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Eliminate Your Distractions


submitted by [deleted]

How to Be More Productive 
This post is a follow-up to my previous post Jealously Guard Your Attention.
While the previous post was primarily philosophical in nature, this post is practical by design.
The purpose of this post is to outline the framework I used to reclaim my time. I do not know your situation. Im not your accountability coach. Im going to tell you what worked for me, and you can decide for yourself if any of it is worth applying in your life. 

Step 1 - Make a List of Your Distractions
For one whole day I wrote down everything I did that could be categorized as a distraction. 
Here is what really stood out to me: 
  • Checking my email compulsively (20+ times a day)
  • Opening my browser to Google random shit all the time 
  • Getting on social media too often
  • Wasting time watching random YouTube videos 
  • Opening Spotify/YouTube to switch songs and playlists
  • Spending too much time on VentureBeat, TechCrunch, HackerNews etc
  • Checking sports scores regularly 
  • Playing Risk (a mobile game) on my iPhone
  • Watching Netflix / TV
I estimate that I was spending a minimum of 2-4 hours a day on these activities. 
This brought me to an important realization. I was wasting my life five minutes at a time.
Inc. Magazine published a study saying that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for two hours and 53 minutes.
Do you really think that an employee sits around for 5 hours and does nothing? That would be too obvious. They do the same thing I did, and that you do. They switch back and forth between browser tabs. They check social media intermitedly. They play games on their phones when no one is around.
Turns out that wasting our time on distractions isnt even the biggest issue though
Research has shown that switching between tasks can cost up to 40% of your productive time.
In essence, each time you break focus with your current task, it makes you much less productive when you resume the task you were originally doing. You going back and forth between your work and social media creates a mental block that exacerbates your productivity loss.
I was pretty shell shocked when I realized how bad my problem really was.

Step 2 - Minimize or Eliminate Each Distraction
I decided that I was going to eliminate, or at very least minimize each of the distractions I was wasting my time on.
I installed Block Site for Google Chrome (a browser extension) and blocked every single one of the news sites I would waste time. I also blocked YouTube, FarFetch, and pretty much any other site that was not actually adding value to my life but distracting me regularly. If I need to visit any of those sites I can get around it, but it puts me in opt-out mode by default. I estimate that this alone has saved me at least an hour a day.
Ive got Instagram for work, and end up habitually checking it. To deal with this I put the app icon in a folder, and then moved the folder onto the second page off of my home screen. Out of sight, out of mind. This worked so well that I did it with all my apps. I put my mobile browser in that folder, my gmail app in that folder etc Making these apps less accessible drastically reduced the number of times I check them. 
The other apps that I didnt need (game apps) etc.. I deleted. I keep the home screen of my phone app-less with the exceptions of the bare essentials (i.e. call button, message button, settings). I estimate this also saves me about an hour a day.
Television + Netflix
I tried to give up watching TV, but I just couldnt do it. There are some TV series that I really enjoy watching. Instead of banning myself from TV, I give myself a free day. Every Sunday I can watch as much TV as I want. This has resulted on me focusing just on the series that I actually enjoy, instead of browsing and wasting time on TV shows that I dont give a shit about. 
The free day technique can be used for anything you enjoy doing, but want to minimize. Give yourself a certain day or time frame in which you allow yourself to do that thing, but dont do it outside of that time period (i.e. set boundaries). 
Social Media
I havent had Facebook for years, so that wasnt an issue. I already mentioned what I did with Instagram. The only remaining perpetrator was Reddit. I generally get on Reddit to check TRP, but end up getting sucked into checking the front page and a few other sub-reddits. I decided that I will only check TRP once a day, at night, and have stuck to that pretty well.
Email Checking
Ive made a conscious effort to try and check my email less, and have made a few changes that help me out. The first thing I do is log out of my gmail account after checking my email. This makes it so I cant just go to gmail.com and see my emails automatically. The additional friction of having to login makes me less likely to check my email unless I need to.
The second thing I did was disable email notifications on my phone, and move my gmail app to a folder off of my home screen (previously mentioned). These small and simple changes put my email checking habit in line with where it probably should be, instead of the unconscious obsession it was before. 
Googling Random Shit
Immediately googling something I thought up happened way too often. I now ask myself if what I want to Google is worth writing down, and if so make a note to Google it later. If its not worth writing down, I dont check it. This extra step (increased friction) makes me less likely to compulsively google random shit.
Music + YouTube
YouTube was my was blackhole. I could waste ungodly amounts of time on YouTube. I blocked it entirely. It was too big a temptation. Once I feel like the habit is gone I may unblock it, but for now its dead to me. I took the time to make a few giant and awesome playlists on Spotify, and will now listen to a playlist for 3+ hours without having or wanting to go and change what Im listening to.
Cell Phone
I keep my cell phone off and out of sight at least 70% of my waking hours. In the event that I need to have my phone on or available, I make sure it is out of sight and not within reaching distance as much as possible - either in a pocket in my bag, or in a desk drawer etc Relying on my cell phone to amuse or distract me was second nature, and this was the easiest and most effective way I found of breaking this habit. Interesting side note, actually making myself unavailable has resulted in an increased number of double texts from both women and male friends. Overall it doesn't seem to have affected my game or social life as I'll keep it on during weekend afternoons/nights especially.
Result: Doing these things didnt make me immune to distraction, but Im probably 80-90% better than I was before. 

Being a man is recognizing what your weaknesses are, and doing something about them.
Removing distractions from my life has made me feel considerably more satisfied with my life. It feels as though I have three days worth of time in one day. There is no way Im going back to the meaningless habits and activities that I fell prey to before. 
Has eliminating my distractions turned me into a robot and eliminated happiness from my life? No.
Eliminating my distractions has given me more time to pursue activities that actually add value and meaning to my life.

[–][deleted] 90 points91 points  (18 children)

Geez wow yes. Just yes. I stopped playing games and smoking weed when I redpilled 4 months ago and it gave me back 20 hours a week. This is going to give me back another 10. Plus make me more productive. I'm a manager and I can do my job with my eyes closed. I need to either do a better job or move on. Not wasting my work days googling and browsing girls on ok cupid is the next stage on my road to being a better human. Thank you for pointing my flaws out. Keep up the good work skyfarr.

[–]heybto 49 points50 points  (5 children)

Weed is definitely a hard distraction, nice job.

[–]1jb_trp 23 points24 points  (4 children)

I've come to the realization that drinking and weed, rather than just be a part of my life that I indulge in from time to time, have really overtaken my life in too many ways. While I haven't hit "rock bottom," I've realized that perhaps sobriety is the way to go for me.

So I abstained for a month. And then I had a drink (well, a few drinks). I was shocked at how much it pushed me off my center and affected me the next few days.

[–]africanpyjamas69 9 points10 points  (3 children)

Been experiencing something similar with alcohol. How would you say it affects you, personally, in the following days?

I mainly notice high irritability, mood swings, depression, apathy and fatigue... It's probably time to quit or at least cut down on it.

[–]1jb_trp 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Me? Well, I think that I probably have the mind of an alcoholic, meaning that I always want "at least one more," and self-control goes out the window after I have a drink or two. I often end up drinking more than I intend to drink, and make poor decisions when I do so.

Besides the hangover, I feel shame, I feel bloated and tired, I am not as productive at work, I don't feel like I'm going anywhere in life, etc.

[–]blackballed_ 9 points10 points  (1 child)

This. Times a million. I'm recovering after several years of literal celebrity level chemical dependency issues. Like, outside of probably 70k+ spent on this-and-that in 4 years, I had a period of just under a year where I was handed prescriptions like candy. Fistfulls of pills, blacked out all day, every day. Amost 200 full prescriptions in 10 months. That was the worst, second only to having the ICU calling my job to tell them I couldn't come in, because I'm on life support.

Now Its a struggle to get my feet back under me when I do fall off and smoke, or "get on" for a night. Shit ruined my sex life too. It'll be years before that's back to normal. What a fucking nightmare now that I'm coming out of it.

[–]unappreciated_genius 14 points15 points  (5 children)

im trying to give up weed but im sure it will be one of the hardest things i've ever done, that alone shows how much i need to quit, kudos to you!

[–][deleted] 35 points36 points  (0 children)

Smoked 23 years straight before I started messing with the habit; stopping weed a month or three at a time, a few time per year. After 2 years of this I left my wife, started lifting, redpilled, and realized I could never control my habit. I had to stop. Now I lift 5 times a week, joined 4 sports teams, went back to playing saxophone, I read more, socialize more, don't play video games and barely stay home 8 hours a day. Hell I sleep 5 hours or less and go to the gym before anyone else in the morning, right after daily meditation. If you stop weed and fill your life you will never look back. I said it before on reddit; use the MeetUp app to find shit to do with people who dont smoke and go do it. If I did it, you can too. YOU CAN DO IT.

[–]Fedor_Gavnyukov 9 points10 points  (3 children)

the best way to quit anything is truly believe it's bad for you and is destructive. with every hit you take, you realize that you're wasting away and time just goes by, before you know it you'll be old as fuck and what did the high get you?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Clearly this nigga has never got high. It makes you not care about your actions, thats why you keep blazin up!

[–]Fedor_Gavnyukov 0 points1 point  (1 child)

this "nigga" was blowing coke of women's tits when you were still sucking on your mother's. i was able to quit drugs, cigarettes, and booze cold turkey because of following what i described in the previous comment.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

nice one nigga. you must be pushing nearly 50? fair play mate.. but in reality, you might make a suggestion to somebody who is way too wrapped up in the warm blanket of comfort that weed creates . i know that because i have been like that for the last 10 years etc

[–]That_Deaf_Guy 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Best way I've found to quit weed was making a bet with my friend. Went from an everyday smoker to quitting cold turkey. Next time I smoke will be April 20th.

I have absolutely no desire to smoke a joint any more, and I'm perfectly fine being around my friends when they do. It's easy when you have something riding on the line.

[–]ATPsynthase12 2 points3 points  (4 children)

Definitely try to keep alcohol and drug use to a minimum, but I don’t really see the problem with gaming a couple times per week. Especially when it is a major hobby that gives you some kind of “escape”. I used to read but literally 80% of my waking day

For example I am a medical student here in the US. It is a very high stress, high competition, high burn out environment that demands a good part of my time to be successful. I make time to meal prep and go to the gym 5x per week but get very little “me time” where I can just sit and decompress and not worry about school or exams. So when I do get time for a movie or gaming I will usually take it. It helps me deal with stress and shut off mentally for a few hours in a way that lets me enjoy myself without using my brain.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Listen I can't judge you since I played tens of thousands of hours over 35 years. But I can tell you doing sport with people is a lot more rewarding for me now that I am sober vs. Gaming alone at home. I played video games compulsively. High. Every day. For decades. You do you man but at TRP we're not about playing videogames; it's about going out there, improving yourself first and foremost, and making progress approaching women and sleeping with them. Does playing video games help achieve these goals?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

videogames might not help you achieve goals but does sticking your dick in a wet cunt help you achieve goals? if you want to perceive your value on pussy yh

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I mean, yes it does? Picking up women improves your social skills, courage, ability to seduce and obtain things from people? Makes you feel like a million bucks, improves your self esteem.. list goes on. Playing VGs is fun but I don't think it does anything else but entertain you. Keep in mind picking up women is a secondary goal vs. Becoming a better person through self improvement. The women come after you self improve. It is not the main goal. Mais goal is to become the best man you can be.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Haha I mean during the act of sex but in reality, yes it does improve you as you feel less ruined, videogames if anything have depleted my sense of purpose to near 0, only recently have i been forcing myself to build better habits and it's far more entertaining to focus on self improvement!

Videogames are also a way to learn certain things, it's just about what kind of game you are playing.

for example, buy rocksmith and you learn how to play guitar (or at least build the skill) people on this sub give a lot of hate to videogames but for me personally, there are a lot of freaky chicks out there who don't give a fuck about a bit of gaming

[–]man0man 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Great breakdown. My biggest distractions are thots who work retail, they are wasting my life 2.5 weeks at a time.

[–]oldrunnerguy 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Excellent post. Like you say, it is very easy to get sucked into these things and you can end up spending too many hours surfing or watching them. I am guilty as charged with these types of habits. Recently, I have made an effort to get away from my computer and have taken up hiking. I like the idea of exploring and taking up time in the woods which gives me the opportunity to see what nature has to offer. The views I discover make the climbs up the steep hills worthwhile. The few brave souls that venture out like me all seem to be kind souls that get it, they're friendly.

A few weeks ago, I took a week of early vacation and spent an afternoon watching the NCAA tournament 1st round games. I enjoy college basketball and the bar/restaurant had all four games on at once. After spending a few hours there I took some time to look around the establishment and noticed about 10 people in there all surfing on their cell phones. It kind of blew my mind, but unfortunately it is pretty commonplace these days. I always thought the purpose of getting out to these places was to having some meaningful discourse with other individuals. What their doing could be easily done at home on their computer. It kind of had a weird effect on my sensibilities, I payed my check, and I got out of there.

The next day, instead of watching basketball, I went out for a hike. There was a bit of a cold breeze and I did not see another person on the trail. However, I found it definitely more worthwhile.

People need to unplug. Maybe at times the virtual world seems like a better place than the real world. However, the real world has some great things if you make the effort to look for them, and they are much more rewarding.

[–]jay-adams 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Just returned to life with a flip phone. Loving it. Great conversation starter, everyone laughs, and I barely feel the need to check it.

[–][deleted] 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Great post! Going through a similar phase in my life. Definitely essential to being a man.

[–][deleted] 18 points19 points  (0 children)

The wealthy and powerful of the future will be the ones with attention spans and can capture others attention spans

[–]DaddyLong68 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Great post! As a uni student I really really needed this today

[–]csqr 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Cal Newport has a great blog & book (Deep Work) on this topic: https://archive.fo/widcC

Edit: link corrected

[–]J793 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Link is dead, any chance of an alternative please

[–]keep_improving 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes. Highly recommend this book as well.

[–]faxfrag 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Why is the old post of your got removed?

[–]hownao 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I am on a similar streak, the internet browsing and video games are just not as important to me anymore.

[–]Liart13 5 points6 points  (2 children)

I'd love to read your previous post but it's removed

[–]D4ndem4n 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Saved it

Everyone Is After Your Time

Facebook made $40 Billion USD selling your attention to advertisers in 2017. That's one company. Making billions. By selling your time.

How much is our attention worth? Trillions of dollars. The top 100 companies in the world that make money from consumer advertising are worth trillions of dollars. And all of them rely on one thing. You wasting your time.

What about women? They want your time too. They are insecure. They are attention seeking because you wasting your attention on them makes them feel valuable.

Your loser friends who hate their dead end jobs and invite you to play video games? They want your time too. Your spending time with them is a salve to the open-wound that is their shitty existence.

There is nothing more valuable in the world than your time. Even the markets agree on this one. Everyone and everything around you is trying to steal your time from you. They are using you. They are using you to feel better about themselves. They are using you to make money (for them). They are using you because you're a bitch and are okay with being used.

Stop being a bitch. Start prioritizing yourself. Everything is about you. Anyone who tells you otherwise is delusional.

How are you spending your time? This isn't a rhetorical question. Figure this shit out. I made a list of all of my distractions. And annihilated them. * There are browser extensions you can install to block websites you waste time on. * Turn off your phone whenever you don't need to be using it. Or at very least delete all the stupid apps you waste time on. * Cut toxic people out of your life. You don't need friends who are losers. * The default answer to anything anyone asks of you should be no. Life is too short to be spending all of your time on other people.

Figure out how you are spending your time, and start redirecting it towards building a better life for yourself.

Stop letting other people siphon your time away from you.

[–]ArabSigma 2 points3 points  (0 children)

In cases like these I recommend checking Google's cache for a snapshot. Simply paste the link in the search bar and look for "Cached" in the results. Sometimes it's inside a dropdown that you can open by clicking the small arrow next to the result.

[–]JigglyRobot 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I read this at work when I was meant to be doing high priority stuff. That itself, validates the entire post.

[–]SirAttackHelicopter 5 points6 points  (2 children)

Reminds me of the posts recently about social media in general. THe average user has 11 social media accounts, and the more accounts you have and use, the more likely you are to be depressed and have anxiety and all that shit. The actual threshold found in the numbers was something like if you have TWO accounts, you're bordering on exhibiting depression and anxiety. Keep in mind these are accounts you use on an almost daily basis.

[–]young_x 3 points4 points  (1 child)

11 accounts? The average user?

FB, Twitter, IG, LinkedIn... Tinder? Maybe Snapchat? Reddit? WTF else?

[–]SirAttackHelicopter 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Google, pintrest, etc. There are many many sites and forums that certain demographics use that are specific to hobbies and groups. If there are any groups in the world, there are social media outlets. There is one for every car brand, every tool brand, sports, everything.

[–]Endorsed Contributorsadomasochrist 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Related : Start a bullet journal

[–]carbonlifeform22 6 points7 points  (1 child)

My girlfriend started one in January. It lasted to the end of February.

[–]TheSadListener 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This is great advice. I like the idea of enumerating one's distractions, and creating a strategy for each one in order to minimize it. Fantastic approach.

[–]IdoNtEvEnWaTz 3 points4 points  (4 children)

What should I do at work though. I have to be here 10 hours a day, but it only takes me like 1-2 hours to actually do what I'm paid for.

[–]adidas558492 4 points5 points  (1 child)

i deal with this too... i try to listen to audiobooks & watch educational stuff on youtube, but that gets boring after a while.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

bitch, 1st world problems. sort yourself the fuck out

[–]DisciplineOverDrive 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Damn, reading this list makes me wish I adhered to this strategy rather than going cold turkey on everything when I did haha.

Kind of a cool way to do it -- make your distractions annoying to get to rather than removing them. You do essentially the same thing, but it's easier on the mind. Nice brain hack.

[–]Ch1pp 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I agree in part but I enjoy some of my distractions, I like a good book or going to the cinema. I think you need to not over indulge in your distractions but everything in moderation is ok.

[–]Kobbes 1 points1 points [recovered]

For distracting websites and apps, I would also recommend another app called Freedom. On your desktop it can automatically block any website regardless of what browser you go on, and it can also block actual programs on your computer. On the phone it does the same thing; it can block websites and certain apps.

I should mention that I don't work for them and I won't bother posting any affiliate links, but it's saved me a lot of time these last few months and has been totally worth it.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

don't you have to pay for that? fuck that, get some discipline

[–]thewrecker8 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Here's a simple exercise. Use the stopwatch on your phone every time you're doing something distracting or not productive. Just hit start and stop accordingly throughout a day. Try to ignore the running total the best you can then before you go to sleep see the total time.

[–]TheScarletScholar 1 point2 points  (0 children)

YouTube for years has been my biggest black hole of my time waster. I cannot overstate how much time I've pissed away over the years. I will look into blocking it.

[–]datrewf 1 points1 points [recovered]

What do you people do with all this extra time? I try and eliminate all my distractions but when I do I just feel so anxious and bored.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

What if OP is my distraction..

[–]zyqkvx 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you need your dose of red pill do what has worked well for me. Harvest a lot of red pill audio and listen to it in the gym.

[–]NaturalSelect1on 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Very good post, many of the things you mentioned I've been already doing them.

Want to recommend to everyone to check out the Chrome extension StayFocusd. Also there's the android app Stay Focused - App Block.

[–]bot256 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is actually a really underestimated topic - time management is super important and if one doesn't know how to manage their time, they are never going to meet their full potential (or anything close to it). I'd also like to add that it is important to wake up at 8 am at the latest if your routine allows it (working night shifts obviously doesn't allow that). My work didn't require me to wake up early so I had to make a conscious effort to do it and this really boosted my performance and productivity throughout the day.

[–]asapkokeman 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Awesome post, resonated with me a ton. I, too waste way too much time on YouTube (and other stuff, but YouTube specifically) and am going to stop.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, the Youtube blackhole. I'm in a career where visiting youtube for new ideas & problem solving is part of it. So I keep a separate google account just for work related channels. I switch between accounts on firefox with its new container add on. Thought someone may want to take a look at it. Also on firefox side there's leechblock which blocks sites based on custom rules

[–]VickVaseline 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good job on writing this, and from the other comments I would say that it was something that obviously needed to be written.

I'm an old guy, though, and when I started my career no one had heard of the Internet and the only phones around had rotary dials on them. I'm a little shocked and afraid for the future if this reflects on the way most people are living and working now. When I started work, the only distractions available to me were daydreams.

[–]Ananonguy88 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Monk mode wannabies, here you have good point to start.

[–]dom-0 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Its difficult these days since fb, instagram and youtube are so close with business, these days you need all of it for work and marketing. Going completly without it is kinda stupid, times change and this is the stuff we have to deal with now.

[–]Brotrocious 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Great post! I’ve struggled with some of the same issues over the last couple years. I believe willpower is a limited resource, so why waste it on the little things? Couple great paid apps to help outsource controlling time wasting:

freedom.to - an app for your iPhone which will block specific websites / apps. You can set a day by day schedule that can’t be changed once it is initiated, even if you close out the app.

Cold Turkey - a program for PC which fulfills a similar function. Lots of options to control which websites / programs you can use when. Once the block starts, you can’t stop it short of rolling back your computer until before the program was installed.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Very important post OP I spend way to much time on this shit site anyway, this sub being one of the only actual valuable subs here anyway.

[–]whiskeyboyo 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Another good tip that's already been mentioned on here is turning your phone on grayscale

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

that also makes it slow as shit, it might be a good suggestion for those hooked

[–]ViktorCage 0 points1 point  (0 children)

As a 22 year old with ADD problems, googling random stuff is one of my sports, which kills my productivity.

[–]Locogooner 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Why is constantly checking your emails a bad thing?

I'm in a line of work, where we pretty much need to be checking it every waking hour.

[–]Jen_Rey 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Reddit(while working) youtube and video games are my distractions.I wouldn't want to eliminate them completely, because that is something I enjoy, but sure as hell I would love to reduce the time spent on those things.

[–]FeelTheBernieSanderz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What do I do with unproductive time after work when I am exhausted and can't focus on intellectual pursuits?

I've embraced the productivity mindset but now I feel guilty when I'm unable to perform.

[–]jadeoner -1 points0 points  (0 children)

the irony of this being posted on reddit

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