What’s Your Data Plan?

What’s your data plan?

Unlimited?

Do you have a limit you nearly always exceed and have to pay a penalty?

Do you have a limit but rarely get close?

Having a data plan isn’t just the agreement you’ve made with your carrier. Consider the plan you have to deal with the data of your life. How do you manage the incoming information? How do you handle the available space in your life? Do you put limits on calls, social media, email, and more? Or do you just go with the flow? Do you use data for mindless activity or to feed an unhealthy appetite for work? Do you feel lost without a connection?

It’s important to have a plan. We often interact with and treat our phones as if we have a personal relationship with them. We include them in our conversations as we sit across from someone but glance at our phones and interject whatever is on them into the conversation as if it’s a third person in the room. We let the notifications pull us away, sending the message that what happens on our phones is more important than whatever is around us. We distract ourselves with anything we can find on our phones that will fill the silence that we can see to sit in for long. And we can’t imagine being away from our phones for long, under the guise that someone might need us, when the amount of authentic emergency calls we receive is virtually non-existent.

Data plans aren’t one-size-fits-all. We need to be honest and realistic about what limits we need to set. But we all need to set some. Here are a few ideas.

  • Set a block of time when you do not check your phone for anything other than calls.
  • Turn your notifications off for everything but phone calls, or at least, all social media. You’ll survive without knowing what’s going on every second of the day.
  • De-app your phone. Take off the ones that you use for entertainment during an amount of down time. They are time-suckers. You can find other, productive, even interactive ways to spend the time. The more you have on your phone, the more time you’ll spend on it. And the more dependent you’ll become on it.
  • Determine a specific time amount for checking your phone in the evening and morning. Five to ten minutes is probably enough time to take care of essentials without going down the hole of “where did that time go?”
  • Choose personal contact well. There are times a quick text can communicate something easily, but don’t build relationships through texts and other messaging without also talking by phone and face-to-face. We can become desensitized by communicating with each other while not being able to see the important nonverbal cues when someone is hurt, confused, or angry.

Technology can be a good thing for us, but only if we steward it well.

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