“Our mornings are dominated by digital distractions and our ‘smart’ phones. It is making us unhappy and disturbed. It is time to reclaim your morning.”
In the early hours, London is a strange place. Overheard, the stars dimly sparkled, while rubbish blew down Kentish Town Road. It was deserted as I ran past the Tube station, heading towards Hampstead Heath. After sprinting up Parliament Hill, there it was stretched out below me – a vast view of London in all its charming grimy glory.
It was exhilarating to see at 6.38am.
The way we start our day is very important. It sets the tone for our waking hours. Recently, a lot of people have told me about how they start their days and it isn’t working for them.
There is a pattern: it starts with their alarm going off on their phone. They grab it, stop the alarm and ARE immediately drawn into that digital environment by their notifications. Flick, flick, flick, news, war, crime and suffering. Swipe, swipe, swipe, social media distraction, voyeurism, mild social panic and jealousy.
Through habit, they are already in a state of distraction and disturbance and they haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love” – Marcus Aurelius.
In a few simple steps you can reclaim your morning and fend off digital distraction.
1) Get an alarm clock
This simple step helps break the first part of the habit by removing the phone from your waking moments.
When you wake, stretch, squirm, get up, touch your toes (or try), rotate your neck, shoulders and hips. Movement is medicine.
3) Do something you love
Get up and do something you love for 30 minutes. You could go for a walk, read, draw – whatever you really enjoy. For me, it is yoga. Even if it means getting up a little earlier it is worth it. Your morning is very different if you’ve already done something you love before you start work.
4) Enjoy the web
Decide when and what you’re going to look at on the web. This small decision means that looking at the web is something to look forward to, rather than a compulsion or unconscious habit. It is a privilege to have access to the web and this conscious decision builds a sense of anticipation. Enjoy it.
We need to be aware of digital distraction. These simple steps can help us deal with it first thing in the morning.
As I looked over London in those early hours, I realised that the morning was mine, not Facebook’s, not Twitter’s, but mine.
Now go and reclaim your morning.