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Day 23

Morning Routines – Don’t You Dare Touch That Smartphone

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As sunbeams poke through the curtain folds, you stir from slumber. Your eyes slowly open, gradually making sense of this new world. A full eight hours of A-grade sleep has left your body and mind well rested. A new day beacons, rife with opportunity.

How will you make today great?

A flashing light on your bedside table catches your eye: your smartphone screaming “Look at me”. You roll over, unlock your phone, start scrolling through your feeds. You find photos of smiling friends at events you didn’t attend and others sharing their vacation snaps. News sites are covering foreign wars and economic woes. FOMO and anxiety set in. Now today doesn’t look so rosy.

Is this how you’d like to begin your days?

According to a recent report, 89% of smartphone users look at their phone within an hour of waking up. Whether to check email, catch up on the news or message friends your rested mind is distracted from the moment you wake.

Willpower is strongest soonest after waking and tails off throughout the day. It’s the reason we’re far more likely to succumb to impulsive desires and break our intentions in the evening. Knowing this is important for two reasons.

  1. We are most capable to resist the lure of technology first thing
  2. Don’t waste this period of high willpower on aimless distractions e.g. social media

Let's not touch our smartphones first thing tomorrow morning.

Strategies

Follow these strategies to start your day with a bang.

Use a standalone alarm clock

Using your smartphone alarm clock feature to wake yourself is setting yourself up for failure. As discussed in our sleep article, use a standalone ‘dumb’ alarm clock and demote your smartphone to not being the first electronic device you touch in the morning.

Leave smartphone outside the bedroom

Now that you’re using an alarm clock, there is little reason to keep your smartphone in your bedroom. Consider prohibiting smartphones completely from the bedroom, your mind will quickly learn that smartphones shouldn’t be the first thing to grab in the morning.

Keep your phone turned off until you get to work

If you’re able to, resist turning on your phone until you get to the office. This will be a nice habit to develop. Use your commute to read a physical book or to practice mindfulness and train your attention muscle.

Use an app blocker to block distracting apps first thing

With app blockers like Freedom you’ll be able to schedule time for apps to be blocked on your smartphone. Consider blocking addictive apps (particular news and social media) in the morning. If you must use them at all, use them only in the afternoon as a reward for achieving your goals.

Monk mode morning

Once you avoid smartphones in the morning, adopting ‘the monk mode morning’ will be a doddle. “The execution of the monk mode morning is straightforward. Between when you wake up and noon: no meetings, no calls, no texts, no email, no Slack, no Internet. You instead work deeply on something (or some things) that matter.” People swear by the monk mode morning as a highly effective way of getting the important things done.

We hope these strategies inspire you to start your days successfully.

Author

Fraser Deans

Today's article was written by Fraser Deans. Fraser is a Digital Product Designer and founder of The Wholesome Technology Company, focused on practicing and spreading ideas for living well with technology.

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