Kicking your internet habit: how to increase productivity and procrastinate less.
Ever needed to go on a digital detox? Shea Evans shares his experiences with switching off from the time-sucks that are some websites.
So I recently blocked myself from Reddit and YouTube. It seemed I couldn’t begin an assignment (or a Yak article) without first browsing r/worldnews for two hours so I cut the cord.
While I initially felt like an alcoholic asking to be banned from my favourite pub, I’m a few weeks into my detox now and I can tell you it’s been worth it. If, like me, you’re becoming unhappy with how much time you sink into irrelevant internet browsing, fear not. Admitting your procrastination problem is the first step, and there are a surprising amount of resources available to assist you in getting back on track.
The Parental Blocker:
With parental blocking, censoring your access to websites has never been more simple. Using the parental controls on your device, you’ll find it a cinch to restrict content. Act like a concerned parent and treat yourself like a vulnerable child, it’s very straightforward. Just access your controls via settings, or, if you’re a Chrome user, download a parental control extension and away you go.
The cons of this option are that the ease with which you can ban yourself means that it’s also easy to un-ban yourself. This one suits the casual user but proves less effective for the hardcore addict.
If you’re not up for going full nuclear, but still want to be denied access to those sweet, sweet rabbit holes, then Productivity Owl is the extension for you. With this you get all the fun of a cute and sarcastic little owl who appears in the corner of every website you haven’t designated as ‘allowed’. The owl appears with a timer, and when the clock runs out it flies up and closes the page. This is great for getting a little hit of your favourite subreddit without falling completely off the wagon, and the owl’s demeaning comments make you think about your life more seriously which is good.
The only downside to this one is that the owl appears on every page not listed as allowed. With Productivity Owl you need to get in and get out or refresh your browser twenty times.
I’m not sure why blocking extensions are all named after birdlife, but this handy program is the one I’ve chosen to go with. With Cold Turkey, you can ban yourself from whole lists of websites, and dictate to the minute how long the ban lasts for. It’s impossible to undo your ban once it’s been set, though you can include breaks between certain hours before you set it. If you try to access any of your banned sites, an inspiring message will appear instead and politely remind you to return to work. Mine for today is from the Dalai Lama: “remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” Pretty sagely advice there, your royal Lama-ness.
Downsides for this bad-boy are that you can’t access a site if you change your mind later and decide you need it, you have to commit to the ban. I haven’t seen the Deadpool 2 trailer because it’s impossible for me to use YouTube, I can’t even watch an embedded YouTube link on another website. This is slightly annoying in the long run, but I still feel it’s worth it.
All in all, I really feel much better since I’ve restricted my internet access. I’m more productive, and I also feel less like a vegetable. Sure I might be less informed about the intricacies of the world’s pop culture but who cares? A lot of its trivial and you don’t need to be 100% up to date with it. You’ll have more room in your life if you’re not, and you’ll feel lighter.
Whether it’s via parental controls, an annoying owl, or just straight up cold turkey, if you find yourself thinking ‘man I spend way too much time on here and it’s useless’ then do something about it. I feel like I’ve kicked the habit, the urge to browse Reddit and YouTube are gone (at least until the 31st) and I feel more positive about life in general. The sun is shining and the weather is sweet… though I might have to ban myself from Listverse now as well.
Feature image: Sim Hamisi