the iPhone

is here.

to celebrate, here are two images i’ve already created with my various camera apps (yes, i’m a total dork):


and so, in the interest of maintaining a rather public accountability, and keeping open this valuable conversation about when we use our technology and how, i want to share with you my iPhone rules (Draft #1, subject to revision or amendment i’m sure).

first of all, my over-arching mission with integrating the iPhone into my and my family’s life is that it will be:

  1. used to celebrate and document our family life (e.g., photos and video, note-taking, blogging)
  2. a tool that aids in my household manager roles (e.g., budgeting, cooking, banking, organizing, planning)
  3. a connecting point with the wider world that will then nudge me to pray for and to encourage others
  4. something that will simplify and streamline workflow so that i can be MORE present to my real life rather than less
  5. a method of clearly communicating with my husband (sharing to-do lists, synching calendars, using the same budgeting software)
  6. a gift for enjoying my geeky photographer interests! đŸ™‚

secondly, i have carefully chosen what apps are and are not going on the device.

these are the apps (apart from the built-ins) that i’ve chosen to install:

  • VSCO Cam, Instagram, AfterLight, and Over (yes, 3 camera apps. this is, afterall, the biggest reason i wanted an iPhone!)
  • Gmail  (i’m looking forward to being able to drop friends a quick note when i’m thinking of them)
  • LMCU (our credit union’s app for depositing checks and checking balances and paying bills)
  • You Need A Budget (the budgeting software that is changing our lives)
  • Wunderlist (to-do list organizer because I write a million lists)
  • Calendars 5 (google calender synced with Tim’s)
  • Pinterest (for easy recipe access, mostly)
  • Olive Tree (a Bible app; i’m not sure i’ll ever want to use it as much as a paper bible, but it’ll be there just in case)
  • A Flashlight app (so i can read in bed without disturbing Gus, who still sleeps in our room)

these are the apps i’m choosing NOT to install/use:

  • Facebook (FB is my gateway drug into the never-ending exploration of the corners of the internet. i figured that if i just left it off my iPhone, i’d be about 60% less likely to end up surfing all over everywhere online, thereby becoming disconnected from the life that is actually unfolding in front of me in the physical world.)
  • Safari (I disabled it) or any other internet browser (i’m not as firmly committed to this one. I just wanted to see what it was like to use my phone without it. I suspect that having it disabled will streamline my use of my phone to truly meaningful purposes. during the day when i inevitably think of something i want/need to look up online, i can just make note of it in Wunderlist and then when i’m at my desktop computer at a designated time of day, e.g., during naps, i can pull up the list and use it to direct my browsing.)
  • Games (well, i’m not a gamer anyway, so this isn’t really sacrificial, but i’ve been told games are huge time-suckers)
  • Notifications

third, i’m forming rules for the conditions/places in which i will or will not use it. here’s what i’ve got so far:

  1. meal-times are phone-free times. the phone don’t even come to the table.
  2. there is a docking station for the iphone and it will “live” there rather than in my pocket when we’re at home. the docking station is pretty centrally located so that i can grab it to shoot a photo or video in relatively quick fashion, but it will not be so near that I can reach over to grab it absent-mindedly all throughout the day.
  3. i’m thinking of setting up internet-free time each day with tim so that we can be more likely to connect. but this isn’t established yet.
  4. unplugged sabbath days (exception: only to look up information about or directions to someplace we want to go)?
  5. i will absolutely use it to read an article or email a friend or peruse the instagram feed while i wait for my kid to fall asleep, or during nap times.

and now, the disclaimers: 

you may think, “gee whiz, this lady is seriously over-thinking and over-managing her iPhone use! lighten up!” and i see why you say that, dear reader, i really do. but i know myself and my tendency to get snared into escapism and time-wasting on social media, the internet, and techy gadgets like this, so it feels wise to go in with a plan, and with intentions that can guide me. not to be all legalistic about it, but simply to keep choosing the life that i most deeply desire to live (which is not, it so happens, a plugged-in life).

also, it should just be said, i am in no way suggesting that the above “rules” ought to be universal. each person will have his/her own considerations in thoughtfully engaging the technologies in his/her life, and the conclusions that are reached are not as important as having taken the time to think it through.

and i know that all of what i’ve written above will probably not work out quite as cleanly as i hope, precisely because i drafted it up before i actually acquired and began using the iPhone, and also because i’m sure there are things i haven’t anticipated. so we’ll revise as needed. there’s so much grace for this process. so much.

thanks for going on this journey with me! i think this is an important conversation to have. and i would really really love to hear more from all of you about this subject. comment below!


5 thoughts on “the iPhone

  1. cross posting here also, for those not on facebook to chime in if they want: here’s one situation that I wonder about. Do you use your phone when you are feeding Gus? I go back and forth with this, especially at 2 or 3 am and i “need” something to keep me up. But with my other kids, I never had t.v. or a phone to distract me, as a result, our feeding times were good bonding times, even when I did fall asleep on occasion. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • well, i did use it tonight while nursing Gus to sleep. but i ended up putting it down because i realized i wanted to give him my undivided attention. so i just stroked his chubby arms and looked at him adoringly as he fell asleep. đŸ™‚ i don’t think i’ll make a hard-and-fast rule about using it while nursing, but honestly he nurses so quickly that i really don’t NEED to have another activity to occupy me or keep me awake. hazel, on the other hand, was a marathon nurser, so i would have appreciated having an iphone back then! (look at her adoringly for the first 15 minutes, then play with my phone for the last 35 minutes of a nursing session…. haha)

  2. Please keep us posted on how this works out for you. I think it’s great that you are putting some boundaries in place because you know how addictive it can be. Technology is meant to enhance our lives, not to replace relationships. xo

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