Mindlessly scrolling on social media is a habit we have all created. Have many times have you opened Instagram or TikTok for a quick squiz only to spend an hour mindlessly consuming content?
When it comes to your screen time, there are ways you can inject a little mindfulness in order to reduce falling into the scrolling vortex.
Neurologist David Perlmutter, M.D., and his son, internal medicine physician Austin Perlmutter, M.D., have created a trick to help you do just that and it’s called the test of T-I-M-E.
Appearing on a recent episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, the father and son duo explained how their mental checklist, which is broken down into four parts, helps you stay present when it comes to screentime.
Time: The first part of the checklist is time — when you open your phone to complete a test, ask yourself how much time you’re willing to spend on the task? And are the platforms that you’re spending time on helpful to you completing the task?
With access to so much information and content at your fingertips, it’s easy to fall into mindless scrolling. So, giving yourself a deadline to complete the task can help stop yourself falling into this behaviour.
Intentional: Next up on the checklist is intentional. What is your goal of being online right now? Is it intentional? Scrolling can be used as a safety blanket when you’re in an uncomfortable situation or if you’re experiencing boredom. If you happen to find yourself scrolling, ask yourself the purpose of the activity. Is it helpful or are you simply trying to avoid the current moment?
Mindfulness: The third part of the T-I-M-E test is mindfulness and it’s pretty straightforward. How often are you mindful when online? Do you stay on task or are you distracted by social media, emails and advertisements that pop up? Recognising this behaviour will help you stop it in its tracks.
Experience: And finally, experience. David and Austin recommend viewing your Internet use as an experience — as opposed to a mindless activity — as it might make you feel less stressed about screentime when you’re finished. Ask yourself this: aas your time spent scrolling a positive experience? Do you feel satisfied and enriched when you put your phone down? The answers to these questions will help determine what you view as a positive or negative scrolling experience.