I stumbled out of bed. My feet hit the floor.
I had 30 minutes to write a work email and get out the door.
No problem. Plenty of time.
I poured myself a cup of hot coffee and sat down at the kitchen table
I reached for my phone.
25 new emails.
Intermix is having a sale. Let me check their vacation looks real quick.
I clicked on Instagram.
Dogist posted the cutest golden retriever. I have to send that to my brother.
I sipped on my coffee.
Suddenly, I looked at the time.
Ughhh, I’d spent 15 minutes on my phone.
I now had 15 minutes to shower, write an email and get out the door.
It was a tight squeeze, but I knew I could do it.
I jumped in the shower.
"The fastest shower I’d taken in awhile,” I thought as I jumped out. I slapped some concealer on my face and bolted to the bedroom.
10 minutes until I had to leave.
After what felt like an hour searching through my closet, I settled on a dress I never loved. But, it was clean.
My heart started racing. Was it the coffee or stress?
7 minutes to write the email and get out the door.
Finally, I sat down to write the email. My eyes were glancing at the time on my computer, my gmail and then back again.
My hands felt tense on the keyboard as my mind fought to remember the exact reason I was writing said email. “Oh yes!” I quickly typed out an email.
The first draft had 5 typos. Ugh, delete, delete, delete.
"Hmmm, did I word that one part okay?” I thought to myself as I scanned the email.
I glanced over the email one last time. I looked at my phone.
“Good enough,” I thought as I pressed SEND.
I got up, threw my lipstick and wallet in my purse and ran out the door.
My thoughts started racing as I walked down the hallway to the elevator.
“Did I forget my sunglasses?” I asked myself as I pressed the elevator button.
I looked at my phone and let out a sigh – 8:30am.
I’d made it.
So much for a calming morning routine. I remember when I taught 2nd grade. The morning routine in the class was of the utmost importance.
I’d play classical music as the students came in. We’d have silent reading time while they got their homework out.
Setting the tone matters.
I just wasn’t doing it for myself.
I notice I’m edgy and distracted when I spend too much time scrolling and not enough time um, you know being. And it's so easy to do.
Even if I’m “on time” and getting everything done, I feel tense and rushed. Not great.
I knew I had to make a change.
Even 3 years ago I wasn’t on my phone so much. I blame Instagram stories. Why are they so satisfying?!
And the polls. Don’t even get me started on Instagram polls.
Spending so much time on my phone, especially in the morning impacts my day.
Don’t get me wrong. I love sending memes to my friends, texting and looking at cute dogs and cats.
But, I’ve found that especially with my morning routine, time can get sucked out of my day before it’s begun.
I’m all about making small changes to your life that give you big returns.
Why take baby steps? Because if anyone tells me to do anything extreme i.e “Give up your phone for a week,” I shut down.
Tell me what to do and I'll want to sleep with my phone in my arms. I’m a stubborn Taurus, after all.
I’m such a work in progress with this.
And don't get it twisted, I still go on google hunts to discover the personal lives of all the Golden Girls.
Did you know that Bea Arthur and Betty White weren't super close?! I mean, I need that information in my life. It's important.
But, little tweaks – however they work for you – can make a big difference
Here's what's helped me the past month
Wait 30 minutes after waking up to check my phone.
Keep my phone in my purse while I walk. So I’m not tempted to check it after 15 seconds while I’m waiting at a streetlight.
Switch to airplane mode when I’m working or doing anything where I want to be present.
Go on airplane mode after 8:30pm. Why? So I’m not tempted to google everything related to murder/crime mysteries.
What I’ve noticed:
I fall asleep faster.
More time to let my mind wander – in a good way. I think about things as opposed to googling everything under the sun.
In my opinion, it’s also totally normal to go through times when you use yourphone more. i.e. I’m on my screen a lot when I travel, at airports, etc. I’m not going to judge myself for it.
I’m committing to not checking my phone first thing when I wake up.
But, don’t be surprised if you see me scrolling in an elevator. All about those shifts when we’re willing.
What do you do to keep your phone use in check? Leave a comment and let me know! Seriously love/need your advice.
From my heart to yours,
Devon McLeod, LCSW