App and social media companies use these three psychological mind hacks to keep you scrolling. Here is how they’re getting you hooked and some tips on wiser use of the tech in your life.


They’re calling it an ‘attention war’ – where big tech companies battle it out to keep you glued to your screens.

Our attention is now a commodity and the research shows we are paying a hefty price as our attention spans are wearing thin and we become more distracted and disconnected.

In this short video you’ll learn about ‘persuasive design’ and how clever design principles quietly influence your decisions every single day. When it comes to technology this can have some profound effects that keep us addicted to our phones and simultaneously reduce our quality of life as we lose hours of our day stuck to our screens.

Below I also give five simple tips for using technology more wisely.

1) Practice ‘Unit Tasking’. Studies show multitasking is actually a less efficient way to do things (1). When you use the computer, instead of having several different activities going on at once, put your focus on one activity at a time. This will keep your mind calmer and clearer.

2) Use the Sacred Pause. Each time you pick up a device, hear a beep, buzz or ping, or sit at your laptop it can be an opportunity for a short mini-meditation practice. Simply take one mindful breath in and out before you interact with the device.

3) Turn Off Push Notifications. Instead of having chimes and dings going off all the time you can turn off push notifications. This way YOU decide when to interact with your device instead of the other way around.

4) Track How Much Time You Spend on Your Phone (2). There are several apps that can help you become more aware of how much time you spend picking up your device every day and specifically how much time you’re spending on various apps and social media.

5) Scramble Your App Placement Regularly. When you’re in the habit of knowing where to find your apps, you end up clicking them out of habit. You can interrupt your habit-loop by shifting apps around, which in turn forces you to make a more conscious decision about where to place your focus next.



Melli O’Brien