“We think ‘I want to spend less time on my phone,’ which feels restrictive. We need to be thinking ‘I want to spend more time on my life.'"
- from an interview on Fresh Air, NPR
Less Phone Time?
I hear regularly about one partner or another being glued to his or her phone. It seems almost a part of life. ADHD partners can have a particularly hard time of it, as it’s hard to resist the ‘immediacy’ of a text or call.
So this tip on moving away from the phone is an interesting one. As humans, we don’t respond so well to restrictions, particularly restrictions of things we really DO want. We respond better to dreams and inspiration. “I want to spend more time on my life” sounds pretty darned great, doesn’t it?
For those with ADHD, moving away from the draw of a phone may take some extra structure. While I’m able to pretty easily ignore a ringing phone, for example, my husband is almost incapable of it. That means that if he is going to get more time to spend on his life he actually needs to be away from the phone, or at least its draw.
Here are some simple ideas:
- Set times of day where the phone is left in a specific location NOT near you – for example the front hall or a purse
- Set ‘do not disturb’ settings for specific times that are important for family life – example might between 5 and 7pm when the family cooks and eats together or regular Friday date nights.
- Have one day a week without phones for the majority of the day (Saturday or Sunday probably works best) and leave it behind, next to your bed on its charger.
This last tip might take some getting used to, but it could provide a whole lot of time to ‘spend more time on your life.’ On that day, you might have an automated text response such as “I will not be answering texts today but will respond to you Sunday evening after 7pm.”
Time is our most precious commodity. You DO have a choice to not give it to others willy nilly and use your phone less often…you just have to create a system that helps you do it.
Tame the Anger in Your Relationship starts Sept 13th - Working through your anger can be hard, and is an area where partners get 'stuck' when trying to improve their relationship. My upcoming seminar, How to Diminish Anger in Your Relationship, is designed to:
be a safer space in which you can identify and surface your feelings of anger
teach you proven interaction and anger management skills
provide time to practice new skills to improve interactions during class
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including free:
- Online treatment overview;
- Downloadable chapters of my books;
- A community forum with other couples facing similar issues;
- A large number of blog posts on various topics;
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The Live session starts September 26, 2018.