Don’t Wake up to Your Cell Phone!

Thursday Tidbits with Gabe Cox

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Listen to the full episode to go in-depth with these Thursday Tidbits:

  • Tip 1: Why waking up to your goals and not your cell phone is vital for your success.
  • Tip 2: Establish a “wake” time for your phone, and stick to it.
  • Tip 3: Five powerful tips to help you minimize your cell phone use throughout the day.



Hey friend! Happy Thursday! I’m excited to be bringing you today’s Tidbit Thursday where we equip you with different hacks and tips to live life intentionally. As a busy working mama, I know that I have to be intentional in all that I do to ensure that I am present in what I do! I bet you can relate. Today we’re talking about the dreaded cell phone and re-evaluating that intense relationship.

I want you to wake up to your goals, not your cell phone!

I have a question for you. What’s the first thing that you do in the morning? For many, the answer to that question – even before they head to the bathroom – is to pick up their phone that is right next to them on their nightstand. However, as soon as you reach for your cell phone and check your emails and social media, you have said no to yourself and yes to everyone else. Your wake time is important for you. It’s a time to get yourself ready for the day ahead physically, mentally, and spiritually. When you say yes to yourself in the morning, you can be better equipped to serve others throughout the day.

Establish a “wake” time for your phone, and stick to it.

My wake time is after I finish my morning routine, which consists of my quiet time in prayer and the Word, journaling, and reading. Then I bring my phone along on my workout so I can listen to a podcast or music. I know some people who won’t go on their phone until noon, and I’d love to get to that point too, but for now, this is what works for me. I do sometimes put on praise and worship music softly on  my phone while I’m in my quiet time, but I didn’t start doing that until I created a habit of not checking anything else on my phone.

Plan a time or intention that works for you, and consistently follow it.

Then, before you grab your phone, take that time to focus on your goals and work on yourself in some way through your morning routine. You may only have 30 minutes, or maybe you get a couple hours of downtime in the morning, but use what you have. Don’t waste it. And, if right now you have no time for yourself in the morning, I encourage you to make time. Set your alarm for 15-30 minutes earlier. That’s it. You don’t have to spend hours, but it’s about being intentional to rise ahead of schedule and be present for yourself before the busy-ness of the day begins. 

This is also true for bedtime as well. Establish a routine to put your phone away (not in the bedroom) at least an hour before bed so you can decompress and be ready for a good night’s sleep. Cell phones can actually mess with your sleep, and it’s really not good to have them right next to you at night. I recently read Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson, and he talks in depth about this topic. I highly recommend this book, by the way! He shares about a study that was done on some test subjects, and when they were allowed to go to sleep, they ended up remaining awake twice as long after they had shut off their phones for the night. It took an hour after the cell phone radiation stopped playing with their brain waves for them to fall into a deeper level of sleep. This is a big deal! 

The argument I get to keeping your phone on your nightstand is that it’s your alarm clock.

Well, why does it have to be your alarm? How about getting one of those fancy old school clocks that have an alarm setting on them? I have a simple, small, battery-operated clock that I use as my alarm, and it works just great. I promise you won’t miss your phone alarm. 

The first thoughts you have in the morning and the last thoughts you have before bed matter!

If you start your day addressing everyone else’s needs rather than taking care of yourself and getting alone with God, you are in essence saying, “I know I have things that I want to accomplish, but I would much rather try to take care of them last when I’m stressed out, tired, and out of time.”

It matters that we fill ourselves up physically, mentally, and spiritually so we have something to give. Take the time you have. It could be just a short half hour, or it could be a couple hours, but don’t rush to that cell phone to check all your notifications. They will still be there later, I promise!

Here are a few tips for you to help minimize cell phone distractions:

1. Silence your phone while you’re being productive or put it out of sight and out of reach.

When I’m working or homeschooling, my phone is up on the top shelf of our pantry, and I actually forget I put it there! Sometimes I blame my little one for taking it, and the boys remind me where it is (then I have to apologize for my accusations).

2. Turn off notifications so it doesn’t alert you every time you get a call, text, tweet, email, etc.

I actually don’t have any notifications on my phone outside of a phone call or a text. Anything else, I have to go into the app to see what’s new. Those red notification bubbles are so distracting and addicting. Most people can’t just leave them unattended. Are you one of them? Or are you fine seeing those red bubbles and doing nothing about them?

3. Go into the settings on your phone and physically see how much time you are spending on specific apps.

It’s fairly enlightening, and it will alert you to how distractible you really are. While you’re in there, you can also add a time limit to your social apps, so it will alert you when you’ve hit the limit you allow for yourself. I set my time limit for an hour a day. You can override it if you really need to on certain days, but it’s nice to have that accountability built in.

4. Take social media off your phone.

If you have to access it on your computer, you will be less likely to be on it scrolling when you have “nothing to do.” How many of us in the short moments we have silence pull out our phones to check out what’s going on in Facebook or Instagram without giving much thought to it? Did you know quiet time is actually important for our minds? We need quiet time to think and process. White space is good! I download Instagram, post, check notifications, and then delete it – every day. I keep social media off my phone on the weekend because I want to be intentional with family time. 

5. Leave your phone in a different room for a period of time.

I promise you, if someone has an emergency, they will figure out a way to get a hold of you. Think about doing this when you want to be present with your kids or spouse, or when you want some downtime to relax and read, or just to get your mind off the online world.

Now that I’ve created these habits (and I’m not always good at it, I have my moments or days), many times I even forget my phone at home! On the weekends, when we are out and about, as long as I don’t need my camera setting, I do sometimes ditch my phone. My hubby has his, so we can be tracked down if needed. I find that the times I do this, I am more present with my kids and listening more intently than I would otherwise. 

It’s actually really freeing when you no longer are a slave to your phone!

It takes time to create these new habits, but I promise you, when all is said and done, and you’ve established a new routine, you will feel so free! You’ll begin to see life in technicolor again, see the small moments that matter, and not feel like you’re missing out online. 

Choose one of the habits from the list this week, and give it a try. Be intentional about it and see what happens. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I’d love to hear which habit you choose to work on, so take a screenshot of this episode and share on social with the hashtag #redhotwinner and tag me in your post! Or if you have implemented one of these tips into your life already, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you! You can also join me in the Mindful Mamas online community to dive deeper into topics just like this one as we hold each other accountable to live intentionally. 

Thank you for sticking with me today. I hope you found this Thursday Tidbits to be helpful and something you can implement in your life. 

Until next time! In all things I pray, you just run YOUR race. I believe in you.


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