I got a new phone this summer and made the decision to set the charger on my dresser across the room. I used to keep it right next to me when I slept and told myself that I needed to hear if one of my family members called or texted in the middle of the night (which rarely happened). That one little change has kept me from looking at my phone when I wake up in the middle of the night. I still keep my ringer and text notifications on so I can hear the phone if I need to, I just no longer obsessively check the phone.
A University College London study shows that we intrinsically take the path of least resistance (a.k.a., we are lazy). Indeed, moving my phone charger across the room has made it much more difficult to pick it up and check it. But this intrinsic laziness is a really good thing for me because I am sleeping better than I have in a long time, my screen usage is significantly reduced, and I feel appropriately productive most days!
If you are trying to change a behavior, you can use laziness to work for you, too.
Tip #1: Use Laziness and Make Things More Difficult
My "phone across the room" trick makes it more difficult to quickly check my phone. I have used this with snacks - keeping things at the top of my highest cabinet or keeping Halloween candy in my car (which only works when the weather is cool). This makes it much more difficult to mindlessly snack. I moved my social media apps from my home screen into a folder on my phone. It literally only takes a second more to open Facebook, for instance, but it is enough that it has helped curtail scrolling feeds.
Tip #2: Use Laziness and Make Things Easier
When I started a morning meditation practice, I created a morning routine on my Amazon Echo. The light turns on at 5:30 and ocean waves start playing for 5 minutes. I breathe in and out to the ocean waves for those 5 minutes. (It's a great way to start the day, by the way). The routine made it much easier - it happens daily, the light from my lamp is gentle, the timer is set automatically for 5 minutes. I've used this in other ways, too. If I want to eat more vegetables, I will buy pre-cut veggies. When I want to exercise in the morning, I will wear my socks to bed because, for some reason, socks seem to be my greatest sticking point for exercising! Chefs even have a word for this: mise en place. Everything is organized and prepared before cooking. My husband and I also automate our savings. With each paycheck, we automatically deposit a set amount of money into our savings account and retirement accounts. There are entire career paths that are devoted to making things easier - businesses call this efficiency and productivity.
“Laziness is the first step toward efficiency.” Patrick Bennett
"Laziness" doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, I'd love to hear how you make laziness work for you!