drive Time into Connection Time
Forget about the “you’re driving and you don’t know how you got there” thoughts. Nope – instead how about this? When was the last time you actually TALKED to your children in the car? At first, they might not like talking, but maybe try to spawn a new conversation with these ideas:
- Tell a good story. Little kids love to hear silly stories and you can engage them in your travels by making things wild, crazy, colorful, and magical.
- Hypothetical questions. Older kids still have a lot of imagination in them. What would they do with a hundred dollars at Target? If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? What is one of the coolest things you would invent if you could do it?
- Share a memory. What were you like at their age? What is some trouble you go into? What was really cool when you were little? (My kids still can’t believe my dad paid hundreds and hundreds of dollar for a VCR. Ha!)
- Get into music. What’s your child’s favorite song? Play it! Have a dance party in your seat. Let them sing loudly!
All of these are pretty simple concepts, but I promise they are worth the time and action. I will have Part 3 of this 12-part writing series coming up in a few weeks for March. Now – go change your day with a few tweaks and modifications! Let’s hear how it goes!