Stop Wasting Time Online

Posted on The Distress Signal | tooling

I’ve been wasting way too much time online lately. So I built a reminder, and am now redirecting distracting services like Twitter, and Instagram directly to it. Now, if I try to access Twitter, I get a strong prompt to STOP WASTING TIME ONLINE.

I’m a news junkie, and I love learning new things, but the web never sleeps. Professionally speaking, learning is a big part of my job. Keeping up with the latest approaches, frameworks, utilities, etc. that make up the world of full-stack web development is important—but it never stops.

The pace of change is relentless, broad, and demanding.

Yes, I want to read about how you’re using Gulp and test-driven-development to improve your local workflow—just not right now.

It can also be difficult to pull the signal from the noise on services like Twitter.

Yes, I’m interested in reading your research on optimizing page speed—no, I don’t want to see a photo of your lunch.

Research has shown that the type of tiny, never ending interruptions the modern web imposes on us through services like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are rewriting our brains. We’re wired for distractions—it’s an evolutionary adaptation from when noticing things like a twig snapping in the distance could save your life. Today, every little Tweet, cat photo, or Facebook poll, taps into that same evolutionary mechanism—delivering a nice shot of dopamine to keep you coming back, and undermining your ability to focus, ignore irrelevant information, process past experiences, and get stuff done.

Rather than mucking about with handling https:// requests via the local hosts file, I’m using this simple Safari extension to handle all the redirects—there’s also one for chrome if that’s your thing.