A couple weeks ago, I made the decision to trade my iPhone for an analog alarm clock and dock my phone in the kitchen every night. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Not only did I make it the two weeks — I have decided — I’m not going back. Here’s what happened.
I read a book. You guys…an entire book. I’m a painfully slow reader and typically employ a “two pages forward – one page back” strategy when I read because I constantly fall asleep and have to catch up the next day on what I supposedly read the night before. It helped that the book was a laugh-out-loud collection of personal essays by Jessi Klein, a former writer for SNL among many notable accomplishments. Now I’m working on this book but would be interested if you have any recommendations. I think I sleep better when I fall out laughing so anything lighthearted would be a total win.
I didn’t miss out on anything. All those posts to look at, like, and leave comments for were still there in the morning. The algorithms make it hard to keep up sometimes but I made peace with the possibility of missing something and that very commitment helped me recognize I’m actually not.
I realized how many late(ish)-night texts I was sending and receiving. This one was one of the biggest surprises. Texting is super distracting and I didn’t actually understand this fully until I was fully present and engaged without my phone how much energy and mindfulness it takes away. The first few nights, I heard my phone dinging down the hallway and a part of me pinged with the phone, wondering who it was and what was going on. As challenging as it was, I waited to check my phone until the morning. And guess what happened? I was able to more easily shut my brain off for a few hours.
The girls watched less TV. We don’t have cable but use Chromecast to stream Hulu and Netflix on the TV in our room. Without my phone on the nightstand, I had to make an extra effort in the morning to trek to the kitchen and retrieve my phone to stream a show. Most mornings, the girls would follow me into the living room and would find something else to do. I would then go back to my room and get ready for the day while they were occupied. I used to rely so heavily on TV to keep them entertained in the morning. This was a huge shock and a welcome change.
I started my mornings with a better attitude. Over the weekend, I was reminded why I am not very active on Facebook these days. The first three posts I scrolled through were a woman’s body found in a trunk, a child dying in a hot car, and more gun violence. It was so depressing. I’m such a delicate flower that tragedy and terror often stay with me much longer than the average person who can more easily shrug off a devastating headline, even if I eventually scroll to the videos like Ali Raisman’s parents, a moving heart transplant story and the coolest campaign to improve school attendance. On that note, I’m going to make an effort to post interesting, insightful, positive and uplifting news on Facebook to help spread the good — are we Facebook friends yet? You can like Recovering Corporate here. As a quote I read on IG today, “If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.”
You all left some wonderful comments of encouragement as I started this little experiment and I want you to know how thankful I am for your support. I feel like this new habit is going to be a long-term game changer for me. Thanks you guys! Let me know if you wind up wanting to try it out and need someone in your corner. I’m rooting for you. xo