There was a time when the first thing I did in the morning, even before opening my eyes, was instinctively reach for the phone on the dresser by my bed. Even before my groping fingers made contact with the smooth class of the display, I hated myself. I knew it was an addiction, but I didn’t know how to end it.
One day I read a book about Feng Shui, and the part that stuck with me the most was how to arrange your bedroom for better sleep “energy”, and more specifically about not having electronics in the room. I didn’t have a TV in my room or any electronics besides my phone, so I decided that it was an easy enough task to leave it outside.
In the first few following days, I went through some classic withdrawal symptoms. At the first glimmer of consciousness, my hand would reach out for its usual comfort, and at being denied its fix, my brain would go into a small panic. I would frantically search for another distraction, but there would be none within reach, so I would endure the few seconds or minutes of pain until I walked into the living room and fetched my phone.
After a few weeks, I started getting used to this pain and grew into it like an athlete grows into their workout routine. The weeks turned into months and it become not only normal, but highly agitating to have the phone in the room, like an unwelcome, nagging guest. I enjoyed the peaceful interval between waking up to the quiet morning and seeing the notifications on my phone.
This has been my routine for a few years now, and a few weeks ago I noticed myself naturally avoiding the phone for even longer periods after I wake up. Instead of going from bed to the phone, I go from bed to the shower, then to the closet to get dressed, then to the kitchen for breakfast, then to the couch to put on my shoes, and I finally grab my phone as I walk out the door to check my messages as I walk to my car. It’s become something of an unwritten policy that I don’t check my phone before I leave the apartment.
Of course, there are exceptions. I will check my phone after I get up if I’m waiting on a critical bit of news. But these are the exceptions, and even during those times, the impulse to reach for the phone is gone. I’m free.