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  • Writer's pictureLacy Starling

#7 - The Downside of Good Habits

As part of my quest to improve my mornings, I've stopped checking my phone first thing when I wake up. My phone sleeps next to me, face down on the nightstand (I have joint custody of my kid and an aging parent who lives hundreds of miles away - I'm not yet willing to keep my phone in a different room at night), and I used to start every morning by picking it up and immediately checking my email. Doing that—diving straight into the chaos of my day without even fully waking up—stressed me the hell out. I would stumble to the shower, adrenaline already pumping, worried about the fires I'd have to put out that day.

Now, I leave my phone face down on the nightstand until it is time to head downstairs, and even then, I try not to look at it. My goal is to not open my email until I'm in my office (either at home or in my physical office). I tell myself that if there is an emergency, someone will call me. Or at least text me. No one is going to send an emergency email in the middle of the night, so I'm kidding myself if I say that's the reason I'm checking my phone at 5:30 a.m.

This morning, however, revealed one tiny flaw in my plan: I'm forgetful. As I was walking to the car to drive to work, fully laden with my purse and my gym bag and my lunch and my sunglasses and my coffee cup, I realized my phone was still upstairs, next to the bed. I had so fully committed to not looking at it that I'd forgotten about it altogether. I sprinted back to the house, intending to ask Brian to go get it for me. But when I opened the door to talk to him, the dog ran out, nearly knocking me (and my 75 bags) down the front steps in the process. Brian headed upstairs to get the phone, and I chased the dog into the neighbor's yard, where he promptly started eating some other animal's poo (awesome) and peeing all over their yard (even more awesome.) By the time Brian got back downstairs, Moses was headed down the street, moseying toward his favorite neighborhood bar for a visit, me following behind, shouting, sweating, and still dragging my 137 bags.

We finally corralled Moses and got all my crap in my car, but not before the 90 degree heat and 10,000 percent humidity turned my hair, makeup and clothes into a stacked series of wet dishcloths. The final score? Forgetfulness: 1, Good Habit: 0.

Apparently, I need to work on mindfulness in addition to not looking at my phone. I'll add it to the list.


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