How to cull all distractions
Now I’m a bit extreme in this regard, but every time I notice myself repeating some kind of behaviour that I’ve deemed distracting, I’ll experiment with things to cut it from my life.
In general, I find it’s FAR better to change my environment to make a certain behaviour harder, than it is to just willpower my way through it.
I’ll walk you through some examples of what I’ve done so it’ll hopefully click better.
#1 - Mindlessly browsing YouTube
The pattern would look something like:
- sit down to do some work
- hit a roadblock
- go to youtube.com and see what the algorithm would like to push into my brain
- waste hours of my life jumping from one recommended video to the next
I’d probably average around 2-3 hours of this every day.
The main thing I did was install the Distraction Free YouTube (DF Tube) extension to hide the recommended side bar + home page.
Change the environment, change the behaviour.
It took me a while to break the habit. Occasionally I’d disable the extension and slip back into my old ways. But eventually I got to where I am today.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I went on a YouTube binge, and it’s hilarious to me that I actually used to do that. It is so far removed from my day-to-day life now that I don’t even think about it.
Here’s what my home page looks like:
YouTube is now a tool I use (not the inverse).
#2 - Twitter doomscrolling
A similar thing here. I just use a different extension: News Feed Eradicator
NOTE: A fallback for anything on the web
If an extension doesn’t get rid of it, I fallback to using uBlock origin’s “Element Picker Mode” to zap anything else that I find derailing my train of thought. (like the YouTube subscriptions button, trending, twitter’s account “recommendations”, etc)
#3 - Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, etc
Just fucking delete it from your phone and never look back.
If that doesn’t work (and you’re a bit extreme like me), I deleted it from my thought process entirely by literally requesting to delete the Instagram account itself.
For messaging people, I now just use WhatsApp.
#4 - Discord
I noticed myself checking it a lot, wanting to reply to pings, DMs, see what’s new, etc.
But I was using it for communicating with a handful of people who I work with.
So I just made a new account and signed out of the old one. Simple.
The things that distract you will probably be different, but the core idea here is the same.
- pay attention to and list out things you’re doing that you don’t actually want to be doing
- methodically run experiments to remove them from your life
I’ve gained hours upon hours of free time back that I now spend on the things that I actually enjoy.
Instead of just consuming some fleeting piece of content that has been rammed down my throat.