"Is this making me smarter?"

Like everyone else, I sometimes spend too much time on social media. When I realize how much time has passed, I immediately feel regret.

Usually it starts off innocently. You’re at an impasse with your work, and you need a quick distraction to take a break. So you open Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. It’s pretty much downhill from there. It’s mindless post after post.

There are times when you want to zone out and be entertained by memes and viral videos. By all means, go for it. But sometimes you want to catch yourself and stop the cycle of mindlessly consuming content.

Here’s a litmus test for whether you should continue reading (or scrolling or watching a video):

“Is this making me smarter?”

Or the opposite:

“Is this making me dumber?”

A lot of click-bait articles, random videos, spammy Facebook ads, and vitriolic flame wars might actually make you dumber.

When my partner sees me scrolling, he’ll say, “Is this making you smarter?” Most of the time the answer is a definite no. The same is true vice versa when I ask him. It's a great way to keep each other mindful of whether we're scrolling on auto-pilot.

Your brain is precious. Fill it with stuff that is going to make it better (or at least not worse).