UnPlug?

Unplug Strategies: time, focus, and app limit; family, off, and PLN time

Unplug! Unplug? Today many are concerned with the amount of time spent plugged in, detached from the “real world.” Yet, so many of us connect for “real” reasons and with “real” people. So, how do we contain this thing, this “unplugging?” I have a few strategies that guide my time.

time limit

One strategy is to set a time limit for checking all the Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus social media type posts. Set a time limit, and stick to it. If anyone needs you, you’ll have a notification ready during this time. Chances are, you won’t miss anything, and will still connect with the people and ideas important to you.

focus limit

Decide on your focus for your plugged in time. I’m currently working on some ideas about homework; I already have a ton of resources, but have specific topics like goals, types of homework, family tips, current research. I’ll focus on one or two of those, and ignore all the other distractions. Focus the time online for a purpose.

app limit

Choose an app or two on which to focus– Just check your email today. Or just check a Twitter list to which you’ve subscribed. Be picky. Perhaps just check “notifications” only. Let yourself be the one in control rather than the fear you will “miss something” or submit to check/answer every notification. After all, we don’t attend every community event, practice, meeting– be as selective with the online communities.

Family Time

Work already probably consumes much of your time. Be sure to schedule and note all the things and events important to your family. Have a “family calendar” [online or off]. Make sure that time is unplugged. “Be here now” is important to model for the family.

Already, these unplugged strategies have limited the online obsessions, so think about a time for powering off and doing something for yourself or with your family without an online interruption. Pick up a hobby: rock climbing, painting, hiking, reading. And turn off your device. In the classroom, as a teacher, I’d let my phone buzz and chime in the first class period. Then, without answering or responding, I’d turn my phone off as a model for my students. My students would be aghast, and I’d say, “If it’s a real emergency, they’ll call the office.” Downtime or Off Time also develops a habit — of NOT constantly checking for notifications. So consider the times you can actually “power off.”

PLN Time

As noted in the introduction, our online time includes valuable time with the people and ideas important to us. Many of us have developed friendships and collaborations with people we’ve never met in person. One way to focus our online time is to schedule your PLN time. Your “personal learning network” is like a neighborhood you visit. Perhaps you engage with a hashtag of colleagues on twitter, a group on Facebook or Google Plus, or another online community. Schedule that time for these important people in your lives, check on their posts, and respond with your own. Maybe arrange a gathering in a Google Hangout or a Slack conversation. Make PLN time one of your priorities, but one you make without that constant response to notifications. I’ve many friends who post announcements of requests, and know that people will respond when they can. In other words, we’re learning how to manage our new neighborhoods and communities in real time, real life.

title: unplug strategies

What are your strategies for centering your life? How do you unplug?


UnPlug Strategies by Sheri; see Flickr

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  7 comments for “UnPlug?

  1. Liz du Plessis
    March 7, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Great tips, and I love how you integrate sketches with text. May I ask what tool you used.to create the sketches?

  2. March 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Sheri,

    You have some wonderful suggestions . Now if I can only stay within this limits 🙂

    We have no electronics at meals since kids were itty bitty. We also have a rule that no one leaves table till last person is done eating. We have reading weekends & no electronics weekend to balance out movie weekends (talk about Dr. Who Season followed by Flash Season 3…) or Free (choose whatever you want to do = kids on devices/ Xbox/ netflix / sleeping/ whatever).

    I think what works most is that we have same rules of unplugging across the board. So for first hour of car drive, we talk. From 1-2 hour reading is an option. Only time electronics – GPS not counting- is allowed is for travel longer than 2 hours. We may pop up an audiobook though.

    Like many family we are playing around and tweaking as needed.

    • March 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      Purviben, I think your “rules” are wonderful for families, tweaking them when needed. Meal conversations are so important for so many reasons– I’d hope most families would implement that, and make time for family meal time. Travel to adds to our conversations and fun times to build memories. Thank you for sharing! I appreciate the ideas. ~ Sheri

  3. March 1, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Sheri,

    You have some wonderful suggestion. Now if I can only stay within this limits 🙂

    We have no electronics at meals since kids were itty bitty. We also have a rule that no one leaves table till last person is done eating. We have reading weekends & no electronics weekend to balance out movie weekends (talk about Dr. Who Season followed by Flash Season 3…) or Free (choose whatever you want to do = kids on devices/ Xbox/ netflix / sleeping/ whatever).

    I think what works most is that we have same rules of unplugging across the board. So for first hour of car drive, we talk. From 1-2 hour reading is an option. Only time electronics – GPS not counting- is allowed is for travel longer than 2 hours. We may pop up an audiobook though.

    Like many family we are playing around and tweaking as needed.

  4. Pia Alliende
    February 28, 2018 at 3:39 am

    You are my hero! I love your strategies and sketchnotes. Nowadays people don’t even make phone calls. Here in Spain, people rely a lot on Whatsapp messages. I can’t have my phone connected to data all the time, since data plans are expensive, or my phone dies in two seconds, and WIFI is not always available or it’s very iffy. I tell people, if they need to tell me something really important, they need to call me, since my phone is not connected all the time, and I will only answer it, if it rings :).

    • February 28, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Oh yes. Connectivity! There are many times when I have no service because I live in a very rural area. Even in my backyard, there is no coverage. I think that is a good thing, like your situation, because it keeps us from becoming addicted to the notifications that really don’t need immediate attention. On the other hand, my family is quite geeky, so in the summer time we add a wifi hub so we can sit under the canopy of our immense sycamore tree and geek out together! It is quite a joyful time together sharing and laughing. And we unplug to read and play and dance and even dig in the dirt! Balance in today’s world!

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