Fifty years ago, Simon & Garfunkel wrote an anthem that is as relevant today as it was back in the Summer of Love: 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy). The opening lyrics are a signifier of our relentless, 24/7 digitally driven culture:
Slow down, you move too fast; you got to make the morning last …
It’s hard to feel groovy when the first thing you see each day is a barrage of texts, emails, and notifications heaping on your already crushing lists of to-dos. And yet, according to a recent report by IDC Research, 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning.
The slow morning movement is emerging as an antidote to our frenzied, tech-induced pace. Proponents — including Jeff Bezos, who spends his mornings “puttering” — ditch devices in order to ease into the day.
A wake-up call from your exhausted brain
A daily digital detox each morning may just be jolt you need in the morning to lead a happier, more productive life. But don’t confuse slow mornings with sleeping in and hitting the snooze button one time too many.
The idea is to consciously choose to idle a bit before facing the virtual onslaught that kicks your day into high gear. Neuroscience says that your brain needs that kind of break in order to retain and process new information.
The way you fill that time is up to you — it can be anything from indulging in a morning ritual like journaling, reading, meditating, making a healthy breakfast, exercising, or even doing nothing at all.
Slow and low, that is the tempo
Whatever you do, the key to slow mornings is not rushing. Just as runners know, a gradual ramp-up from the starting line is the best way to build stamina, resilience, and endurance.
It’s also a game changer for your work performance. Geir Berthelsen, founder of the Norweigen think tank The World Institute of Slowness, advocates for intentional slowness in the morning as an essential way to spark creativity:
Business leaders need to take time to forget about time, and that helps them be creative when they arrive at work. That’s the goal of doing this before going into the workplace.
The best part about slow mornings is you don’t have to worry that you’re going to fall behind if you don’t hit the ground running. There’s a ton of scientific evidence that places our peak productivity sweet spot at around four hours a day.
Devoting your early hours to enjoy some uninterrupted time to yourself actually sets the scene for you to be more focused, calm and, well, feelin’ groovy all day long.
- What’s the Rush? The Power of a Slow Morning (Wall Street Journal)
- Why Slow Mornings May Be the Secret to Tech-Life Balance (Medium’s Elemental)