The last thing you need when you’re recovering from addiction is to stress about irrelevant things.
Yet our high-tech society has turned us all into experts in doing exactly that.
Our ancient fight or flight response evolved to save us from saber toothed tigers – not from Facebook pictures, annoying emails and alarming news stories from halfway around the world.
The average person can’t even sit on the toilet in the morning without clutching a phone and unleashing a cascade of needless stress hormones.
How I Put Focus in Overdrive and Anxiety Away
I feel dumb calling this a “trick,” but I’ve tried it and it actually works…
And since I did it, I’ve gotten 10 times more work done during the day.
I’ve almost become a “morning person” simply because I stay up finishing things I expected myself to have gotten done already.
So here’s the trick:
Cut out all news, social media, and non-work email until 5 P.M.
Does this sound impossible? It’s not: Just don’t check the damn things and watch your mornings transform into bastions of serene thought.
Go outside and let your senses do what they evolved to do: allow you to take pleasure in the present moment.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that my morning coffee (which I take out on the porch) now feels like a mini-vacation.
I’m sure I’m not the first to implement this strategy, but it’s one thing to think “that’s a nice idea!” and another to actually do it.
Save Yourself Time and Get More Done
Strangers constantly create all sorts of chaos on cyberspace. None of it is necessary but the best of it is addictive.
Cat pictures aren’t my thing; I’m a self-proclaimed news junkie. But I’ll be the first to admit that I get more done without random headlines from around the world cluttering my subconscious mind.
I don’t trust most studies, but study after study shows us that human beings aren’t good AT ALL at switching our focus from one thing to another.
I implemented this Rule because my morning routine, which always starts with coffee, always turned into 45+ minutes wasted on Druge-Gmail-Social Media. I would start clicking on things impulsively, not knowing what I was looking for exactly, and not finding it…
Until I realized that I was probably just looking for the “on” switch to do what I’d gotten up to do.
Which was to get ahead on my side business and to put out more articles for this blog.
I’d start the time-wasting cycle all over again at lunch, clicking away on the same exact websites that I’d checked 3 hours before.
It wasn’t until I postponed all that useless crap until 5 P.M. that I finally started getting serious work done in the morning.
Now, when 5 P.M. rolls around, I take a glance at the headlines and I’m usually too self-satisfied (from actually getting stuff done) to check social media.
Turbocharge Your Serenity?
You can even turbo-charge this strategy and refuse to answer text messages until after 5 PM.
I can’t do this unfortunately because I communicate with the majority of my clients via text. But if texting were non-business related, I definitely would.
Make an exception for your significant other, if you have one. Everyone else will understand that it’s Your New Rule to increase your peace of mind and productivity.
They can’t FORCE you to break Your Rules.
Dealing with Cyber-Withdrawals
It’s possible that you’ll feel a strange sense of loneliness if you avoid cyberspace in the morning like I do. The best thing you can do is spend time with people who actually matter.
This feeling will pass as you get used to doing your own thing in the morning. Establish a productive routine, pick up a book, or go for a Run-Walk before you have to head into work.
A final piece of advice: L-Tyrosine and DL-Phenylalanine are both amazing amino acids that can help you to calm down and focus. Somehow, they accomplish both of those things at once – a sense of peace and a willingness to get stuff done. I highly recommend trying them out if you just can’t get going in the morning.
Chances are good that as you reap the benefits of your cyber-detox during the day, you’ll want to reclaim your evenings as well. There’s nothing wrong with using technology on an as-needed basis. But emerging research has linked excessive technology use at night to decreased melatonin and even male sexual dysfunction.
If you combine this guidance with a workout and a no-B.S. attitude toward cyberclutter, you’ll be well on your way to supercharging your recovery.
EXCELLENT advice. And I’d add to this (just my opinion based on experience) seriously EXAMINE your participation in online “support” groups for quitting alcohol and INSIST they provide you VALUE. If the content is NOT moving you measurably closer to your goal, and instead you find yourself sucked into unfruitful things such as debates or “sympathy clubs,” question whether this is useful online time. (Chris, feel free to delete if I’ve spoken too freely!)
Great point Alexis – there are many unproductive sympathy clubs out there! Best to join communities that focus on which actions can be taken to get better.
Great article. Why can’t there be more real advice like this out there? Thank you for posting.
Thanks Jordan, glad you enjoyed it! Stay posted for more.