Today, I’m happy to have my friend, Trina Cress, from Beginner Beans sharing how she balances online time with family life. I first got to know Trina through the blogosphere, but was blessed to get some time face-to-face time and even to share a meal together at a conference we both attended last fall. She is approachable and authentic with a refreshing take on life. If you can’t meet her in person, I hope you’ll take some time to interact with her online at Beginner Beans where she’s finishing out her 31 Days of Lessons from an Epic Beginner.


My husband travels for his job. A lot. We knew this before he took the job, and decided it wasn’t a big deal, because at the end of each trip, he would return; and we knew those times together mattered more than the few he would be gone. So when he returns from a trip, we make a special effort to reconnect as a family.

I’m learning to take this same idea and apply it to the work I do online. In the past I’ve struggled balancing it, and making sure I don’t spend too much time online. Now, I realize what I do when I log off matters more than counting the time spent online.

Whether it’s my husband leaving on a work trip, or me zoning into writing on the computer, there are two things that we make sure to do to put proper attention into the people that matter most.

1. Return.
We always return our focus to the family, the home, the kids. We try to create a definite point in the day and in the week when the incessant checking and typing and browsing comes to a temporary end, and all that’s before us is what matters most in this world. Less Digital Ideas: This can be done by having offline times of the day (i.e., dinner time through until the kids go to bed), and unplugged times of the week (i.e., Sabbath).

2. Relish.
We try to find ways to help the family relish time together. Instead of shutting down to put our attention into another distraction, we enjoy a non-digital moment together.
Less Digital Ideas: Cook, eat and clean-up supper together; have a “family date night” or “family fun day” where you go out together; create a family tradition; try something new like playground tag or fort-building. Basically, do something, anything, together.

Having a less digital life is less about counting our online minutes and more about making our offline minutes count. What will you do when you shut the laptop or put the phone down?

Here’s a little Internet break for you. Right now, before you do anything else online….
Build a fort in the living room.



{I’m linking up with Nester for her annual 31 Days blog get together. Don’t want to miss this series? Be sure to subscribe by entering your email in the box on the homepage sidebar. Find all posts in the series here.}