One Morning Habit That Can Help You Increase Your Focus

In the last 2 decades, humans have gone from having an average attention span of 12 seconds to just 8.25 seconds. It is safe to say that we have an attention span lesser than that of a goldfish.

A lot of studies have concluded that smartphones and social media apps have contributed a lot to it. Constant usage of social media for short periods of time, like waiting in a queue at the grocery market, makes us completely dependent, thus shortening our attention span.

With these conclusions, it is safe to say that it’s very easy to lose our focus and attention these days and get into a habit of mindless scrolling. I’m also a victim of it. And the worst part is, I used to do this first thing in the morning.

I started realizing that this habit of mindless scrolling first thing in the morning was affecting my productivity throughout the day and I couldn’t get a clear idea of how to plan my day ahead. My task list seemed rushed and unorganized and so was my mind.

To change this vicious cycle, I started watching videos on YouTube on how to be more focused and came across countless suggestions. But one particular suggestion that stuck with me was – DON’T CHECK YOUR PHONE first thing in the morning.

With a curiosity in my mind and a need to analyze this hypothesis myself, I decided that I would not check my phone for at least an hour after waking up for 30 days. 

It’s been 2 months now since I have been doing this and here’s how it went.

Initially not checking my phone was a bit of a struggle, since I had developed muscle memory of waking up, picking up the phone to see the time or turn off the alarm and going into a scrolling streak for at least half an hour while lying in bed. But after some days, it got easier. All I had to do was just NOT PICK UP my phone.

Not only this habit helped me focus on more important things to do in the morning, but it also reduced my screen time by at least 8%. I realized that –

  1. There is absolutely no need for me to check my phone first thing in the morning. Since all my work and communication can be managed through my laptop, I realized that I can just leave my phone. Since I started doing this, I noticed that there were times when I didn’t need to pick up my phone even for 2 to 3 hours after waking up. 
  2. This habit helped me focus more on important tasks such as creating my to-do list with better clarity and planning my day ahead with more focus. My mind started feeling less cluttered throughout the day since everything was planned ahead in the morning.
  3. I could allocate this time to do something productive. My mornings are pretty relaxed since I’m self-employed. Because of this habit, I have started allocating the time of not checking my phone to doing something productive such as reading about my personal interests finishing up any personal work or just peacefully having a cup of tea without any distractions. 

RELATED ARTICLE: The Psychological and Societal Effects of Social Media on Human Behaviour

Now, I understand that this habit might not be for everyone since checking their phone might be a vital part of their hectic daily schedule. But for me, the idea behind this was to just start putting my focus and precious morning time into something productive and useful, instead of just jumping from one social media app to another to get the short-lived dopamine hits.

With this analysis, I can conclude that this one habit has helped me increase my focus throughout the day and reduce the habit of mindless scrolling and filling my mind with unwanted and downright useless information. 

I’m going to continue doing this in the coming year. 

If you’re curious, here’s what my habit tracking looked like in the past 2 months.

Triangles = Days I skipped doing this task | Squares = Task completed on that day

This app named ‘Every Day’ has helped me track my progress over a period of time with data such as longest streaks, weekly/monthly completion rate and total count of days on which I completed my habit. I would highly recommend checking this app out.