Making Your Phone a Servant Instead of Being Its Slave

On my first blog post, one commenter asked me to write about, “Cell phone management-do you have a smart phone?  How to keep texting + social media in check”.

First of all, phones can be excellent tools for life, business, and relationships.

The problem is, sometimes we get all out of whack and become a slave to our phone, instead of the phone being our servant.

When you can’t go without constantly checking your phone, when you think about it OFTEN, when you stay awake at night checking “one more thing”……you just might be in danger of slavery to some DUMB smartphone!

In answer to the particular questions the reader posed:

“Do you have a smart phone?”:

Yes, I do.  I did not have a phone until my late teens, when it became necessary for my job.  I then got a little flip phone, and updated some time after to an older model basic iPhone.  I have my second iPhone now because the first one wore out. The phone I have now was given to me for a fantastic price by a coworker, but if I needed to buy a phone, I would definitely recommend looking for a refurbished, older one online. But that’s just my opinion.:)

“How do you keep texting + social media in check?”

I have used a number of different ideas + disciplines in this area. Here are some favorites:

  • The JESUS FIRST principle.  For me, the single most distracting thing to early morning time with the Lord is a phone. I choose to keep mine on airplane mode most mornings. It isn’t a legalistic rule, and occasionally I need to send a business or personal text immediately when I wake up, but I shoot for not turning my phone on until I have had my time with the Lord.
  • A MEDIA FAST. Basically, the way I do this is enlist a friend (I’ve got a good one who has done this with me several times!) and set a certain time frame for a media fast. (I’ve done it alone, too, but it’s a bonding thing to do with a friend or sibling. We like to practice “replacement” and make a bigger than usual Scripture memory or Bible study goal during our fast.) For me, a media fast usually includes refraining from all non business social media, websites, and email.  It is always so refreshing and I’ve never regretted going a week or more without these things.
  • Keeping PUBLIC TEXTING TO A MINIMUM. This is something my sis and I made a pact about when we got our phones, and we still keep each other accountable in this area. We decided that whenever possible, we would send text messages in private. It really isn’t that hard to step away from a conversation and send a quick response. I do alot of texting with my job, but if I am at a social or family event or hanging out with my siblings, I can easily see if a work text comes in and step out of the room to take care of it before rejoining the group.
  • Having SOCIAL MEDIA FREE DAYS. This is another one that is huge for me. Although I use Instagram for personal and business, I don’t want to be using it every single day!
  • Use VERY FEW NOTIFICATIONS. I really don’t need to know every time I get an email, or someone posts something new. I can check those things when I have time! I choose to have zero notifications other than text and phone calls. For emails and social media, I have to purposely check, and I like it that way.

Do any of ya’ll have tips on how to manage phones? They sure are handy, but we’ve all seen them become monsters, too! I know neither I nor you want that in our lives, so we’ve got to be proactive! 

-Allison

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19 Comments

  1. So on point! 👌 I find that when I’m becoming too attached to my phone I’ll just leave it in my bedroom for the day with the volume on high incase someone needs to reach me. And like you said, I’ve never regretted making that decision! It’s so needful to do a ‘heart check’ once in a while to see where our priorities are so that we can eliminate those weeds that hinder our growth in Christ and prevent us from living a purposeful life.

    I pray you keep posting on topics that keep our focus on Christ. It’s so refreshing to read when we live in a society where people talk to please the ears of their listeners instead of saying what is true and righteous and hard to say.

    1. I LOVE your idea to leave the phone out of easy reach to detach a bit.
      Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  2. Thank you so much, Allison! I really love starting out the day in God’s Word before going online/etc, but that’s getting trickier with texts when my alarm is the same as where texts pop up. Thinking of switching gears to an actual alarm clock again. Also, I’ve been super convicted that I need to get up even earlier before leaving for work…if I’m meeting a friend for coffee, I make it happen. I get there on time. If I’m hoping to go to a coffee shop to just spend some alone quiet time with the Lord, it’s easy to let it slip & rush through it at home b/c I’m not keeping another person accountable. But may HE be my motivation + not meeting a friend, yikes! Every time I do intentionally wake up earlier, I don’t regret it + wish it would happen more often. So may God give me the grace to switch gears to earlier! Rest + eating something for breakfast is important, yes, but not most important…need to be refreshed not just physically, but with the Word, too! Hoping to do a social media free weekend like this one https://cultivatewhatmatters.com/2016/11/18/how-to-have-a-social-media-free-weekend-2/ Ok, I’ll stop, haha. Thank you!!

  3. I’m so happy to have found your blog (via your family’s website)! There is certainly a lack of Biblical wisdom being shared with young ladies these days, and I applaud you for taking this up.

    One thing I have found really helpful in keeping my time with the Lord on track is keeping a “to-do” list handy at the back of my journal. That way, when little interruptions come (like “dry cleaning”) I simply jot them down and get back to my quiet time. I don’t feel the need to jump up and do them right then, and don’t worry about forgetting them. It’s been a huge help!

  4. Thank you, Allison, for these tips! This is something I definitely struggle with! It’s amazing how easy a phone is to get addicted to. I will be implementing these tips! Thank you!

  5. Excellent post, sweet Allison! Spot on! I really love the title that you chose too!! I got an iPhone last fall, and while it is a very useful tool, I really believe that one must manage it differently than a text and call phone because it can so quickly become addicting!

    One thing I choose to do with my phone is to leave it downstairs inside a bin on my desk at night. Then, I don’t check it in the morning until after my workout and time with Jesus is finished. (Exception would be when I’m out for a power walk and am listening to something on my phone). For the most part, my phone stays on my desk or in my purse when I’m out; I don’t make a habit of carrying it around with me.

    I also don’t use notifications for anything but text messages and calls! I thought I was the only one who did that! 🙂

    Col. 3:1-2, 3:23, Eph. 5:16 are also some verses that I’ve found helpful!

  6. Excellent post, Allison!!! It saddens me to see so many people these days spending SO much time on their phones! (On the reverse side, it makes me so glad when I see people who have wise rules for their phones and don’t just use them all the time! :))
    I don’t own a smart phone, though I do have social media on a regular computer/laptop. It is a challenge sometimes to keep it to a minimum; I have to set very strict rules for myself so I don’t just sit down and get carried away. 🙂

  7. I had a smartphone for a short while but gave it up because it was distracting me from school and hindering my relationship with God. It’s amazing how addicted one can get to a piece of metal and glass!
    I like the last tip the best. Every time your phone dings or buzzes, it’s so tempting to just pick it up and see what’s happening! Having minimal notifications definitely sounds like an excellent way to limit the time spent on your phone.

  8. Thank you, Miss Allison!
    This is such a helpful and encouraging post! I have been caught up in my phone too often, and am thankful for this reminder to stay focused on Christ, and set my affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Blessings, A. Lonneman

  9. I find this post helpful I listen y’all an other people at night all night for music it helps me sleep an I also put away my phone for events (I mostly take pictures that’s) when my phone battery is low I play it on charge but sometimes I take a break an let charge I tired to reply back to a text but if repeatedly texting me than I put the same thing about 1-3 times if they keep doing than I just talk to them later thanks for posting this hugs lov y’all an God bless y’all 😁😮😃👍🏻📱👏🏻😉👍🏻😘😍🤗😊

  10. I don’t have a smartphone, but I do struggle with computer time! Thanks for writing this; I’ve been praying about decreasing my computer time and those are some great tips!

  11. This is a WONDERFUL post and I have definitely learned a few new ideas from you. Airplane Mode in the a.m. is a genius idea and avoiding texts in public is also so smart (and actually really good manners).

    One thing I have disciplined myself to do is not keep my phone with me at all times when I am at home with my husband. I want to devote my time to him in conversation and there are chores to do…laundry, etc. So, I leave it in my purse or office so I don’t let it distract me.

    My biggest problem was using my phone at night to check Pinterest, Instagram, read articles, etc. – which is not inherently a bad thing – except I found that it was keeping me up way too late so I wasn’t getting well rested. I used the excuse, “well, i need it for my alarm”… SO, I have started putting my phone on charge all the way in the kitchen, with the phone off, so that it cannot distract me…. and. i now use my alarm clock! 🙂 I don’t regret it one little bit and I wake up feeling much more rested.

    Thank you, Allison, for this thought-provoking topic and well written blog! What a great topic!!

    1. Aunt Pandy, you are a wonderful example! I love your thoughts on being fully present in evenings at home with your husband. Even those of us unmarried but in families would do well to set up similar boundaries.

  12. Thank you Alison! Great post as always😎 You nailed it! Right on!
    Favorite tip is number one!!! Seek Him first!
    If I had to give one tip it would be to maybe set specific times and time limits for doing curtain activities on your phone, such as email, instagram, websites, etc. This saves us the problem of prioritizing as well as wasting time.
    Just an idea 🙂 Thanks again for writing about such helpful and important subjects that so need to be talked about!

    1. Joy Alexandrea, this is a wonderful tip, too! One I need to implement! I had been trying to pay attention to how much time I was spending on my phone, and I was amazed how quickly that time goes. Thank you!

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