The Sitch

Recent studies suggest that the average adult spends 5.9 hours per day hooked into digital media.

Some of this is for work-related reasons; some legitimately because cell phones are becoming the communication tool of choice.

An increasingly high percentage of this tech time, though, is “the endless scroll.”

You know what that is, right?

The relentless scrolling through page, image, site, meme, clip, soundbyte or gif between the OTHER stuff you have to do on a device.

It looks like this:

Your car pool is coming so you check in with social media. Twenty minutes later you’re still standing curbside swiping past acquaintances’ workouts, recipes, and Trumpisms without breaking past the veneer of your brain.

Or you’re waiting for lunch to arrive. Your table partner and you are in separate iPhone “booths” catching the latest gossip on social media, not a word between you.

Or you’re pretty sure you don’t want to spend your evening snuggled with Instagram on the couch, but you wake up and there you are…still on your feed.

Try This Instead — the #6wordrescue

Here’s a simple way to wake your mind, create, and possibly springboard back into participatory living.

And it starts with your device.

1. Head anywhere on your digital media: text messages, Twitter, a news feed,, wherever.

2. Pick one word that captures your attention for whatever reason.

3. In exactly six words, write a complete thought that either includes that word or is inspired by that word.

That’s It

You can record these in a note on your phone, on paper with a writing utensil, or simply by composing them in your head.

The point is that you are thinking and creating with words and ideas instead of whisking past them or being numbed by them.

Expect insight.

Expect memories.

Expect to feel.

Expect ideas that will give you direction, incentive, and something indelible to do with your time.

Expect to like this.

Trust the Process

Your brain is eager to resolve stuff.

It lives to make connections.

Putting words to an idea that already has some kind of meaning for you is a perfect, compact way to farm your intelligence.

Here are a few examples of how this has worked for me and some colleagues who’ve been playing the game.

I’ll share the “spark word” first (the one that stood out and was selected), the six word sentence or thought, and — in a few cases — what resulted from the whole experience.


When people stand tall, I admire.


Be ok influencing, not controlling, outcomes.


My nieces infuse soft, sweet cheer.

(This person was reminded to include children in her life to restore positivity.)


That kiss promised more of everything.

(This memory contributed to determination to make a relationship work.)


Hope keeps my personal planet steady.


My destiny is to outlive problems.

(New resolve to keep trying to find solutions to some persistent challenges.)


This simple, six-word practice can break the numbing, sometimes corrosive habit of feeding our life-attention deficit some additional “noise” from devices.

It will possibly lead to breakthroughs, as it did for my friends and me.

At the very least, it can suggest something better to do.

At its very best, this simple exercise lets you take back some of the time absorbed by digital media and adds quality of thought to your life.

To keep in mind:

Growth usually starts with awareness. Something happens in your life and you realize there is something to do about it. Sometimes it is when you become exhausted of your old habits where you then observe all the dislikes in your life and you begin living more consciously. You realize that you have a choice in every matter. That your life becomes that which you focus on and that at any time you can assert your personal will power to become what you want to be and not become what the outside circumstances may attempt to mold you into.
 — Jason Micheal Ratliff

Friendly Challenge:

Do the exercise, and come back here to report.

Maybe even give it a while to see what comes.

Maybe share this article, along with your #6wordrescue, where you tend to post. I think it could inspire others.

I’ll be looking forward to your six words.

Thanks for reading,

Originally published at


  • Heather Burton

    educator, writer, whole foodie, coach, wistful idealist. Keeping it real {to make it better}.

    My life is pretty glorious and messy: nine awesome kids, working mom (teacher), writer, struggling member of the 5 am Club, believer. I'm thinking "life awkwardness empathy" should probably be my unique value proposition -- if it weren't so long and awkward. Did I mention my messiness loves company?