Do you ever look up from your phone and feel exhausted when fifteen minutes prior you didn't? Is it easier to go back to queueing up listicles or YouTube videos than it is to refocus on work or school or motivate to take care of the adulting responsibilities waiting?
If you struggle to get out of the screen time black holes you get sucked into, you may be practicing junk flow and not even know it.
Junk flow impacts all of us from time to time, but the good news is that you can break out of this bad habit and get back to leading your life instead of your screen leading you.
What is Junk Flow?
Rather than resulting in quality output, junk flow is when you become focused on a portion of an activity that isn't beneficial or that pushes you to new heights. Instead of being "in the zone," you "zone out." The tricky thing is that while in junk flow, you may feel like you're accomplishing something only later to realize you've done nothing but spin your wheels.
How Does it Impact You?
Simply put, junk flow can be considered a waste of time. Instead of working toward goals and on meaningful activities that add to your life, junk flow detracts from it. After engaging in junk flow, feelings of laziness and a diminished sense of accomplishment often follow and can lead to periods of prolonged procrastination.
Your relationships and self-concept may also be impacted if you find yourself unable to complete the dull or complex tasks we all have to take on sometimes because of being consistently lost in binges of unproductive screen time. It can be frustrating for the people we live or work with that feel they're constantly picking up the slack we leave behind.
What to Do
Break it Down
If you find yourself drifting in your workflow and losing focus to distractions like social media and entertainment, consider giving yourself smaller increments of time to work in and shorter time for rewards. The Pomorodo technique is a method where you work for a specified period, then take a tiny break--whether it's to grab a new cup of coffee or listen to a song you love while looking out the window--before jumping back into your work feeling rewarded and refreshed.
Be diligent with the time on and off during this technique. It can help you stay out of junk flow and ensure productivity.
Know Your Limits
Set limits to help you stay out of junk flow. Apple products offer Screen Time. It lets you select specific applications to limit the amount of time you spend on your device each day. Android devices offer similar tools. There are also plugins for Google Chrome and other browsers, smart speakers, and the timer function on your clock app.
When you're alerted that you've reached your screen time limit, you're faced with a choice: to ignore the limit you set for yourself or to honor it. Either way, you will be making a conscious decision.
Fight the Suck with Planournals
Junk flow may be your worst enemy, but it doesn't have to stay that way.
We've created a simple yet powerful tool to help you battle junk flow: the planournal.
Our Planournals can help you track your important goals, set up deadlines, note how many successful work periods you had for the day with Pomodoro, and keep track of junk flow. Approaching your life with intent helps you recognize junk flow and implement more positive habits.
Fight the Suck.