Put Your Partner Before Your Phone | Omega

Are you or your partner online so frequently that you often feel like your smartphone, tablet, or laptop is a third wheel? Here are some tips to help you tell your device "it’s not you, it’s us."

Banish phones from the bedroom. Use a dedicated clock for your alarm. If you need to have your phone in your room—for example, you may be in a profession that really does require you to be reached at any hour—pledge not to check email while in bed. Make the bedroom an intimate, unplugged place. 

Eliminate watching television while eating and be sure to eat at the dinner table. Eating while distracted can cause you not to notice when you’re full, leading to overeating, plus you miss out on one of life’s simplest yet deepest pleasures—eating in the company of those closest to you. If from time to time you want to watch television or a movie while eating—let’s admit it, it’s certainly fun sometimes—do it as the exception, not the rule.

Set a certain time period each day where you agree not to be on your device and be with each other without any other distractions. Put it in your calendar as you would any other appointment. 

When out together in public, pledge not to check your email while waiting in line, or waiting for a bus or train. The same goes for playing games on your phone—at least without asking your partner first.

Take regular device-free date nights. If you need to have your phone with you because of work or other obligations, make sure your device is tucked away and set on vibrate. 

Set a regular time to unplug and take a media fast. Spending extended time with your partner on a regular basis, stepping out of the fast flowing stream of information that social media and news that so easily pulls us away from one another, is a powerfully connecting practice. For more suggestions on how you can structure this, read Put Down Your Device and Pick Up Your Life.

If you have young children, give them your full attention, rather than splitting it between them and your phone or computer. Sure, there may be times when you have to answer pressing emails, take phone calls, or the like, but don’t make it a habit. Social media will wait quietly until your child is asleep. 

© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies