Every fibre of my being knows that waking up in the morning and immediately checking my phone is absolutely not the best thing for me - but I do it anyway. My first few waking moments go something like this:
What am I going to have for breakfast?
I should probably exercise but really can't be arsed
I wonder if that customer/buyer/journalist has gotten back to me?
How is Instagram doing? etc. etc...
And then within a few minutes I'm staring at the screen scrolling through notifications from Gmail, Shopify, Instagram and Amazon. I know the reason I do this is because the unease and uncertainty of not knowing overrides the knowledge that taking an hour in the morning to 'do me' is a much healthier and less anxiety inducing way to start the day. The immediate gratification of 'knowing' soon rolls into doing, researching, scrolling and typing and before I know it my day has steamrollered me and I feel completely out of control, exhausted and stressed.
I've realised I can’t make good decisions first thing in the morning from a place of worry and anxiety - I recently read way too much into a completely innocent and actually very positive email - leading me to have a mini meltdown at 6:30am before my day had even started. Something has to change.
A full digital detox is what’s needed but I can’t go full throttle on this at the moment - I’ve scheduled a break in May and will completely unplug then, but for now some kind of buffer, discipline and boundaries are what’s needed.
Baby steps. I’ve turned off Instagram, Gmail and Amazon notifications, plus set my computer Mail to refresh every hour. It sounds pathetic but I was really worried about it at first. What if someone emails me urgently and I don't get back to them for an hour?! I soon discovered it really isn't the end of the world. If anything really bad was happening surely I would get a call anyway.
I’ve meditated for a few years now but it’s difficult to get in the zone after reading emails, notifications first thing but now I can use my meditation timer app without getting dragged into emails. I can drink my tea and do my gratitude list without getting distracted by that query in Instagram. It still takes willpower to not click on the envelope icon on my screen but not having notifications really helps with impulse control - sometimes just a few seconds is all it takes to engage the brain.
If discipline doesn’t come easily to you, sometimes you have to enforce boundaries and this week I’ve definitely been feeling calmer, more focused and less stressed. Nothing bad has happened because I didn’t immediately respond to an email/comment/notification and I can feel a modicum of control and order coming back into my life.
So I'm sorry if I don’t get back to you for an hour or so - but I promise you’ll get a better version of me when I finally do.