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[dupe] How I got my attention back (backchannel.com)
308 points by mooreds 358 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 149 comments




I'd like to propose a different yet slightly related stream of thought.

One month last year, I decided to restrict my usage of lights (house lights, digital screens, ect.). What I would do when I came home from work around 6pm was do one last clense of my emails and then shut everything off. I would turn off all the lights in my house and light candles instead.

It was amazing how my sleep patterns changed. By just having candle light in the house from 6pm to 7am, I was able to easily and calmly fall asleep by 9pm after spending a few hours cooking dinner and reading books. My sleep changed to a point where I would slightly wake up at 4am and then gently fall back asleep for another couple of hours.

My productivity levels during the day were better thanks to the deep sleep I got.

Just thought I would share that experience here for those who don't have the luxury of shutting off the internet for a month, but can do a retreat every night to bring yourself back to a natural, calm state of mind.


Excellent. I've been trying a related experiment for the last couple of years. I put a bunch of Philips HUE bulbs in and wrote some software to control them:

https://github.com/wpietri/sunrise

For anybody who uses use Flux, this is basically like that but for my home. Since I'm prone to SAD-like symptoms, I keep it set on summer time: the lights come on dim and red at 6 in the morning, gradually brighten to a high color temperature white during the day, and fade during the evening, going completely out at 10.

I thought the main benefit would be waking gently in the morning, and that's fine. But really, the best part is the dimming light in the evening. I gradually get tired and go to bed easily; I sleep a solid 7-8 hours every night. Like you, I'm generally well-rested and productive. My mood is also more even, and I've had little or no seasonal melancholy. I've also kicked caffeine and don't miss it.

I recommend it highly.


Using openhab 2, some scripts and a couple of zwave lightbulbs with adjustable color temperature, I've created something very similar. The lights turn on automatic using presence detection and change temperature using a simulated sunset. I'm working on a ray-tracer, simulating a true sunset, which would allow different lights to produce various parts of the spectrum. The problem lies with the bulbs, which do not allow enough fidelity over RGBW (either color or warm light, not both).


Ooh, that sounds cool. Could you tell me about how you did presence detection?


Wifi and owntracks in combination with calendar events.


Great to see this.. I contemplated doing a similar project last year but never got around to it. Looking forward to trying Sunrise out.


Awesome, been looking for something like this for a while! Guess I'm going to need some hue lights :)


I wonder how much of this is due to the candlelight and how much due to not actively consuming content from a lit screen. I had a similar experience without candlelight. I use warm LED lights in the evening. When I don't use a laptop/phone/tablet I fall asleep much earlier. I guess just using such a device keeps the brain active, and the light it emits is enough to delay melatonin production, causing terrible sleep cycles.


I've experimented with lamps and candles for better sleep. It seems devices and television give me sleeping problems more than anything else, even using flux etc.

One really positive change I made in the past is to put my phone in another room for overnight charging. Having devices next to the bed isn't the best idea for sleep or relationships :)


Due to an eyesight problem I run everything on dark background including theme, editors and web. I'm not sure if this makes me sleepy, but it is possible to try it. The best firefox addon for dark browsing is > https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/dark-backgrou...


I've been doing the dark backgrounds for years, due to being farsighted. I recently switched to a high-contrast theme, and it is way easier on the eyes. I think not all dark themes are equal when it comes to amount of work the eye muscles have to do.


I see, kinda ;) I musn't grumble about my condition, just thought it relevant that its quite possible to try working in a dark background to see if it affects sleep cycle.


I suspect the curfew on screen activity may be the deciding point, at least it is more me. I just stop using devices after about 8 or 9pm many evenings and read/talk or listen to music.

Bedroom is for sleeping (etc) and not for reading/updating whatever so I go to bed at around 11pm to midnight.


Can I ask if you're a developer and if you do side projects? I get home at 9pm everyday (leave at 7:30am) and the only time I have time to do side projects is from 10:30pm - 11:30pm (and of course I have trouble sleeping). I can't figure a better way to do this. I've tried on the train commuting to work but during the 2 hour commute I got maybe 30 minutes of work in due to being squished, lack of a mouse, and a 10" screen to work with. I also tried waking up at 5am but that just didn't cut it for me because I would be too exhausted in the morning.


I hear your pain.

Some "common sense" suggestions: - move closer to job - work sane hours - change your job - arrange flexible hours with managers to travel off-peak

Something "controversial" - there were some threads about nootropics - some people say it's a "zero sum game" - taking credit from your brain bank account... Look at Modafinil (over the counter from online pharmacies).


Second the off-peak suggestion. The other thing you can do is to experiment with alternative ways of working. I have a 13" laptop that I do all my programming on. No other monitors. It fits in my man-purse and I can program virtually anywhere. As I am a remote developer and like to be around people sometimes, I really do program anywhere. The bus and train have actually become one of my most productive places, and sometimes I wish I could afford to program on the train all day.

I find it helpful to use a text-only interface and use tmux along with a tiling window manager. But basically, learn how to use your computer without a mouse. It takes a long time to get comfortable with this setup, but it pays incredible dividends when you finally do (well... for example 2 hours of your life back every day).

With the off-peak thing, one suggestion would be to get to bed super early and take the first bus/train in. This tends to be the least susceptible to problems. It's also easier to sell the boss on the idea of starting at 6 am rather than 11 am. The trick is to have the internal fortitude to leave at 3 pm. Assuming you work in the city and live further out, this should allow you space on the bus/train to work.


Thanks for the great suggestions. When I get home and after finishing the home tasks, I go to my desktop (standing desk) and full-sized keyboard, large monitor, etc. That's probably why the times I've tried to code on the train have been quite unproductive. Our company doesn't allow flex hours so unfortunately that's currently not an option. I'll try out a larger laptop and see if it works (and if I can do all my work on it so I'm used to it).


Disclaimer: I'm not a computer programmer.

Suggestion which may not be practical: get up 1 hour earlier? So move the sleep time forward so you get some but can do some personal work.


You should find a job closer to home, or move out. 2h of commute is savage.

I don't accept more than 1h commute total per day, or ask for remote to compensate.


To be honest I think your priority should be to fix your commute.


Some commutes just can't be fixed. It's easy if you're single and rootless, but once you have kids, schools, other people's jobs and lives to consider, it becomes exponentially harder.

I commute just under 2 hours each way to London. All the work is in London. I used to live in London when I was younger. I would rather jump off a bridge than live in London now.

The way to compensate is by working partly remotely. That way you get to enjoy the place you live at least part of the time.


Just wondering: is that total commute as in home -> London -> office?

Up here in sunny Brum: you could be back up from London in 1h30 on a Pendolino and still live in a leafy suburb (15 min local train from New St gets you to the half acre garden territory).


If you can’t move closer to your job, the job could move closer to you[1].

[1] May require changing jobs.


"Some commutes just can't be fixed."

We all make choices, mostly they can be undone.


Yeah the commute is fixed by working remote which I plan to look for in my next job. I have a family and my wife has a 5 minute commute and my son's school is 10 minutes away. I decided I'd do a long commute instead of everyone commuting.


That's my life too.


How do you do this: bulbs with changeable temperature? And what colour?


With “warm LEDs” I mean their color temperature, not their physical temperature. See the Wikipedia article on color temperature[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature


Yes, I know. I was wondering if you had those GE bulbs that can adjust their colour temperature based on time of day, or whether you had separate lights with warmer colours for night.


Do you still do this? Have you looked at low wattage lamps? There are serious risks of starting apartment/house fires with candles, please do not underestimate them.


After I tried the same thing for a couple weeks and really enjoyed it, I looked for the closest thing to a pair of candles in a holder that I could think of: a small, hand-portable, battery powered (ideally something standard and replaceable) lightly shaded lantern/lamp that gave off pretty close to the same light as the pairs of beeswax candles I'd been using, which were just about the perfect amount of light. Hard to read by one candle, easy by two, three would be OK but heading toward too bright.

I found nothing in that sort of form factor that wasn't far too bright, and all of them were LED (incandescent would be much nicer). I just want a little battery-powered lamp that takes a weak nightlight bulb. Seems like it should exist.

[EDIT] after writing this I tried "portable nightlight" on a whim and that search does return things kinda like what I want, though they're all LED and in form factors that wouldn't be too pleasant to carry around. So close, but not quite.


If you are still looking you could buy a flashlight with a diffuser (a kind of translucent cone that slips over the end). On modern flashlights you can adjust the brightness to many different levels. LED technology has also come along a long way, with much more natural shades of light, or even yellow shades if you want to mimic a candle.

If you need specific advice I recommend the r/flashlight community on reddit.


I started doing this a while ago. Then lapsed back to the usual. I bought a rechargeable portable lamp that's dimmable. It has a great impact on my sleep when I use it properly. I want one that's more diffuse like a candle though.

I really hope this is the start of a backlash against the backlight and pay to play.



$70, and $60 of that is buying Hue/Alexa functionality that would require other Hue and Alexa stuff to use it (so more money), which I don't have and don't want. Plus it's LED, and it's not easy to carry around.

I just want a 4 watt incandescent nightlight light bulb (or similar) on a small mount with a handle or grip of some kind, the ability to stand up on its own, and battery power. Should cost $10 or less, if it exists.


I realize this sounds silly, but I like the fake-candle LED lights that are about 2.5 inches in diameter. I don't know what brand we have, but these [0] look similar. One is (barely) enough to read with at bedtime, but two or three might work great. At two AA batteries, my kids can leave them on all night, and the tiny LED hasn't drained much. (I think I change batteries maybe every couple months.)

- Can read OK with one, probably fine with two or three - 2x AA batteries; rechargeable ones work fine. - Easy for kids or parent to hold/transport - LED circuit flickers, seeming more like candle light. Probably not as good as the pattern you saw linked on HN last year. ;)

The real wax texture is both weird and cool, but the down side is they scratch easily. I wish I had them in plastic, honestly, but now that the kids have wrecked the surface I no longer care as much. ;)

https://www.amazon.com/Flameless-Candles-Remote-Control-Pill...


This. I would recommend anyone interested take a look at a kerosene lamp [1] (not sure if "lamp oil" that you can get is still just kerosene) but they've always had a similar effect on me. The color is nice but they are plenty bright to read by. I grew up with them and find them very calming but they are a little more stable and the flame is not totally open. You might be able to get away with less of them than candles as well making it safer. I would recommend nodding off and leaving it going all night but it won't melt and tip over by itself, it would likely just keep burning until it ran out of fuel or the wick burned out.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Lamplight-110-Chamber-Oil-Lamp/dp/B00...


Cheap candles give off fumes, how are these in that department?


I've never noticed them have fumes but I think it probably has to do with the fuel too. I think the clear fuels are maybe ideal, check out http://homeguides.sfgate.com/safely-use-oil-lamp-house-84155... and google around.


Assuming you are single ? Doubt if you can pull off such hacks with a family. For most married folks, second shift (a.k.a housework) starts after 6 PM !


Just so. The reality for most people is that other people are the primary consumers of attention. So the problem is rather old.


Using f.lux or other similar software gives some of those advantages too.

https://justgetflux.com/


Yes it's become very clear to me recently that to fall asleep more consistently I have to quit fiddling on the PC AND have to stop reading the iPad a good hour before sleep. (edit: basically, have to get into a "disengage" mode just relax and watch the telly or the Chromecast :) ..)

Oddly enough then, a TV screen just 2m away is fine, but reading on the iPad close to my face isn't and will keep me awake.

So I think the recipe for better sleep schedule is a combination of wllingly disengaging from the mental activity involved even in light browsing, as well as the light exposure. The first is much more significant. Think of it as some "zen" / meditation / "be present" time before bed. A good hour for me. I usually don't even care what's on the telly / chromecast, I watch Twitch and even when the hosts are noisy I can fall asleep.

It' a good time to point out that the f.lux solutions and the one included in iOS is just for comfort and does absolutely SQUAT to help you get to sleep.

TLDR

So disengaging from the dopamine feeding activity that sadly most apps are designed for nowadays, that is the key. A good hour before expected bedtime for me.

And I can really feel it in my body as well, stress settling down. Tip: put a heavy blanket on your lap to help you unwind, the pressure and warmth stresses you down.

The KEY here that seems to be missed is that the light exposure late at night is related to the mental activity, often dopamine inducing activity of surfing or playing games. Think about it, why else would you expose yourself to a glaring light late in the evening? WHat purpose? The only reason we do so is to scroll the Twitter feed, read the news, click yet another link to another webpage, and on and on.


"No impact man" is a great book that covers some of this territory as well.


Thank you for the recommendation - I will add it to my reading list since I've been curious to learn from other's experiences trying the same thing.


He covers a bit more than just living in sync with the seasons and daylight; in general he is striving to live in the modern world with "no impact".


I thought your experience was beautiful until you justified it by "It made me so much more productive !". What is productivity worth compared to calm and resting nights of sleep ? Is it not deeper, more important than any productivity hack ?


For some people, deep sleep itself doesn't "feel" fulfilling, and justify it as simply dead time in 24 hours.

A lot of people quickly reverse that sentiment once they try having a consistent schedule of high quality sleep.


A proviso about this: Don't burn down your house with candles. Some people do this.


many local fire departments have had to escalate high-priority bug reports due to the uncommanded actions of lit candles.


This is awesome. The effect of light on our biology is truly incredible -- I have a bad habit of not being able to get to bed before 12am, even if I want to (I know many here will scoff at that), but when I go camping and I'm without unnatural light, I'm exhausted by 9pm and wake up at sunrise. My sleep cycle adjusts the first day.

When I use a campfire, I usually stay up significantly later, which is interesting. Just because the light is "natural" does not necessarily mean it's natural to have the light at a certain hour.


Won't reading a book in candle light hurt your eyes, at least in the long run? How many candles do you use at once to get a healthy illumination for reading?


This is a great idea. How did you read with candles? I found it difficult the few times I've tried, but maybe that's because I mostly read in bed. Do you read sitting at a table with the candle right next to you? Do you have multiple candles?


I went for a few months without lights at night as part of an experiment. I found that 3 candles with a reflector made from aluminium foil was enough light to read by. But it's dangerous. Another thing I tried was to buy some solar powered garden lights and charge them during the day. This provided about an hour of reading light in the evening. Probably you could build something very much more effective (and it would be quite fun to boot).


Candles produce smoke, it is like sleeping next to a cigar.


and eat up oxygen


Did you read by candle light?


DUPE: Previous discussion [Fri the 13th] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13392292


I recently made an app to help with this.

http://youjustneedspace.com

We had to launch it as a web app because Apple said that "any app that encourages you to use your phone less is not appropriate for the app store" when we submitted the native version.


Are absolutely ridiculous rules like that public somewhere or did someone make this up? And if not, the person didn't understand the point. The app is primarily about breaking the cycle of addiction to apps, not about using the phone or the apps less!


> breaking the cycle of addiction to apps

Apple works hard to make their devices and apps addictive.


They also interpret our app as "modifying the function of other apps." We're working through the appeals process and I'm hoping that they'll see the light the way you have!


What exactly does it do?

>Space loads a Moments of Zen before apps you need space from. This short-circuits instant gratification and puts you in charge again.

So if I hit an app icon, it launches your app instead? I don't understand the details entirely, but I can see why they wouldn't want that.


Let's say you want to use facebook less.

Space creates a space-launcher icon that you put where you used to keep facebook on your home screen. Now you click the space-launcher instead of clicking facebook. The space-launcher loads a 2-12 second meditation exercise, then loads facebook.


Ok, I get it now. If that's the case then you should look at or suggest to Apple apps like Workflow and Launch Center Pro which can also be used to provide shortcuts and integrations in other apps from the home screen. Is that the kind of thing you're going for? I realize it's probably not exactly the same but maybe it's along the same lines.


Ya! That is one of our lines of reasoning almost verbatim; specifically those two apps.


We're looking in to ways to solve this problem too. You're right that that's way easier on android, but we've found some tricks in iOS that might work too.


I can't wait for Android to get basic features the iPhone had in 2007, like a backup system and permission system that work properly and automatically on every app, and actual software updates. Plus a watch that's actually decent. Then I can switch away from Apple's dictatorship and not have to worry about being told what I can and can't use ever again.

Pixel is getting close, but still needs to not have insane design decisions like the weird oversized spacing of every app, and the fingerprint sensor in the stupidest place possible.


There's an automatic backup system for apps, but because of the amount of freedom Android apps have it's trivial to do things that it can't catch


I hate the whole ITunes system, and how bad it is for parents. I've found that it's simply impossible to find any time control apps to effectively monitor and restrict your child's usage patterns. Apps like Screentimelabs simply don't have the authority they require, and appear vastly better in their Android versions.

I have a 6 year old boy; I'd like to e.g. time limit games time to a set amount of time, and allow more time for apps that I have vetted positive for his learning.

Ideally I'd link N amount of productivity time to bonus time in the games category, however I'd settle for just being able to restrict overall app usage by category timers.

When/if my son's iPad breaks, it won't be replaced by a new one.


Amazon's Kindle stuff for kids includes limits. However, it doesn't appear to offer additional customization/filtering within the existing setup.

https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-FreeTime-Unlimited-Monthly-Sub...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018Y226XO


Leapfrog tablet has that, though it is a walled garden.


I tried it on iOS with Instagram. It worked in the sense that I followed the breathing exercise and cancelled opening Instagram. I did that exercise twice and cancelled each time. I noticed the urge to open Instagram decreased but at the same time the urge to open any other app increased to get that information high. I guess there should be a system-wide lock/delay so I cannot cheat by switching to other apps for my high. … So the best solution for me at this time would be to put the phone away and only use it in certain allowed time frames, similar to what the author does with no Internet before lunch.


As you notice a new app becoming the problem app, you can also add another space-launcher to replace it. Most people we've talked to find that there are about 3-5 apps on thier phone with 'problem potential.'


> any app that encourages you to use your phone less is not appropriate for the app store

How can this be legal?


Why would it be illegal? If Best Buy didn't want to stock a physical product that made it easier to buy things online instead of getting them at Best Buy, why should they have to stock it?


One key distinction might be that Best Buy doesn't appear to be an open marketplace. Best Buy has to purchase from the maker, to sell, whereas app marketplaces do not purchase, they just make available. I don't know if that has any standing in court, but it's important that we recognize that the brick and mortar comparison does fail to completely encapsulate what we're talking about.


>open

>Apple

I wouldn't expect anything made by Apple to be open in any way


Swift and Darwin


It very well may not be, or at least subject to anti-monopoly laws.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/us-appeals-court-reopens-lawsui...


Yeah, that lawsuit is not going to go anywhere. Apple is not even close to a monopoly.


How could it be illegal? Their app store, their rules.

That said, I think it's ridiculous.


Apple is not obligated to give you any way to run any software at all on the phone they sell. Luckily the vendor whose share dominate s this market does offer you just that: a way to run any software you choose.

Let's please not pick up our anti trust pitchforks to take the minority share luxury brand to task. This behavior is not at all new btw. The app store is as restrictive as it's always been and they've never offered an "allow install from unknown sources".

If you don't like it, don't buy apple.


Uh, it's their platform, their rules?


Well it is Apple's store, they can pick and choose what they want to sell just like any other store.


How could this be illegal?


are you kidding? it's their app store. legal doesn't even enter into it.


That's pretty cool. I would definitely buy this.

> We had to launch it as a web app because Apple said that "any app that encourages you to use your phone less is not appropriate for the app store" when we submitted the native version.

That sucks. And doesn't sound consistent. What about Forest, which Apple has featured? You pre-commit to some duration where you won't use the device (won't leave the Forest app or lock screen, anyway), while a digital tree grows, or dies if you violate the rule and joins your forest if you don't.


I visited your website. Are you here for $$$ or fot the mission to restore cumulative time of 10 lifespans every day?

Consider - https://github.com/jefferyleo/f.lux - install manually via Xcode?


It's stuff like this that really puts me off app development.


Some 15 years ago I implemented a rule to avoid going down the interesting-links-in-emails rabbit hole: I could only open URLs that I listed the day before. The list could be as long as it needed to be, the stupid links from emails could also make the list, but there was no clicking on stuff that I didn't put on the day before.

The stupid links immediately lost their fake relevance and urgency, so even if they were on the list, the next day I largely ignored those. (Also, this being in 2001, when I ran out of stuff to do on the internet (whoah!), I started inventing new stuff for the next day's list, like "what does McDonald's sell in India".)


You know, I've used a related rule from time to time: I turned the bandwidth limit for my browser down to a only a handful of kilobytes/second. When clicking on that stupid link was 15-second wait, the rabbit holes broke and I found that I put a lot more time into what I actually was there for.

This blazing fast "have what you want and have it right now"-type mentality with information that the internet has given us sometimes caters more to stupid curiosity than it does to real learning.


I use elinks if I need a webbrowser and don't want to get distracted since all the silly distracting websites are so uncomfortable in it.


As it turns out I do the exact same thing with both Reddit and Youtube. I don't click on links/videos, they both just get saved for later. This process takes maybe 10 minutes tops. When I have critical mass (every few days) I'll look back through what I've saved and read/watch maybe 1/3 of it, deleting most of the rest since I know I won't get to it or it isn't interesting any longer.

I think that the layout of these types of websites makes it hard to prioritize; we just instinctually click on the first interesting thing.


When I was there in 2008, the Maharaja Chicken Sandwich was the flagship offering at MacDonald's Hyderabad. Not bad, but it didn't feel very MacDonald's either.

Beef burgers was, of course, unheard of.


This is basically a manual version of Stallman's email-web-browsing daemon. See https://stallman.org/stallman-computing.html and search for "I am careful in how I use the Internet".


This is a great idea. I find that there is a spectrum between planning, routine and impulse in my life. This moves impulsive action to planned action. When I move toward planning and away from impulse I am less of an automaton and a pavlovian dog. Being able to implement long-range planning is one of the things that makes us human after all.


I closed my Facebook and Twitter accounts about a month ago for similar reasons: it's not only I want my attention back, it's that users of these systems have become their de-facto free workers (providing eyes for advertisers and becoming live human bait to lure more eyes --your friends-- in a never-ending, never-fully-satisfied loop). I haven't suffered from cold turkey. Everything seems a bit slower now, and that's good.

A tangential thought: I hate reading stuff on Medium specially because they need to feed me what other people found interesting about the article ("top highlight!") instead of letting me do the job.


Same here. I don't miss Facebook at all. I also cut the cord around the same time and now watching TV feels so weird because of the commercials.


Same deal here, closed Facebook, as well as various Twitter accounts I never used, and lastly no more Reddit. Which was a big one.


Facebook has been linked to depression[1] and, although I closed my account years ago, it was for the same reason. My hypothesis was different to the article (a token economy of friends and likes); regardless, it was a great choice.

[1]: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/04/08/new-stud...


For me one of the biggest problems in this regard is actually hacker news. I feel I get allot of value out of it but also waste way too much time. So I've been working on something that is intended to send me a daily summary of the top articles in categories that interest me. The idea is that I won't be able to click on other articles that are less relevant to my professional life and save time because I get a short summary on addition to the link. Also won't be able to read comments for a long time. Would other be interested in that as well and would you be willing to pay for something like that?


Check out HN Digest and Hacker Newsletter for something similar, without the category feature.


How are you planning on implementing categories? How do you decide if a post if interesting to you?


For MVP I'm just using the HN points. The categories are of course the tricky part. I'm fetching the actual articles and then processing them and extracting categories. All of that is the hard part. Especially if you don't only want correct categories but one that remain stable over time and actually have the right granularity that somebody would want to subscribe to it.


I suspect something like this relates parts of (my) cognition:

Attention ~ ∫ Interestingness dt

Interestingness ~ dBeauty/dt

Beauty ~ iterative compression of the amount of information necessary to motivate phenomenon

Those are basically Schmidhuber's ideas, btw.

So I try to keep things tidy and quiet when I try to focus; no need to misallocate precious limited neural spikes on "which direction are the cars outside going," or "darn, someone has re-arranged all the belongings in my workspace- now my hippocampus has to refill its low-resolution geometric description of the room with high-information-cost memories of new object locations [0]," or "hmm am I thirsty? maybe I'm thirsty.. oh did I reply to that email yet? hmm am I thirsty? ooh I ought to check HN..." etc.

It's like that recently-popular article that talks about why you shouldn't interrupt programmers, but generalized - you shouldn't "interrupt" any stream of consciousness with contextually-irrelevant noise.

I feel it also has to do with why a spatio-associative memorization scheme is very useful in humans; whether that presents itself via "the night before a big test, I study in the same room where I will take the test" or "I memorized 200 digits of pi by remembering (3, kitchen), (1, living room), (4, garden), (1, living room), ..., and relying upon the imagined path I take throughout the house."

[0] http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnsys.2014.00...


When I need to focus on my computer I just go somewhere where I never use my computer for fucking around on social media. It works great, my brain associates places to websites.


In short: he made a rule for himself: no internet before bed and up until after the lunch.

It sounds simple but it's already more than most of us were ready to accept.


That sounds fascinating, but as someone who works in IT I feel as though refusing to use the internet until lunch would probably get me fired pretty fast.


I'm in the same boat so I've altered the rules a bit: 1) No Internet until work 2) Non-work related internet things wait until after lunch (no checking the news, hackernews, twitter, etc. until after lunch).


when I used to work as a developer I didn't get any work-related things done before lunch ever


That's funny, I don't really get any work related things done after lunch.


I draw a distinction between "The Internet" and "Internetting". The former is the wonderful tool and repository of knowledge, the latter is basically dicking-around-on-reddit.

I can use "The Internet" whenever I need to, but "Internetting" as a pass-time is severely restricted.


And he spent a month without the internet to kick-start things.


I feel like I sleep better when I'm backpacking. Even though I sleep less comfortable without my own bed, and I might even wake up during the night, I feel much more refreshed in the morning (5:30am). Of-course I sleep before 9pm and am exercising during the day. But just the fact that I have nothing to worry about or think about helps a lot.


Obviously the day of hiking wears you out, but I end up lying in my tent listening intently and waiting for animal and maniac attacks!


> In the last year I had gotten myself addicted to the game Clash of Clans. Not purposely. I was in Myanmar on a research job and noticed all the farmers were playing it, atop their buffalo in the fields (where the 3G was strongest). I wanted to understand what compelled them to never put down their phones.

That's very interesting. I didn't realize CoC was that widespread.


Here's how you reclaim your attention: don't read irrelevant, self aggrandizing verbal diarrhea that's 20 screenfuls long.


By not clicking clickbait? Me too but the headline still annoyed me briefly.


I hear you, just trying to stick to the guidelines.

I think that the point that all of these tyoe of articles miss is that if everyone is trying to create, you need someone to consume. Otherwise it's a bunch of folks yelling into the wind.


> you need someone to consume.

Do you? Or, does it need to be someone other than yourself? I write for its own sake, because I enjoy it. I don't publish it anywhere. I make art, and just hang it on my own walls. I make jewelry and don't sell it, just give it to my family. I make sculptures that just sit in my garden. We create and consume our own work. And it is completely satisfying.


There is a beautiful introduction in the book They Became What They Beheld by Edmund Carpenter, who was a student of Marshall McLuhan back in the day. The relevant part I'm thinking of:

> If you address yourself to an audience, you accept at the outset the basic premises that unite the audience. You put on the audience, repeating cliches familiar to it. But artists don't address themselves to audiences; they create audiences. The artist talks to himself out loud. If what he has to say is significant, others hear & are affected.


That is beautiful.


Some people get personal satisfaction from creating. Some people get it from creating for other people. Some people get it from the pure act of bringing into being something which did not exist before.

I hope you realize how lucky you are to be one of the people who can create for its own sake; if more people were like that, the world would likely be a vastly better place.


I was a bit shocked that the remark about Lynchburg got past the editor or fact-checkers. Lynchburg is named after a man with the last name of Lynch and has nothing to do with "lynching" (murdering) people.


Lynching is named after the brother of the man for whom Lynchburg is named.


Yes, it's an interesting fact. However, the town's name still has nothing to do with the term.

Also, Charles was a public official who questionably interpreted existing law to aid the Revolutionary War by jailing British sympathizers. "Lynching" didn't become associated with anti-black vigilante murder until closer to the American Civil War.


> next to a town called — terrifyingly — Lynchburg

He isn't implying that it is a fact.


>[...] Five months into it and I was fully hooked. I had complete farmer empathy. I set a goal—some level, some league that seemed just on the edge of “enough.” Make it over that line and I’d pull the plug. What makes Clash of Clans so treacherous is that you are always building, sculpting. Five months of work is really five months of work. Each additional day of play makes it that much more difficult to abandon.

>As I got closer to my goal — that mythical league on the horizon — I felt the algorithms turn on me. I sensed they knew I had a goal, and they turned that goal into an unobtainable carrot. Was I being paranoid? Maybe. The last day I played, I played for ten hours straight. Play the game slowly, a few minutes a day over months, and the algorithms are insidious. Play the game in a manic burst, and suddenly the algorithms feel laid bare. I spent only $40 over those five months, but those last ten hours were grueling. The closer I got to the goal, the more the algorithm would knock me down, set me up with what appeared to be easy wins only to have me lose. Disheartened, I’d try again, this time beating someone against whom I should have lost. Over and over this continued. It was so perfectly tuned to my most primitive set of chemical desires that it was actually beautiful — a thing of beauty. I could feel it moving beneath the screen. Its tendrils and my neurons moving with an eerie synchronicity. But of course, the lock-step relationship was weighted heavily towards the house; just as victory was once again in sight, I was back to my position ten moves and an hour prior. Where did it end?

I believe these problems are a major problem for the society. There is far more and far easier opportunities to procrastinate than before, and the net result is that the quoted stuff above is what the people do instead of doing useful stuff. When before did you have a combined one-armed bandit and casino inside your pocket, and it was acceptable to regularly take break from your work -- heck, even middle of conversation with other people -- to visit one of those?

And then people talk like developing even more insidious casinos is the future of software industry, the thing where the VCs invest.

Economy should not grow for the sake of the ever larger GDP per capita number. I'm not advocating for planned economy, but it should matter what kind of things, including what kind of entertainment and other luxuries, are being produced.


I keep reading things like this, in the whole AA-style all-or-nothing abstinence approach. Is taking a month completely disconnected really going to help, in the long term? Or is it like an alcoholic giving up the booze for Lent and then binging again straight afterwards?

Surely just control yourself a bit? Isn't it obvious that the whole freemium mobile gaming model is designed to eat your time and money? As the author pointed out, a paid-for game with an actual endpoint is a much better way to satisfy your gaming urges without getting your life robbed from you.

As for checking your phone in bed, if that's such a problem just leave it in another room.

If you're always checking FB on your phone, delete the app. You don't have to delete the account: I stay in touch with lots of people on FB, but I only use it via a browser on a computer. That way I can't check it while crossing the street, but is it really so urgent? I'd rather look where I'm going.


It seems that some people have bigger reward then others, so you cant extrapolate your own findings that way.

I don't have problem with addiction at all for example. I even practice dropping the stuff that start to get too much into my life - a coffee, game, weed, an attitude, TV, bread, car, whatever really. To me its not that hard, but to others around me it seems hard enough.

The point is, you are a mass of checmicals, it might very well be impossible for you to do so given your particular setup.


Great article on the same subject: Life Without The Internet https://medium.com/@bagelboy/why-i-lived-without-wifi-for-fi...


    The medium was no longer the message, it was just an asshole.
I want my attention back.

I loled thanks


Highly recommend the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. Great read addressing this.


Wonderful write up, I travelled for about 3 months without mobile data recently, it was a blast, the freedom was refreshing and the interactions amazing. Actually asking locals for directions etc was really interesting and informative.

I look forward to closing my social media accounts in the near future as I've come to the conclusion they add very little value to my life.


- Need to get enough natural light so your pineal gland keeps your sleep cycle in sync.

- Need to breathe correctly.

- Sugar makes you tired. Avoid sugary products and products with added sugar.

- Avoid stress, anxiety and try to do something about it. Preferably in a natural way. Identify situations that you can control, and the ones that you can't control. Avoid getting anxious over things you cannot control.


Sugar does not make me tired. Consuming more calories actually gives me more motivation, especially when I'm hitting the gym hard.


Depends on the amount.

There are drinks containing 60g of sugar, or 15 teaspoons of sugar. Combine that with a sugary snack and you will see.


no more than the same amount of other kinds of carbs


For people with multiple monitors if you get too much distracted you should try just using 1 monitor it works for me to get my attention to work related things.


Sometimes I am most productive on my iPad with a word processor and a Bluetooth keyboard. I credit it to the focused nature of just a single app. So if I'm having trouble writing, I go there or occasionally I will go totally analog on paper.


This is a tricky topic because a free and creative person is mostly acting spontaneously so he cannot predict where his attention is going next. Go figure.


I think many creative people can benefit from attempting to be more intentional and purposeful in how they move towards new ideas, learning, and inspiration.


Yes, the ability to direct one's creativity is valuable and a hallmark of freedom. But the direction, if it is to be fruitful, is determined by what one finds genuinely interesting. This is in turn an impersonal property of those new ideas.

The guy who is hooked on a video games is less intentional. He thinks he ought to be able to will himself into doing other stuff which he thinks he should be doing. He blames the game or phone or whatever for his failure. But what he really doing is avoiding certain other problems. When he is ready he'll face those unmentioned problems and maybe find a new direction.


I did the same with CWM + vimb from OpenBSD. Just one page open at a time. Minimal environment.

Also, redshift -b 0.8 -O 3000K


>That was the first thought I had the morning after the election. I woke. The crushing weight of a new reality reimposed itself on my mind.

Can we just get one article on here that doesn't passive-aggressively cast a doom and gloom vision of Donald J. Trump's presidency?


Want your attention back? Go and delete your facebook account NOW!


DUPE: + OP engaging in click-bait by changing title and posting again.

Previous click-bait Fri 13. Jan : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13392292




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