61% of people check their phone immediately after waking up.
Just this morning I did it…
I woke up and eagerly rolled over to check the phone sitting 6 inches away from my head.
I scrolled through and checked the couple of notifications that were gleaming so brightly to my eyes that were unadjusted to the light.
There I am: squinting at useless patterns of color and light for the next 30 minutes…
Writing this down is pretty appalling to me. I wish I was naturally better than this, but I’ve been sucked in to the dopamine spiral of smartphones just like most of us.
Using Your Phone In The Morning Sets Up How You’ll Spend The Rest Of Your Day
“When we wake up in the morning and turn our phone over to see a list of notifications—it frames the experience of ‘waking up in the morning’ around a menu of all the things I’ve missed since yesterday.” - Tristan Harris (Google Design Ethicist)
When you check your phone as your first activity in the morning, you willingly start your day on someone else’s terms.
You start your day based on the framework of someone liking a photo or emailing you about a business offer.
Instead of the endless possibilities your day could have, you limit your starting point with a screen.
You limit your day's worth based on a like, an email, or an update.
A new morning is a mark of freedom. You have endless possibilities for how you’ll take hold of the following hours.
But, starting the day by looking at your phone throws you into a reactionary state.
The rest of your day will only be spent bouncing from activity to activity that elicits your reaction rather than you creating a plan on your own terms.
You Start Your Morning Playing Catch Up
When you start the morning on your phone, you’re simply just playing catch up with yesterday’s events.
Rather than being forward-focused, you cause your mind to take the presence of today and revert back to yesterday.
Starting the day on your own terms, with refreshment and accomplishment, will allow you to get a head start on your goals and projects.
You Start Your Morning Playing The Comparison Game
For me, social media is a comparison game I can’t escape.
I always lose the comparison game.
I see hundreds of filter-perfected lives and compare them to my life.
While I’m still half-asleep in bed, I see pictures of people rock climbing and getting engaged and having dinners with their family.
Looking at my phone in the morning causes me to start the day with a mindset of comparison: the constant struggle of trying to find value and worth by proving myself to others.
Start to reclaim your morning by throwing out the comparison game. You don’t need to have a more exciting life than other people.
We simply need you to find your purpose and passion and start working on the goals and projects that are going to change and shape who you are and your place in culture.
8 Ways To Escape The Phone-Checking Morning Cycle
1. Get An Alarm Clock
If I set an alarm on my phone, right when it goes off I know I’ll be tempted to continue scrolling. So, I went to Target and bought a $10 alarm clock to help me wake up without the temptation of getting on my phone.
2. Charge Your Phone Away From Your Bed
Do you keep your phone on your nightstand? If so, it’s a huge temptation to just reach over and check it… “it will only be a quick look” I always tell myself. I started to charge my phone on my desk across the room to avoid this temptation.
3. Start Meditating
I’ve started to meditate using the Headspace app. It’s helped add clarity to my morning and the rest of my day. And, I’m noticing significant improvements in my anxiety level. Also, they have a 40% yearly discount right now!
4. Make A Killer Breakfast
I love cooking, so nothing gets me more excited than planning a killer breakfast the night before and waking up ready to make it. Try waking up a little earlier and make a breakfast you can appreciate more than a granola bar.
Spend your morning learning something new! Find an interesting book or newspaper and start absorbing information. If you’re new to reading, no worries! You don’t have to be an obsessive reader to get started. Try just 10 minutes each morning and you’ll love how it changes your day.
If you want to get into a writing habit, there is no better time than the morning. Again, don’t feel like you have to write a novel before 8am. Start with just 10 minutes or maybe 100 words. Write about what you expect from the day or what you want to learn or who you aspire to be.
7. Listen To A Podcast
There’s a podcast for everything. Literally. Take something you’re interested in and find a podcast. Start your day by learning and engaging with something new.
Starting the day with a quick exercise will help you gain focus and clarity for the rest of your day. I absolutely cannot work out in the morning, but if you can, go for it!
You’ll Finally Slow Down The Rush
When I first tried to not be on my phone in the morning, it was overwhelming. I felt like I was missing out on so much.
I knew I wasn’t missing out on anything, but I trained myself to feel like every instance the screen lit up meant that something important was happening.
Living life like that forces you to always be on edge. To always feel anxious.
Taking a break in the morning will help you slow down the rush of streams and notification and to focus on what truly matters.
It will help you focus on the present moment and how you can be more present with the people in your life and with the projects you’re working on.
Ready To Reclaim Your Day?
Start each morning with a fresh perspective...
Don't feel like you have to rush in an completely commit. Start small.
Try it out: charge your phone across the room this week and find something valuable to put in place of morning scrolling.
You'll continually grow and shape yourself into the person you want to become when you find the small things that hold you back in each way and you replace them with life-giving value.
Don't fall victim to a quick hit of dopamine that will only beg you for more attention.
Start the day on your terms and reclaim your energy.