You might already know the drawbacks of bringing your smartphone to bed with you each night, Grownups, but how does it influence your morning routine? Blogger Danielle Corcione discusses strategy for breaking the phone habit.
According to a 2016 Bank of America study, a whopping third of smartphone users surveyed think of their device first thing in the morning before a cup of coffee, brushing their teeth, or even their significant other. That’s pretty alarming, don’t you think? (No pun intended.)
Morning screen time not only interrupts your daily routine, it can also easily ignite stress before you’re even out of bed. This can affect how you feel for the rest of the day. It can kill productivity later on, including the quality of your work.
Before the era of cell phone technology, we could stretch, put on clothes, and have breakfast before even thinking about the day’s priorities. There are real benefits to dodging Internet interference so early in the day. Here are just a few ways Grownups can introduce better screen-free habits into their morning rituals.
Silence Your Phone
Glancing up and down at our phones slows us down. Of course, the act of checking our phones incessantly eats up time on its own, especially when we’re expecting to hear from someone. However, checking our phones gives us more to do. Maybe it’s another New York Times alert, urging us to read a five-minute feature story. This leaves less time to get ready in the morning.
Avoid being rushed by deactivating notifications, or better yet, set your phone to silent. Make a personal vow not to check your phone between certain time frames or until you complete important tasks. If you can, shut your device off entirely! That way, you can start your morning off with more focus and attention.
Invest in a Real Alarm Clock
Remember the days of waking up to a local radio station or even your favorite song? It’s time to get back to basics and replace that dreadful Marimba ringtone.
When you use your smartphone as your alarm clock, that encourages you to check your email, look at the news, open apps, or play games—all before you step out of bed. Clear those initial distractions by switching back: You can easily buy a clock online or spend a weekend afternoon snagging one at a local thrift store.
Go Places Without Your Phone
I live in close proximity to a wide selection of coffee shops. I often unwind on a day off by heading over to a café—intentionally without a device. That way, I can focus on meeting up with a friend or reading a book without being tied down to app notifications, text messages, or phone calls for a brief amount of time.
It sounds like a fairly simple exercise but can lead towards less smartphone dependency. Think about it: You won’t be able to use your phone to check your account balance or get directions to your destination. Additionally, being outside exposes your eyes to natural sunlight rather than artificial UV rays. (And once you do this, too, you’ll be able to look around and notice how many other people are staring at their smartphones.)
Read a Physical Book or Magazine
Statistica reports the e-book industry makes almost $15 billion a year worldwide. Starting off your day using an e-reader adds onto the regular screen time between communicating with friends, family, and colleagues; working on a computer; and watching TV. Instead of an e-book, consider picking up a physical book, magazine, or another type of reading material on paper. This step also decreases the culture of screen time, encouraging you to create a habit without a device for the future.
This quick replacement can help you increase your concentration by focusing on a single task at once. For inspiration, stop by your local library and browse the shelves for some interesting titles. If you want an overlapping challenge, don’t bring your phone in there, either.
Does your smartphone interfere with your morning routine? If so, do you think you can get ready faster without a device in the equation? What rituals do you practice every morning?
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