How many of you start your day by looking at your phone?
For many of us, it’s a daily routine. This shot of dopamine before we’ve fully woken up doesn’t serve us. It’s easy to become lost in what our friends did last night, the headlines of the day, a fresh batch of interesting videos, and, worst of all, texts and emails.
Our morning routine has been hacked.
It’s no wonder many of us feel “wired” during the day. We’re attached to our phones from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. While we might be productive, we’re often more stressed, have a difficult time focusing, and struggle with remaining in the present moment because of the constant bombardment of alerts and pings. It’s also not uncommon to experience feelings of low self esteem and anxiety, when we’re given the ability to constantly compare ourselves to others as they post the high points of their personal journeys.
There are many strategies for putting your phone away, but if we are to truly reclaim our time, we must start by reclaiming our mornings.
Start your day with silence, reflection, or setting an intention
It’s so easy for our priorities to get hijacked when we fail to give ourselves the time to even recognize what those priorities are. Set the tone for each day by identifying what you want to achieve. Whether it’s an assignment, creative project, reconnecting with friends or a much-needed break, focusing our energy on accomplishing what we need helps to make sure it will happen.
Work it out
Motion is key to managing our emotions and levels of stress, and it’s especially beneficial in the morning. Just 30 minutes of exercise in the morning can improve your mood for up to 12 hours afterward. That’s a much better tradeoff than what you’re getting from social media.
Eat your frogs early
It may sound counterintuitive, but begin the work day with the most challenging or intense projects. Don’t let a cloud of work hang over your desk. Get the tough projects over with and end the day with less intensive projects or meetings, when our focus and energy levels are going down. You’ll be less tempted to use your phone as an escape when you organize your day in way that helps you stay focused.
Find a way to release what’s in your head before filling it with more information. Writing a journal every morning is a powerful way to understand ourselves. I begin each day with the Artist’s Way Morning Pages, which encourages me to complete three pages of stream of consciousness writing. Morning Pages “provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.” A journalling routine helps us release the thoughts that may hold us back so we can move forward and focus on our goals.
Love and laugh
I get it. You’re bleary eyed and your alarm is going off, so it’s hard to be thankful. But reminding yourself of something or someone you’re grateful for is a great burst of positive energy to start the day (take that, dopamine!). It might not be your boss, but telling someone you love them every morning will brighten your day as well. Especially if that person makes you laugh.
It’ll be your new morning medicine.