Wake up. Turn off alarm. Check notifications.
That used to be the way my mornings began…until I realized how much it was actually dampening my productivity.
Mornings, for lack of a less cliche phrase, set the tone for your day. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the first thing you decide to do when you wake up has an influence on everything that comes after.
For me, the answer of how to use those first few minutes was always obvious: find out what I missed while I was asleep. Every day, I spent the first 15 minutes of my morning catching up on texts, responding to emails and scrolling through Twitter and Instagram. It seemed logical. Besides, what could be wrong about wanting to stay updated?
More than I thought, actually.
Although I loved checking my phone before I even got out of bed, I came to realize it did not have a lot of positive benefits, particularly on the social media front. Because let’s face it: In spite of how much me–and many others–love social media, it can be toxic. Research shows that frequent social media use can lead to higher levels of loneliness, envy and anxiety. More often than not, users go on social media and end up feeling worse about themselves, as they are subjected to pictures of people living fabulously unattainable lives.
But it isn’t just social media. Texts and emails can be demoralizing, too. Maybe it’s a message from work with some less-than-spectacular news or a text about a situation that you’re not quite ready to deal with. Either way, it’s not something that should be received when you’ve yet to fully wake up. It will only make the act of getting up harder.
Making this discovery helped me reach another conclusion: Why should I make the very first thing I do in the morning, the action that defines the subsequent 24 hours, something that can make me feel badly about myself? It’s not that social media and technology are comprised of only negatives; it’s that I’d rather not take the chance of making myself unhappy that early in the a.m.
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I decided to change my morning routine for the better. Instead of checking my phone, I would jump right in to the next activity. Not only would this save me time, but I figured it would help me get off to a better start. A more productive start.
At first, it was difficult. Really difficult. It’s hard to break any habit, especially one you’ve had for years. But not checking your phone? It feels almost impossible. Sitting on my bedside table, my phone seemed like the perfect morning ritual. I had to fight against my instincts and stop myself from reaching out to it the minute I opened my eyes. There were many instances when I forgot about my new plan and had to throw my phone down as quickly as I could to stay on track.
But eventually, the process got easier. I started waking up with more inspiration and less negativity. Having a few minutes to clear my head and drink my coffee before I dive into whatever situations I need to tackle on any given day is so important to me now. That mental clarity allows me to feel settled before I feel overwhelmed, almost like dipping my feet in the pool before I jump in.
Ultimately, what I’ve discovered is this: If you know that scrolling through Instagram or checking your texts could upset you, don’t do it immediately after you wake up. You owe it to yourself to save your mornings for things that will make you happy. Checking those pesky notifications won’t give you the opportunity to start the day with your best foot forward; it will keep you from getting a foot on the ground in the first place.
Do you check your phone right when you get up?
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9 thoughts on “I stopped checking my phone first thing in the morning, and honestly it’s been life-changing”
That is why I got off of Twitter a long time ago. It was full of negativity. Now I have a different account that is only full of positivity and to promote my blog. It took years before I felt comfortable using it again though
I definitely agree with you. I try really hard only to read a book off of my phone when I first get up. I actually just wrote a post about social media and our relationship with our phones. You should check it out if you would like 🙂
I’ve also heard about the negative effects of social media. Even though it’s addictive, it doesn’t always make us happy. That’s great that you’ve tried this and sounds like it is a positive change 🙂
I often wake up and check my phone as well (hard not to since my alarm is my phone haha!) However I will try to just turn off my alarm and not check anything else on my phone. I also like to have parts of my day when I “unplug”, for example by placing the phone far away from me when I write or work 🙂
This is such a great reminder! It’s an easy habit to fall into but I think most people do feel worse after checking their phone first thing in the morning. I am better about avoiding it on work days because I have to get up and go, but on weekends it’s harder to resist!
Hi Paige, the title of your blog was emailed to me via a wordpress email update and I made a note to come back to it tonight when I had a little spare time. I too find myself immediately checking my notifications and I’m going to try and take a leaf out of your book and at least have a coffee and some breakfast in me before I delve into social media for the next little while. Loved the article. xxx
I love this! There used to be a period of time where I didn’t get on my phone first thing in the morning and it really does help you hop right into the morning! I mainly spend time playing Word Cookies instead of using social media, but it definitely sets me behind schedule every morning and I would love to spend that time doing other things – like making a spectacular breakfast or something!
-Liv | https://andlivloves.com/
Thank you for sharing! I recently started checking my phone first thing in the morning because I have a lot of things going on recently. And now that you say it, I realise how much it puts me in a bad mood immediately. There’s actually nothing that urges so much that I can’t take a few minutes before answering to them! 😊