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Stop Wasting Time Online (Fight Your YouTube Addiction)

Somewhat regrettably, I have wasted many miserable years of my life, wasting time online. In this article, I will show you how I eventually brought an end to this madness—setting myself free!

A person wasting time online by using Social Media

Before that happens, rank yourself on a scale of 1–10 based on how well this reflects you:

Due to the endless streams of distractions, wasting time online is seemingly inevitable for me. Accordingly, I have difficulty trying to exercise discipline so I can pursue greater things in life.

For example, as soon as I finish reading an article/watching a video, I am immediately tempted by the related content. Similarly, my feed is continuously begging for my bounded attention. I, therefore, waste countless hours binging on online content, which ultimately wrecks my life.

If this brief description sounds like you, then I would like to invite you to at least try my system. That is to say, give it a mere test run before reviewing the results.

The Internet is Against You, Yet It Wants to Help You

To clarify the above, the fundamental problem is that websites are maliciously designed to squeeze every ounce of attention out of us; for we are living in a backwards society wherein attention is the currency.

Of course, that—in itself—isn’t a major issue, but the fact that people are weak against attention retention strategies is. You, however, can overcome the impulsive lure of content.

I’ll tell you how to stop wasting time online due to the tempting spiral of cancerous content consumption.

From experience, I can verify that finding yourself spending unproductive hours on end is just plain misery. And we don’t want that! On the contrary, happiness is exactly what you can achieve if you stop wasting time online.

In the event that you have already read this useful article, you should be well-acquainted with the 3rd tip: Use online resources solely as a tool, as opposed to a time-drain.

Read this before moving on: My 3 Miracle Secrets to Absorb Knowledge [Super Quickly!]

Many bookshelves filled with stacks of books

In other words, the first thing you ought to do is filter your resources, something which is described more in the article above. As a result, your only online sources should be those which:

  • Firstly, bring you long-term happiness.
  • Secondly, help you achieve your goals.
  • Thirdly, allow you to live a meaningful life.

Otherwise, you could follow the advice in this article yet persist in wasting time online! So, make sure you get this step ironed out prior to moving on.

Also, as a brief disclaimer, I cannot guarantee that you will suddenly stop your content-consuming addictions and whatnots. After all, the journey to ultimate productivity is an excruciatingly long battle, and my system represents one step closer.

Prerequisites—Stop Wasting Time Online with Todoist

In order to fully take advantage of my system, the next thing you must do is use a list manager; any will do. In this example, though, we will choose to use Todoist, which is exactly what I use.

Todoist can help manage your projects and things you need to do hence helping you stop wasting time online.

On the other hand, alternatives such as Evernote might work. Although, Todoist offers certain advantages over other pieces of software thanks to specific features, including:

  • Being able to prioritise to-dos.
  • A tree-like structure for organising to-dos.
  • The convenience of the free browser extension (which you can obtain here).

For this reason, Todoist is fundamental in what I like to call my “Content Prescription” system. Now that you have Todoist installed on your computer or whatever device you are using, do the following:

How to Set Up Todoist with The Content Prescription Methodology

Firstly, create a project in the left, named whatever you like (“Content Prescription”, in my case).

Secondly, identify the main categories which constitute those of your selected sources of authority. Provided that you have filtered your sources effectively, these categories should mostly be positive and to your advantage; something you’re not ashamed of, that is to say.

Thirdly, add these categories as individual sub-projects of the initial Content Prescription project. These should be indented, to clarify.

My content precription masterplan organises content into distinct categories to help me stop wasting time online

Then, once we get to the meaty part of this article, you will see how these projects you’ve created act as the dividers of content.

Related juiciness: 7 Online Productivity Tools: Never Waste Your Time Again

As you can see in my example, I have deliberately included two additional projects among which I can distribute content:

A “Maybe useful” Category

Alas, the days of countless people wasting time online makes it difficult for people like you and me to sift through the stuff.

For instance, there are a plethora of issues regarding the decision of whether to add something to your list (discussed later). Namely, the ambiguity of titles and representative images can, at times, make it impossible to categorise content.

Examples of content that is maybe useful includes product recommendations and other lists
Examples of content I’ve put under this category.

Consequently, this category is for content which doesn’t necessarily fit into the aforementioned life-changing categories. That being said, I do require it this type of content to have the potential of delivering something super-useful.

The only thing classifying it as having low priority, though, is that uncertainty.

A “Low impact/general learning” Category

Sometimes, you might come across something that doesn’t exactly have any direct influence on your goals. Albeit, it might be the sort of stuff that is good to boost your general knowledge.

To demonstrate, online science content could fit right under this category. Something like this may not actually improve your life such that it should be prioritised. However, it broadens your brain, and perhaps someday extensive accumulation of science knowledge might pay off.

(But, then again, you don’t know that.)

General learning content includes SpaceX related videos and other scientific wonders
Examples of content that would otherwise have caused me to waste my time online.

It’s closer to being entertainment, but it is not purely entertainment—so you’re not entirely wasting time online. Consider it the “happiness factor”.

In fact, I’ve deliberately excluded such an “entertainment” category; if an article/video were to be entertaining, it might as well have something to learn from it.

Next, here is the plan which you would like to implement:

Step 1: Load Your Content Once Per Week (Make a Routine)

Firstly, it is imperative that you carve out some time each week for harvesting your content. Most importantly, this should be the only time of the week when you have access to your YouTube feed, or whatever it may be.

Free complementary wisdom: Should You Have Faith in Online Calendars? [Kill Procrastination]

Equally, it should be a sacred moment within the definitive framework of a well-established routine; Make it a habit. So, fill out the following:

I will only check my media feeds on a [insert day of the week] at [insert time of day] for the sole purpose of loading up my content prescription.

To exemplify, every Saturday at 17:30—as part of a “shutdown” routine, after the self-enforced working hours.

This is where the features of Todoist start to become rather handy. If you haven’t already, grab the Todoist browser extension.

Subsequently, you will find that an “Add to Todoist” button appears in your (right-click) context menu for a website. Upon clicking this button, the current webpage will be added to your Todoist inbox.

Adding a sweet Cryptic Butter video to Todoist to stop wasting time online at the present moment
Payment the butter at the Cryptic Butter YouTube channel.

I must also point out that this might not be the only time when harvesting content is necessary. For example, I advise a dedicated time of the day when you are allowed to start opening emails.

However, this is a potential opportunity to waste time online by watching videos linked to by your email subscriptions. Therefore, feel free to add that to Todoist as well, but don’t bother categorising it until the dedicated time of the week.

Also, be selective, and only add content to Todoist which you think will truly benefit you.

Step 2: Prioritise and Categorise Your Added Content

Secondly, having made ample use of that brilliant Todoist extension, your content will appear in Todoist’s Inbox view.

Don’t be tempted to drag these into their appropriate categories just yet; prior to that, something sneaky which I like to do is note the length of each video. Only taking a few seconds, this could potentially save me valuable time in the future when planning my daily content.

In order to do this, simply right-click, edit, and insert the video length preceding the URL. The format of my preference involves a single, rounded number of minutes in that video. This straightforward approach consequently makes it easy to add and compare video times.

Put the number of minutes in a video before the URL in a task to save time when selecting content

Next, right-click and give each item a priority based on how urgent (and important) you believe it is. This will similarly save you plenty of decision-making time as soon as we get to Step 4.

A task's priority can be modified in the context menu

Moving on, drag each item into their respective category (or, rather, “project”) in the left pane. Also, try not to go from wasting time online to wasting time organising: this should be rather simple, especially if you have one or two general categories (e.g. “Maybe useful”).

Above all, it doesn’t truly matter whether it’s in the right or wrong category—it’s better than nothing. Better than before this system was born. Live with it.

Step 3: Do Not Waste Time Online Until Your “Relaxing/Thinking Time”

Wasting time online becomes shockingly easy when your day is as ambiguous as the meaning of life itself. So, it’s only in your best interest to plan your day deliberately.

Live a meaningful life: How to Save Your Time: The Most Powerful Planning Routine

Moreover, this entails distinguishing between your working hours as well as your relaxing hours. To clarify, your relaxing time should probably still be productive, but be less demanding. Perhaps, for instance, it could involve less important work that presents a benefit in its own right.

In addition, ensure that your relaxing time is the last part of your day and is sufficiently long (within reason). Certainly, insufficient time to relax and disconnect from intense work can be devastatingly consequential.

Subsequently, within this daily relax time, allocate a sum of time to consuming content from your subscription. Don’t worry too much, as this can be vaguely variable; the exact amount of time, in reality, is utterly unpredictable at times.

I, personally, allocate approximately half an hour’s worth of content each day. (Nevertheless, I watch videos at around 2× speed or more, so I seldom spend that much time from this type of continuous education.)

Learning how to stop wasting your time online is like trying to stop a train single-handedly.
It takes more than one hand to stop a train single-handedly.

Step 4: Pre-Determine Content at the Start of Each Day

Give yourself something to look forward to at the beginning of your self-imposed working hours. It’s easier to avoid wasting time online with the assistance of a clearly defined schedule. Therefore, why shouldn’t you schedule exactly what content you are going to consume in a given day?

Typically, I build this straight into my “Begin Work” routine, since it is quick, easy, and effortless. Well, at least it should be all three of those said qualities.

When making decisions as to what content to allocate for today, remember just one thing: that you do not need to consume any piece of content in the list.

Once you conquer that, you will find it much easier to make decisions, knowing that they are of little significance.

Despite this, there are indeed several ways in which Todoist can help you make more effective decisions:

  • Firstly, decide on today’s content categories (perhaps using the number of items in each as an aid).
  • Secondly, sort the list by priority in order to gain a clear idea of each item’s urgency/importance.
  • Thirdly, use the video-length numbers discussed earlier to create a session which approximately adds up to your pre-determined “content time”.

To iterate, make this quick, easy, and effortless. For this reason, do not think about this step much—anything will do.

Also, right-click an item to schedule it for today—then it will show up in the Today view.

You can set a task for the current day in the Todoist context menu

Step 5: Consume Only the Pre-Determined Content (But Not Always)

I know it can be tempting to begin wasting time online when set free by your “relax time”. However, I beg you to hang on tight and stay loyal to your own personalised content prescription system.

In other words, only glance at your Today view, exclusively consuming the content shown there. Remember that, if you fail to do this, you will end up in the same online time-wasting loop as before. And what does that mean? Ceaseless, overriding, soul-melting misery.

However, the simple act of confining your “online content consumption time” should help increase your self-discipline.

Make This System Permanent: 9 Self-Control and Discipline Strategies: Break Free Now!

Furthermore, that same self-discipline can assist you in exceptional cases. For instance, if your day is behind schedule and work drifts into your relaxing time, time is of the essence! Without a doubt, your content prescription system should be one of the first things to be sacrificed.

In fact, sometimes you may just find that you’ve lost a burning desire to watch that one YouTube video. Perhaps it is not as important as you once thought it to be. Accordingly, banish its stern eyes to the indifferent shipping containers of hell.

The evolution of butter started from a single egg

How Did You Stop Wasting Time Online?

At last, the most powerful thing you can do is change and adapt. So, if you find something isn’t working optimally, modify my system a tad in order to progress further in a positive direction; Make it up as you go along.

With that in mind, I would love to hear your suggestions:

  • How can this system be improved?
  • What techniques have you employed to stop wasting time online?

I’m interested—hence the happy, inviting comment-box below this article.

And keep fighting the battle for ultimate productivity!

Read next on Cryptic Butter Radio: Are Dual Monitors Worth It? [Don’t Make My Mistakes]

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Questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Please leave your ideas in the comments below!

Thank you for learning at Cryptic Butter!

How to Stop Wasting Time Online: My Proven 5 Step Strategy
Article Name
How to Stop Wasting Time Online: My Proven 5 Step Strategy
Are you wasting time online, surfing the web aimlessly and endlessly for days? Stop it! Learn how you will benefit from the same successful system which ended my pointless habit of consuming online content indefinitely.
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Cryptic Butter
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Posted by Luis Thiam-Nye

If you want to learn how to use technology to increase your productivity, you should visit Cryptic Butter! I also have a GitHub project.

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