Durable Human (2 book series)

3 Reasons To Use an Alarm Clock Instead of Your Phone

Lots of us are in the habit of using our phone as an alarm clock. It’s likely we also jump directly down the rabbit hole of reading whatever arrived during the night. By doing that, we can actually prime ourselves to feel rushed for the rest of the day. Switching to a good old-fashioned alarm clock can help to:

Carpe Diem Just like at any other time, when you look at your phone in the morning, you’re flooded with status updates, email, and pleas from destitute princes. Once out of bed, outside forces—whether the kids, the dog, or the boss—begin to determine the course of your day. If you don’t grab your phone right off, you can take a few minutes to think through a plan of action. You can seize the day, rather than letting the day seize you.

Dwell in the Positive As human animals, we are attuned to potential danger. That’s why we worry more about predatory co-workers than about getting sun at lunchtime. But if we dwell on a positive feeling or thought for at least 10 seconds, we can train our brains to have a more upbeat outlook, says Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. That’s why it pays to spend a little time basking in that cozy, warm wake-up feeling before you do anything else.

Love the One You’re With For couples, one of the biggest beefs is that mates pay more attention to their phones than to they do to each other. But as it says in The Durable Human Manifesto: Practical Wisdom for Living and Parenting in the Digital World, “If it were possible to bottle a hug, it could be sold as a combination muscle relaxant, tranquilizer and love potion.” So take your medicine and reach out to the person next to you. It can do wonders for your day—and your relationship .

For the launch of “Listen To Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now”—an anthology including a story I wrote about my mom—I stayed in Brooklyn’s new Aloft Hotel. Besides the price and pristine bathrooms, I loved the smart little touches, like the powder blue alarm clock plugged in next to the bed. The “retro” design is just as functional as it is funky.

Alarm clocks do a fine job waking you up, but they also help you to be more durable in the busy digital world. Because they tell you the time and nothing else, they allow what happens next in your day to be up to you.

To learn more about how to embrace your own nature as you live in harmony with your technology, take a look at How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design.

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Totally agree, though for me the main reason isn’t getting up in the morning – it’s not having the phone next to me for that last hour or so at night.

The downside is that I have an alarm clock app on the iPhone that I love (“Progressive Alarm Clock”) – it sounds a nice Tibetan chime, at first very softly and then progressively louder. This is pleasing, but more importantly, wakes me up without waking my wife. I haven’t found a physical alarm clock that I like that has this feature, especially without also having a light involved, which I don’t want.


Another solution just occurred to me that is so obvious I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before: I can take one of our old “retired” iPhones, disable everything I can and leave off all of those tempting apps, and use it for nothing but running that alarm clock app.


Exactly. I would charge it in the kitchen, which is what I do on the (sadly few) days when I don’t need an alarm. Also, I have the beeps turned off, use “do not disturb” mode, and silence everything but the alarm clock at night.


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