UGH! It is 5 pm on Monday and I still don’t have my PR Monday Post up. I usually write it on Sunday but we spent the weekend unsuccessfully furniture shopping. This AM I ran to Boot Camp, then ran home, picked up one kid for an appointment, dropped him off, turned right back around and picked up the other. Spent almost 4 hours at the eye doctor and ordering glasses for them both. Looks like the youngest is blind as bat. I feel like a great mother. I swear his eyes were checked two years ago. Then it was off to grab something to put in their growling stomachs and back to Barnes and Noble to get Romeo & Juliet in a version Con could half way understand and A Tale of Two Cities, both need to be read ASAP for K12. PHEEWWW! I am exhausted just typing all that and I still have dinner to make. Which brings me to why Dustin’s guest post could not be more timely!
Spending Too Much Time Online? 5 Tips to Master the Virtual Balancing Act
If you are reading this post, it’s probably safe to assume that you enjoy spending time online. You’re probably a busy parent, and you may even be a fellow blogger.Do you sometimes feel like maybe you are spending too much of your time on the internet? I know from my own experience how difficult it can be sometimes to find a healthy balance between your activities online and your other responsibilities back in the “real world” of a busy family life.I certainly don’t have all of the answers. However, as someone who spends a lot of my time blogging to try to provide practical and motivational marriage advice at Engaged Marriage, I do have a lot of experience with this struggle. On top of my online work, I also have a wonderful wife, two little kids (and one on the way), a full-time professional career, a good deal of community service and a lot of other demands for my time.Sound familiar?
5 Tips to Help Find a Healthy Online-Offline Balance
Whether you are a blogger or just an active reader and member of the online community, it is easy to let your internet time impact your family life. We all know this is not what we want, but what can we do to be proactive and make sure it doesn’t become (or remain) a problem?Here are some tips that should help keep your spouse happy and your family supportive of your online activities:1. Make the “Real World” Your Top PriorityI love blogging, and I also love interacting on Facebook and Twitter.However, you really need to take a step back and make sure you have your priorities straight. If you have a family (and you like them and would prefer that they stick around), you cannot let your blog trump your love and attention to them. Set your priorities, communicate them clearly and then let your actions confirm your good intentions.2. Set Healthy BoundariesThe best way to stay true to your priorities is to create some boundaries with your time. For example, I have established a “no computer time” rule for myself where I don’t use the laptop (or my smart phone) between the time I get home from work and when we get the kids to bed. By setting up this boundary, I free my time and my mind to enjoy my children, play outside or help my wife out with dinner each evening.Tell your spouse about your boundaries and encourage them to let you know if they see you slipping and not holding true to your commitments. Your family should be your best accountability partner, and they’ll know better than anyone when they feel like you’re not keeping them your top priority.3. Sacrifice Personal Time, Not Family TimeWhether you are playing Farmville or running an online business, it’s important that you don’t let your family time suffer as a result of the time you spend online. The best way to handle this and keep a proper balance is to limit your internet use to your own personal time. Maybe you write a blog post instead of watching T.V. or taking a nap, but you shouldn’t be missing your date night with your spouse or your daughter’s soccer practice to play around on Twitter.4. Set Aside Time to TalkAside from our “no computer time” each day, my wife and I have found that setting aside a little time to just talk to each other has been a tremendous benefit to our relationship (which also makes us better parents). Honestly, if you simply commit to spending 15 minutes per day “being a couple,” it can have a meaningful impact on your life together.I just released a “marriage mini-course for busy people” called 7 Steps to Reclaim Your Couple Time, and it’s totally free if you want to learn more about this idea.5. Spend Some Online Time Improving Your Offline LifeOne of the best things about the internet, and especially the blogging community, is the availability of really high-quality information to help you improve your life. Whether you are reading here at Elementary Spirits, checking out my site or spending time on any of the thousands of incredible sites in the blogosphere (and beyond), you have an opportunity to learn and get inspired to do better in “real life” with your family.In fact, you are doing that right now…well done! 🙂
What Additional Advice Do You Have to Share?
I hope that you found these tips helpful in your efforts to find a healthy balance between the time you spend online and offline. I really believe that with the right boundaries and a positive approach, you can enjoy your time online and also have the awesome marriage and healthy life that your entire family deserves.So, what additional tips would you like to share on this topic?___________________________________________Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage as source of marriage advice for young couples who want to have a happy family life. Please sign up for free updates and check out the Marriage Time newsletter to become part of a thriving community that is working together to improve everything from their spirituality to their sex lives.