What happened when I stopped social media in the morning

Since I was 16 my morning routine started with checking social media.

Flooding my brain with cheap dopamine was imprinted on my neural circuitry. I couldn’t imagine not scrolling first thing in the morning. What would I be missing??

But it turns out those early social media binges were sabotaging my life. It sent my stress levels skyrocketing. It stole my attention. And instead of fueling my own morning, I would blatantly hand over that privilege to my phone.

The effect of mornings without social media

Everything started as an experiment.

I was working with a life coach and he asked me to give up something for a month. Tossing between carbs and social media in the mornings, I ended up choosing the latter.

It has now been 366 days (and counting!) and I have no intention of ever going back. What started as a test turned into a practice that has completely changed my life – and continues to do so.

It has catapulted my productivity to a new level

On the first day of the experiment, I finished my entire to-do list before 11am. I remember sitting at my desk in awe. How did this happen? It turned out that I had removed two time wasters:

  • procrastination. We tend to scroll instinctively within moments of waking up. What begins as an innocent “quick check-in” turns into a chunk of time. So while we may wake up early, we hesitate to actually start our day.

  • Diversion. We finally start our work day and then inevitably get frustrated – a daunting to-do list, an annoying Slack message, writer’s block. When our stress levels rise, we’ve been jumping on social media ever since calms us.

It’s a vicious cycle. Constant changing of tasks does not allow us to do that deep work. We condition ourselves to avoid difficult tasks. And ultimately, we contribute to our own stress.

Removing social media breaks the cycle — and it works wonders.

Take this article. When I started, I had a bit of writer’s block. Normally I would hop on Twitter. Twenty minutes later I would be riddled with cognitive clutter and the article still unwritten. But since social media is not an option, I just keep writing. And wouldn’t you know — I end up crushing writer’s block rather than prolonging it by scrolling through tweets. Magic.

I started creating instead of consuming

When we go to social media first thing in the morning, we let our phone feed us what it wants. Maybe it’s the latest drama starring Pete Davidson. An advertisement for McDonald’s. Or a stranger’s engagement.

When you start your day blindly consuming information, you pave the way for a passive life. Because instead of working on your own ambitions, you spend your time reacting to other people’s stuff.

But wouldn’t you rather create than consume?

Not only gave me more time to focus on personal projects, but also restored my imagination. Since ours Creativity is at its highest in the morning, I was able to use this fertile creative ground to produce some of my best work. It resulted in tons of new personal passion projects, including the launch of my Newsletter and website and laid the foundation for my new eBook.

I became aware of my negative thoughts

I half expected to become more creative and productive during this experiment. But I didn’t expect how confident this challenge would make me.

Without social media, my day was now divided into two: a morning without social media and an evening with. It made the before and after effects crystal clear. self-doubt, Imposter Syndromeand fear almost always was made in the afternoon.

For example, one morning I did a question-and-answer session with aspiring freelance writers. It went well and was my very first (paid!) speaking appointment. In any case, I felt fabulous.

After I was done, I hopped on Instagram. Then I noticed that another speaker at the same conference had twice as many students show up for her session. Wow, I actually kinda suck I started thinking. But because I was aware of the daily routine, I stopped. A moment ago I was excited. Now I’m upset. What has changed?

social media. Naturally.

Marta Brzosko, Author of the Self-Awareness Blog, best encapsulated this phenomenon:

“By becoming aware of your mental habits, you can decide whether or not to ‘hold’ that thought. Awareness allows you to move beyond believing that your thoughts are “true” and see them for what they really are: mental interpretations emanating from the subconscious.”

When you start your day with a newsfeed, dozens of voices invade your mind. In all this cacophony, it becomes difficult to discern your own. You can’t tell when the good thoughts end and the bad thoughts begin. And if it’s not checked, you’re confusing them all with reality.

How to start your own morning without social media

Not using social media in the morning is easy — but not easy. Set yourself up for success with the following tips.

1. Find out how you will replace your time

Your life won’t magically reinvent itself because you don’t check Instagram in the morning. You have to find out how You will spend this new found time. Otherwise, you will become restless and fall back into bad habits. Luckily there is so many constructive activities that can replace social media.

I replaced scrolling with write diarya ten minute meditation insight timerand breathing exercises Be different. Then I jump right into my working day.

2. Up the ante with an accountability partner

I knew I wasn’t going to stick with social media mornings unless I upped the ante. So I told my sister I didn’t check social media until noon for 30 days. If I gave in, I owed her $100.

Having an accountability partner can work wonders, but of course your buddy can’t tell you if you’re breaking the rules. So this only works if you don’t think you can bring yourself to lie to your chosen person.

3. Be specific about the rules

Don’t start this challenge with a vague goal of “not checking social media in the morning.” You have to be specific.

  • When does your morning end? 11 clock? 12 o’clock?

  • As long do you commit to it? Seven days? A month?

  • What don’t you check Does LinkedIn count?

In my case, before my break, I’m still checking email, LinkedIn, and Medium. By making your goal more concrete, you can measure it much more clearly (and don’t get discouraged by an enormous and unclear goal).

4. Establish a supportive environment

Let’s face it – your phone is your life. You will have to check it something point in the morning. And it can be tempting to hit social media “for a quick second” while connected. The key is to set up your digital environment in a way that controls your instincts.

  • Set your phone to Do Not Disturb at night so you don’t wake up to a ton of notifications.

  • If possible, remove all notifications from social media apps. You won’t miss her as much as you think.

  • Try one of these Distraction blocking apps to lessen the temptation.

I haven’t done social media mornings in a year. I definitely screwed up a few times during that time. Sometimes I check Snapchat right after meditating. Or I’m browsing Instagram while editing an article.

Despite these hiccups, turning off social media in the morning has taken my productivity to new heights, resulted in some of my best creative work, and made me feel grounded in an otherwise chaotic world. What happened when I stopped social media in the morning


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