Isn’t it ironic that there are apps designed to help us navigate our addiction to the digital world? Fight fire with fire, I guess.
Anyway, as mentioned in previous posts (here for instance), it is entirely impossible for me to use willpower or self-control to manage the time and energy I spend on mindless online activities.
The brain wants to avoid discomfort as much as possible so it will coax us back to the couch, our screens and comfort. In comparison to digital distractions, everything else seems to require far too much effort.
It is simply too enticing to be idle and scroll through easy entertainment for instant gratification than to get up and do things that require effort, no matter how beneficial they may be.
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If left to my impulses, I will be glued to my screens all day long to avoid real-life duties and responsibilities. I would have zero space in my life, mentally or otherwise, to do the things I find worthwhile and want to do.
The solution to minimizing my digital addiction has been using external control, namely apps and browser extensions, to support my journey towards digital wellness. These apps have been monumental in changing my relationship to the digital world and minimizing the effects of the attention economy in my day-to-day life.
Since I use Apple products, the list will be limited to iOS devices but there are alternatives for Android users than can be discovered with a quick Google search.
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Three digital wellness apps I recommend
It’s not the first time I have mentioned this app. It is the holy grail of all the digital wellness apps available, in my opinion at least. What I really like about this app is that once you set it on, there is no way around it but to wait until the time is up to access the websites you have blocked. Of course, you can simply stare at a wall until then, but it is a wonderful thing to discover what the brain finds interesting, or ztat least less agitating, to do when there are no easy distractions around to lessen the boredom and existential despair we may feel.
DF Tube (Distraction Free for YouTube). When I realized I was reading the comment section of YouTube videos to form an opinion before I even watched the video itself (and then stopped watching the videos all together), I knew something had to change. Before I discovered DF Tube, I was using Hide YouTube Comments, an extension that disabled the comment section on YouTube. It was wonderful! I spent less time reading comments and was able to form my own opinion on whatever I watched.
However, DF Tube takes it to the next level by allowing you to disable your homepage, recommendations, sidebar, and comments on YouTube. This means, no more going down the YouTube rabbit hole. You know, when what started out as a video for a DIY project turns into two hours deep into soap scrapping sound videos. Wtf is all that about, anyway!? Just saying.
Thanks to DF Tube, I now get to skip all the distractions on YouTube. I simply go on my subscriptions page, which is curated with all things I find interesting, instead of being sidetracked and distracted by recommendations and trending videos.
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In a perfect day, I have SelfControl on with all distracting website blocked and Safari restricted so I have zero access to time-wasting websites. This leaves me with two options: 1) find other things to do or 2) stare at the wall.
I usually find other things to do, things that are more rewarding and satisfying. Things that add to my life in a positive way. In a small way, like doing the dishes right away or, the big things, like writing more.
Until next time… 🙂