Reclaiming my time

Sadly, I don’t have a time machine. There still aren’t enough hours in the day and I’m still not getting anywhere near enough sleep or exercise. 

That said, I had a bit of a brainwave to help me to make the best of the time I do have. I say a brainwave. It was staring me in the face all along – literally. 

I regularly read about people doing a digital detox. Walking away from their phones or disabling their Facebook profiles.

I quite like the idea of this, but it’s not for me. So much of my work is based around social media that I just couldn’t take either of these options. 

So, I’ve done the next best thing. 

Every time I receive a marketing email or any other sort of email that is of no consequence to me, I am taking the time to unsubscribe instead of just deleting.

If I’m on a PR’s mailing list for a product that is of no interest to me, I’m taking the time to politely ask them to remove me from their list. 

If I comment on a Facebook post and there are lots of responses, I untag myself from notifications.

I do get involved in conversations on both Facebook and Twitter, but only when I’m on the computer. 

I’ve been taking this approach for about a week now. I’m receiving hardly any junk emails and my phone goes off perhaps three or four times in a morning rather than once every few minutes. 

So when I’m with the girls, I’m with them. 

I’ve really noticed a change in the dynamic since doing this. I feel less stressed and the girls are getting more of my attention. 

When we’re outdoors, I notice my surroundings more than before. That’s despite the fact that I usually have two children and two dogs with me. 

The one thing that I do still use regularly on my phone is my camera. I actually find that this helps to focus me on enjoying the moment. 

This moment, for example. 

2015-06-09 11.09.14And am I missing social media or the thousands of “deals” that were being emailed to me? 

Of course not. 

Actually, I’m using social media more. I’ve started to manage a twitter account for a local music festival, I’m running my business and blog twitter accounts and Facebook pages and putting a couple of photos on Instagram every day. 

I’m just being careful about when I do it.

I don’t feel like I’m doing more when I’m on the computer, I just feel like I’m less attached to my phone when I’m not working. And that is a brilliant feeling. 

Have you done a digital detox or do you think it’s completely unnecessary? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 


16 thoughts on “Reclaiming my time

    1. monsteridNatalie Ray Post author

      Hi Nat, I’m the same. I used to have my phone on silent so I could focus on the girls, but I found that I was checking it more in case I missed someone. Having the volume (or vibrate) on stops me from checking it unless I get a message. It’s great to hardly have any emails, so much easier!x

  1. Martyn

    Awesome idea. I took ten days off. I blogged twice and only replied to direct tweets to me. It was feeing and I got lots done around the house and with the boys. That was the best bit. I don’t tend to sign up to anything so that isn’t a problem. I do struggle with how often my phone goes off for direct messages. It’s was calculated 2 weeks ago that I had 200 direct Facebook mentions/messages, 1.4k twitter mentions and 90 instagram. These numbers terrified me as it occurred to me that the large number of this I’m responded to. I’ve decide that I’m going to be taking a real black and white look at it. I’ll respond of and when but the rest of the time I won’t be jumping in unnecessarily. I want to be freed more.

  2. Maz

    I do this – drown in e-mails otherwise. It makes such a difference 🙂 Now, if I can stop the bloody nuisance phonecalls about PPI and for the people who lived here 8 years ago and whatnot I’d be laughing.
    Maz recently posted…Being a studentMy Profile

    1. monsteridNatalie Ray Post author

      Oh, we stopped the landline PPI calls very easily Maz. After the first eight times of Libby fiddling with the phone and us being convinced she was going to dial 999, we unplugged it and haven’t used it since. It’s bliss!x

  3. Jessie

    It’s a stroke of serendipity that I came across your email for this post as I was LITERALLY cleaning my email box and unsubscribing from the onslaught of marketing emails. I didn’t see this post when you first posted it because I have changed my online/social media habits quite drastically. I have spent the last several weeks reanalyzing my goals for my life and restructuring my day to fit my goals. Great post!

    1. monsteridNatalie Ray Post author

      Haha thanks Jessie, I’m totally the same, it’s so refreshing to not get all the junk emails all day, I can leave my phone on noisy because if it goes off it’s usually something worth looking at!x

    1. monsteridNatalie Ray Post author

      Thank you Caryn. I hope you manage to do a bit of a detox too. It’s working so well for me, my time is way more productive and I’m focussing better on my children.x

  4. Debbie

    Hi Natalie, I have never felt the need to have a digital detox as I do find it quite easy to step away from technology, when I feel the need, without feeling like I’m missing out on something. I enjoy solitude and you don’t get that from being round a computer.

    It sounds as if you’ve found a healthy balance of family/computer. Computers can enhance our lives if we use them cleverly, but they will never enhance them anywhere near as much as quality time with things that are truly important, like family.

    Debbie recently posted…People With Aspergers Syndrome…My Profile

  5. Lisa from Lisa's Life

    It’s hard to do especially as my phone is a company one but with only one dog and no children I still run out of hours.

    I’ve been trying to educate my dad about the unsubscribe option. He moans at me every time he receives a spammy e-mail, but, after he’s deleted it! X
    Lisa from Lisa’s Life recently posted…All Things Bright & BeautifulMy Profile

    1. monsteridNatalie Ray Post author

      Ah yeah having a company phone makes it much more difficult, I don’t miss those days! I totally agree with you about running out of hours! I hope your dad finds the unsubscribe button, it’s so therapeutic 😉


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