Simple Life Hack - less mindless scrolling

Do you feel the urge to check your phone every once in a while (or like every other minute)? Read on, I've got a simple hack for you!

Ilona T

10/29/20202 min read

Do you often find yourself mindlessly scrolling social media on your phone when you were supposed to "take a quick look" on something important?

Do you feel the urge to check your phone every once in a while (or like every other minute)?

Do you feel guilty for giving more attention to your phone than your kids, spouse, or other loved ones?

Would you like to stop yourself when you're about to open your phone and go down the rabbit hole?

If you answered "YES!" to any of these questions, read on, I've got a simple trick for you!

I've been addicted to my phone and the quick and easy dopamine mindless scrolling releases in my brain. I've felt overwhelmingly guilty for not being mindfully present with my kids. This has been a theme I've worked with my therapist and she introduced me to the concept of urge surfing. It's a brilliant but simple technique where you aim to become aware of the urge to repeat an addictive behavior and mindfully observe how it feels in your body, what kind of thought patterns the urge triggers and how long it takes for the urge to dissipate when you don't act on it.

The trick is to catch yourself before you act on the urge, which can be the hardest part of the process as we are often on autopilot and not really mindful of what our hands are doing. All too often I've had my hands pick up my phone and open Facebook or Instagram without me really being aware of it and when something wakes me up from the trance of mindless scrolling - zap - an hour has passed. An hour that I could've spent with something more meaningful like being present with my kids or working to get closer to my goals.

This is what I came up with and wanted to share with you, in case it would help you, too:

Seeing something different or unexpected helps you snap out of autopilot and be mindful so I figured a new lock screen wallpaper would help. I made a few different ones so I can change as soon as I become accustomed to the one in use.

So far they have helped me alot. When my autopilot grabs the phone and is about to sign in, I wake up when I see the lock screen wallpaper and just turn the screen off and put the phone away. And what's most important, I smile and cheer myself: "Well done, you saved X minutes of your life for more important things!" Making sure you get a happy feeling, when you snap out of autopilot and act against your urge, makes you more prone to repeat this mindful behavior more often.

If I really need to check something on my phone, the wallpaper reminds me to be mindful and do just what I came there to do. Sometimes, when I feel especially prone to get sidetracked, I even keep repeating out loud the task I need to do, eg. "check the weather forecast, check the weather forecast, ..."!

Here they are! Just click/tap on the pic to open it in full size, save it on your phone and change the wallpaper from the phone settings.