It’s too easy to spend our days scrolling our lives away, taking screenshots and making iNotes of all the motivational quotes, e-courses we want to do, self care tips, and books we want to read, without actually doing any of them. We can easily find ourselves endlessly searching for entertainment, connection, validation, all the while losing out on precious hours and real life connection.
Our phones have become little dopamine boxes, and they’re designed that way. When we get a new app, or a surge of likes and attention, or find some content we can’t look away from, our brains light up like a pinball machine.
But like any high, we need to keep upping the dose in order to get the same initial rush. So we see our screen time creep up and we say, “there’s no way I’m spending 6 hours a day on my phone. That’s another full time job!” and perhaps we brush off our habit as work related, or a way to keep in touch with loved ones.
But if we’re honest, and we really break down how that time is spent, most of us could cut that time in half and use it to get into better shape, make more money, go for more walks, read more books, nurture our hobbies, work on our passion projects, spend quality time with those we love, and finally start stretching.
It’s standard to simply wake up, and grab our phones first thing to check for text messages, missed calls, as well as email and all our apps for notifications, comments, messages, etc.
Hey, I’m guilty. I indulge in a mindless scroll as much as the next person, but I realize there’s value in limiting our time on the phone, and especially in enjoying a phone-free morning, and have seen the benefits firsthand in my own life. So, I switched up my habits. And even though I sometimes fail to meet my new standards, it’s helping my productivity and well-being.
Whose Life is It, Anyway?
I was reminded this week by a friend that starting your day checking your phone is starting your day around other people’s agenda — not your own.
When we wake up and read emails, messages, and check social media, we’re literally starting our day with other peoples intentions, goals, and desires. When we allow for the space to let our brains wake up, have coffee, workout, make our to-do list, do our work, we set the tone for our own days. We take our power and our time back.
Limiting screen time is self care.
You Are In Charge Of Your Life
Don’t forget it. Don’t let others convince you otherwise, because you get to decide what and who you believe, and who you answer to. I hope you answer to yourself first.
We decide how we’ll delegate our time.
Delegate your day. Set your intentions for the day. What do you want out of your day? Put away the phone, turn off the noise, and ask yourself what you want and need from your day. This is YOUR life. If you have lofty goals, creative visions, and don’t know how you’ll ever get started or get to where you want to be, the answer is in making the choice to work towards those things every day, making room for your dreams, your goals, and saying yes to yourself. And cutting (or cutting in half) time wasters, like 6 hours per day of screen time.
This is self care. Self care is saying yes to yourself. It’s making time and space to live for YOU.
When we jump on our phone first thing, we are taking in what others want, or what they are putting out into the world. You’re reading their sales pitch, their stories, their demands, their requests for attention or your time. What about you???
Live With Intention and Focus
Have you ever tried to start your day without jumping on your phone or the internet first thing? The difference is incredible.
When I wake up and hop on my phone and get stuck there, my days lack direction and sometimes motivation. My thoughts get jumbled and it’s harder to focus. I forget what I was going to do.
When I wake up and have coffee, journal, set my intentions for the day, and work out, I do my work. I write. I edit. I paint. I go on walks. I seek out and find inspiration. My days feel fuller, more productive, and richer. I feel more connected, stoked on life, peaceful, and confident.
It’s easy to tell yourself the things you want out of life are too hard, and convince yourself you don’t have the time. It’s way easier to use that time to peruse the internet and check Instagram. But big things happen in small ways. Big things happen in twenty minute increments over months and sometimes years. Just because you don’t see immediate results doesn’t mean you’re not making progress.
If you have to check email or social media for work, could you wait a little later in the morning, or could you instead wake up a little earlier?
Then, come afternoon, or late morning, or whatever, go ahead and hop on your phone. You will probably find you don’t want to be on it as much because you’ll realize how good it felt not to be, and how much you’ll get done.
So Putting Away The Phone First Thing is Beneficial. How do I do it?
- Sleep with your phone in the other room, and put it on silent or Do Not Disturb. I personally turn mine off and put it in a kitchen drawer while I’m working. It’s on silent all the time unless I’m expecting important information.
- Watch The Social Dilemma and get educated on how our phones are affecting our psychology and costing us hours of our lives.
- Turn off notifications on all apps and whittle your notifications down to texts, missed calls, and voicemails — essentials only.
- Put up post-its around your house that say “put your phone down!” or “time is money!”
- If you have a weak moment and get on Instagram during “no phone time” out of habit, don’t fret! Just put your phone back down, in another room, or a drawer and start over! Just because you smoke one cigarette doesn’t mean you have to smoke the whole pack.
- Make new habits. If you are used to grabbing your phone and checking it in bed first thing, find a new habit to replace it with. Meditate in bed for fifteen minutes instead. Or, jump right out of bed, make your coffee or tea, grab your journal or day planner, record your dreams and plan your day. Do some stretching or dance in your skivvies, I don’t care. Replace the habit.
- Make a gratitude list.
- Exercise. I love to work out first thing, because it boosts my energy, releases feel-good endorphins, and relieves stress.
- Remind yourself people thrived for centuries without smart phones, even a decade ago!
- Don’t give up. Just because you still enjoy scrolling or want to scroll and be on your phone doesn’t make you a bad person. Cutting back is beneficial. Tell your phone you really love it, and don’t want to break up, but you need some more me time.
- You can set reminders, timers, or alarms on your phone to keep your screen time in check. “What are you looking for?” is a good question to have pop up on your phone as a reminder.
I hope you take your mornings back, and take the time to turn off the noise and outside influences, and set intentions for your days. You deserve to answer to yourself. You deserve to get quiet and ask yourself, what do I need today? What do I want today? Claim your time, and guard it with your life. It’s limited.