I am astonished by the number of hours I spend browsing Youtube or Netflix. It has become common to make fun of people mindlessly watching TV, but consuming streaming content is not much different. We try to convince ourselves it’s okay to watch educative content as long as we’re learning. Or that we need music to get work done. “I need a break, this Netflix movie will kill time”.
Truth is, all this content is not gonna help us. We mostly watch it out of boredom, it’s just another form of procrastination. I decided to put a stop to this habit: I’m going on a 30-day digital silence retreat where I’m not allowed to consume video or audio content. How does it work concretely?
I downloaded a browser extension called BlockSite that prevents me from entering Youtube, Netflix, Spotify, or Soundcloud. The website and all the links leading to them are disabled.
I added a Days of Digital Silence section in my personal website to remain publicly accountable.
I replace this browsing habit by reading, writing, making, and walking more. I am still allowed to go to bars and clubs to listen to music, which might create an incentive to leave my cave, but I’m not allowed to download songs or podcasts.
I wish to demonstrate a few things by abiding to this contract: 1) the virtues of silence, and 2) how small daily distractions have a huge impact on your productivity.
Got any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them.