One Small Change Improved My Whole Life

How waiting to look at my phone has given me peace and allowed me to take back my days

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Photo by Ramiz Dedaković
From Unsplash
Photo by Ramiz Dedaković From Unsplash

How waiting to look at my phone has given me peace and allowed me to take back my days

If you have ever had your morning ruined by someone outside of your home before you brushed your teeth in the morning, I invite you to try the life changing swap that has created more peace in my life. 

Using an actual alarm instead of my phone has been a game changing swap for me. 

As a digital entrepreneur for the past 10 years, I have gotten emails at all hours of the day and night for just as long. Whether it is insomniac customers or overseas contacts, my inbox is always open and receiving. 

Like most people I know, I ditched my digital alarm clock when I got a smartphone years ago. When I would hear my phone go off at the crack of dawn, I did what so many others do and innocently started checking my inbox or social media. Many days, there was nothing harmful or upsetting, so I was able to get my day started without much interference. But there were days where it seemed a dumpster fire had erupted while I was sleeping.

It seems that many people who write emails at 1 am are not the happiest of humans. And as a highly sensitive human being, I felt compelled to solve all of the problems before I even wiped the sleep from my eyes. 

Of course, if you respond to emails sent at 1 am, the sender is not likely to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6 am. This led to me growing anxious about their response while I continued to try to get ready for my day. 

If I did not hear back until 10 or later, in my head they were furious burning down my online business. Never once did I think, “Oh they must still be sleeping.” No, in my head they were furious with my response no matter how thoughtful or apologetic. 

Then, a response would finally come and truly 95% of the time, they were fine. Totally fine! 

So half of my day was ruined all because I let others in before I was ready. One day, I read the advice for the 9,000th time that I should stop using my phone as an alarm and that truly successful people set boundaries around their mornings. Sure, I had heard it before, but had always felt exempt. I assumed I was different. Until I realized I wasn’t. 

I decided to just give it a try. I thought, what could it hurt? After 3 days of using an actual alarm again, I was sold. 

It started with just waiting until I had brushed my teeth and gotten dressed until I picked up my phone. I felt so much freedom right away. No more stressful moments while I tried to think about what to wear and what I had to get done while also managing someone else’s feelings. 

Slowly over time I kept pushing it back and seeing how long I could go in my morning without touching my phone. The more I realized that nothing terrible would happen if I responded on my own time the freer I felt. I found myself having more energy throughout the day because I did not start my day with an adrenaline spike. 

Now, I wake up journal for 20 minutes, spend 30-60 minutes moving my body, get fully ready for the day and then check my phone. Some days, if I have early calls, I do not look at my phone or email until I have been up for 3 or 4 hours. It is the most freeing feeling I have had as a digital entrepreneur. 

Again, you don’t have to start with the extremes. Whenever I am starting a new habit I start small. If you aren’t used to not checking your phone right away, I recommend baby steps at first. Trying to push it off longer and longer as you grow comfortable.

The reality is, there are very few things that can’t wait for you to brush your teeth. 

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