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:

  1. sit down to do some work
  2. hit a roadblock
  3. go to youtube.com and see what the algorithm would like to push into my brain
  4. 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:

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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

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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.

ACTION ITEMS

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.