Many of us spend much time in front of a computer screen. In my case – three… laptop, desk top and iPad. Four if you count a Blackberry. And yes, all four are often set up and in use at the same time. We are a “plugged-in” generation and receive everything from mail to our news and entertainment via the internet via computers and touchscreens. Many even do their devotions on-line or, at least, on screen. I do a lot of shopping on line – books (more and more e-books to be read on my iPad while traveling), clothes, CD’s, and much else. Social networking on-line is also a big absorber of our time and our privacy. It seems as if we are plugged in 24/7 and for some it is more than “seems” as it is reality.
So, let me give you 6 ways to tune things out so you actually own your time once again – and can accomplish some quality time with the Lord – regardless of whether you use a leather Bible or a electronic one for your devotionals.
1> Start your day screen free. If you are in the habit of doing personal devotions in the morning, resolve to not turn on your computer … the internet connected side of things – emails, social networking, news, instant messenger programs, Skype – or look at your cell phone … until you have done your devotions.
2> Set specific times (no more than three a day) for checking Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Nielsen reports the average Canadian spends an average of seven hours a month on Facebook.
3> Discover what’s sidetracking you. Ask yourself: Do I respond to emails during time with my family? Are personal texts, posts and emails taking time away from work?
4> Find what dulls. Seek out those things that tend to dull your mind instead of sharpening it. Are there certain websites or media you use only when you are bored?
5> Delete and unsubscribe. Stop visiting particularly wasteful websites or put blocks on them, limiting your use. Unsubscribe from blogs with no redeeming qualities.
6> Take a digital fast. Set aside days for fasting from all digital media: cell phone, television, Xbox, computer. The more difficult it sounds and is to do, the more important it is for you to do it.
As I find myself and my ministry more and more “plugged-in” I have made serious use of the above steps and found that they work and work well. Thanks Tim for the wonderful insights that helped me in this area. Your mentoring is appreciated.