I don’t know about you, but a really bad habit I have is checking my email and Facebook notifications first thing when I get out of bed in the morning. As soon as I wake up, I do my journaling and intention setting for the day, but once I’ve stepped out of bed I grab my iPhone and immediately check my emails and Facebook stuff.
Maybe you can relate?
A lot of people do this. It’s just a habitual way of being for most. But it’s a really bad habit that writers (and creative people, in general) need to work on removing from their lives.
The reason is because instead of starting your day with intention and purpose, you’re being reactive to whatever is going on in the outside world (emails, Facebook messages, etc). And when you do this, it essentially sets the tone for your whole day.
I never even really thought of it that way until my mentor said it the other night on a call I was listening to. She said, “do you really want to set the tone of your day by being reactive to other people’s shit?”
And it really got me thinking, because I’ve had a lot of days where I thought I was in for a good day and then I ended up instead being reactive to a hate-mail that came in or to something that someone posted on Facebook, and then that set up the rest of my day.
I’d be brushing my teeth thinking about the hate-mail or walking the dog and worrying that everything was a disaster and I needed to be home working and not enjoying my morning walk.
All of that is reactive behavior and thinking that gets you nowhere and puts a stop to your productive thoughts and actions, because your mind will just be reeling all day from the jolt you had first thing in the morning.
I know it’s insanely hard not to be reactive. As a society, that’s how we are—we react to things that are happening, instead of setting intention and creating what we want. We’re taught to behave this way, so it’s totally normal for it to be a habit we have.
Except it’s a really shitty one that we, as writers, need to break ASAP.
As a creative thinker, you need to give yourself a boost of inspiration and motivation first thing in the morning, to get the juices flowing and keep you thinking creatively all day long. But when you get out of bed and first thing jump into the outside world stuff by reading emails and checking Facebook or watching the news, you’re instead doing the opposite: pushing your creative juices away.
It’s really hard to think creatively and to feel inspired all day when you’re thoughts are inundated with the outside world.
And the truth is, the world doesn’t need you to be there first thing in the morning. We sometimes think it does because everyone wants instant gratification, but the reality is, it can wait.
There’s no difference between checking your email at 7 a.m. when you first wake up, and checking it at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., AFTER you’ve done your creative work for the day (or at the very least, done some journaling around creating your reality and setting intentions for your life), except then you’ll have been productive and intentional BEFORE you become reactive to the outside world.
And I don’t know about you, but I always feel better and can handle life chaos a whole lot more when I’ve actually accomplished something in my day.
For example, even if something crazy happens in my life and I get distracted from my work for the day, if I at least started my day with journaling and writing my blog post, then I don’t mind as much if I have to deal with life chaos. But when I let life chaos in first thing in the morning, then I feel grumpy and I probably won’t do my journaling or I’ll make excuses for why I don’t need to write a blog post that day.
Habits are intentional ways of being, so you need to create habits that support the writing life you want for yourself.
You know how much I love experiments (well, maybe you don’t if you’re new to me, but yes, I love experiments). Change is hard for me because I’m a habitual person and habits are hard to break, so the way I force myself into changing is to give myself a challenge. (Sometimes my challenges to myself are totally insane, but I live for that.)
I’ve challenged myself to not check my emails, Facebook or anything else until after I’ve done my morning journaling and written my blog post for the day. I’m doing this as an experiment for 30 days, after that I will decide whether to keep going (which is what happens after most of my challenges) or to change something up.
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Do you check your emails or Facebook first thing in the morning? How can you step up and start moving away from that habit?