Minimizing Distractions

Sometimes it's seems like the only goal of most websites is to keep you distracted. They present you with endless stream of content. Related links try to bait you to click and read yet another meaningless article or watch yet another video. My solution is to block these distracting elements. Basically I am able to view the content itself but I won't see any links to related content.

Another method is block distracting websites themselves. However this is not always possible and it doesn't always work for me.

Now I will go over my top distracting websites and explain how I tried to minimize those distractions.

YouTube

There are two major distracting elements on YouTube. First your subscriptions. If you're subscribed to a lot channels you will be tempted to watch their new content or just to check if someone released something new. Go over your subscriptions and unsubscribe from distracting channels. You don't have to be a monk, you don't have to unsubscribe from all channels that you like to watch. It's all about discipline and self control.

Second. Recommended / related videos. They are everywhere. On the front page, in the sidebar, at the end of the video etc. To hide them I use two Chrome extensions:

I have set them up so that I don't see any related videos in the sidebar as well as at the end of the video and I have hidden my feed from the front page

Facebook

For me the biggest issue with Facebook was the endless stream of content from pages I clicked "like" some time ago that I don't really care about anymore. So I decided to "unlike" every single page. However doing this manually would take forever. Fortunately there is Toolkit For Facebook Chrome extension which allows you to "unlike" all the pages. It does not remove you from groups where you are a member. Another great extension is News Feed Eradicator for Facebook. As it's name suggests it hides your news feed. You can still see your notifications or messages but your feed is empty.

Reddit

Reddit is that sort of website where I can easily spend hours and hours. The first thing you see on Reddit is the front page where all the posts from your subscriptions are. Go over your subscriptions and unsubscribe from all time wasting subreddits. If you use Reddit Enhancement Suite disable Never Ending Reddit. Next go to Reddit preferences and change the number of links to load to something like 10. Similarly lower the number of comments to load. I have it set to 50. You can always load new comments or go to the next page but it's just a little bit more difficult.

News

Now for something a little bit different. We often feel like we have to follow the news to be informed. But let's be honest. How many newsworthy stories are there every day? And how many of them remain newsworthy after a few days? A week? And how many of them directly affect you? I would be amazed if your last number was higher than two. So there aren't many newsworthy stories anyway. On top of that chances are that you will learn those really important news regardless. People will talk about it on the streets, it will be all over social media, your friends will mention it etc. There are a lot of ways you will learn the important news without directly following the news.

Conclusion

None of these methods are foolproof. None of them works 100%. I still do spent time on Reddit. I still do watch (and occasionally binge-watch) YouTube videos. But I do it a lot less than before. In the end it's not about becoming perfect. It's about moderation.