- Do not grab phone/computer etc. and mindlessly browse first thing in the morning. (Or before bed. Or at any time really.) But doing it first thing really starts your day on the wrong foot.
- When seeking to relax, do not mindlessly browse the internet/social-media/tv. Read an enjoyable book. This is an order of magnitude more fulfilling and beneficial to you. And genuinely more relaxing: screens are stimulating, and might let you 'relax' in the sense that you can momentarily be completely absorbed in something 'other', and forget your day to day life; but they don't relax you in the sense of being calm and contemplative (in general, in my experience).
- Reduce instant gratification from as many areas as possible. Do things that are rewarding longer term. Like reading, cooking, growing plants, hiking, etc.
- Cut video games.
- Block facebook + reddit + sites you waste a lot of time on, from main computer. Maybe have a secondary device you use to access these sites, for a set period each day (I recommend this mainly because it can be quite difficult to maintain a social life without facebook, (which is a terrible state of affairs)). Have days where you don't go onto these sites at all.
- Spend as little time on screens as is possible
-> if you can work on paper do so
- have a regular exercise regime. eg. swim/run. Doing first thing in the morning really helps set your day on the right track, you have already exerted a good amount of self discipline, and achieved something, and this makes it easier to continue being disciplined.
- I recommend reading 'The Power of Habit'.
Expanding on this... Don't use mindless browsing as a filler at all. Ever.
If your build is gonna take a minute, don't reflexively switch over to Facebook/email. Sit there and think/meditate. Stand up or do some pushups.
Browsing Facebook is fine when that's the activity you're doing. Set aside some Facebook browsing time, timebox it, and stick to that.
"multitasking" is the devil. Don't do it. Better to be blank and let your mind rest for a moment instead of trying to timeslice something in. Focus on each thing separately and you'll end up more productive and efficient and also feel more personally gratified after accomplishing specific tasks one by one vs. a mishmash of "multitasking" where you're not really sure what you even did at the end of the day.
Same applies if you read a tutorial post while you wait your build to finish ?
Now I know they were just more evolved than I was :-)
Why are you on Hacker News?
Reading and in particular commenting which is an instant gratification activity (quick post, many likes paired with non-stop checking of the thread).
Is this not against your advice or is it the end of the work day in your time zone?
If you are constantly non-stop checking for responses and your scores, that doesn't match what I do. I tend to comment, then come back a couple days later, and see what discussion ensued.
Now that it was in my face it wasn't about working around myself, bit rather deciding if I actually wanted and had the will power to do what I had claimed I wanted to do.
So, if you really want to reduce mindless browsing and find you can't and little strategies end up being ineffective, perhaps the opposite might be a worthwhile strategy.
All the best.
When the object is out of common sight, you only encounter your self-defining vice moments when you're at your most vulnerable (because you willfully sought the thing out).
When you bring yourself into more frequent contact, you provide yourself with more training opportunities when your willpower is greater (because maybe you're already busy, or happy, etc).
Thus, even if you fall victim to the poor choices you're trying to avoid the same number of absolute times, you've drastically increased the number of times you make good choices. And the percentage of times you choose good choices over bad.
Counterintuitive, but I like it!
When I was 18, I worked at a produce clerk at a middling grocery store. Day after day of stocking fresh fruits and vegetables while watching the same customers (and even my co-workers!) come in and eat the same horrid prepared slop really motivated me to lose weight.
I lost 50 pounds in 2 months.
And also, speaking from experience, please, never attempt to lose 50 pounds in 2 months; my lung popped. Fortunately, I survived.
to my mind, an effective blocker is extremely important and far superior to using willpower to resist your bad side. the fact is that when gratification is impossible or really difficult, you don't need to spend any willpower at all, you can just count on your other bad side, i.e. your 'lazy' self, to kill off the social media impulse. when a little person inside you says "go check out facebook!", previously you yourself have to step in and say "no, f* off*!" but now you can just sit back and watch with quite amusement as another little person (your lazy self) steps up and say "nah man, it's too much trouble" —— and bam! the impulse is gone.
the ego depetion theory in psychology may have turned out to be less empirically well-founded than people think, but personally i found it to be very useful. avoid using willpower as much as possible. instead, cleverly design your environment and play the little bad people inside your against one another to your advantage.
Just don't look under the hood of how it works - anyone reading this and familiar with the app please don't comment saying how to circumvent it).
...what? Is there any evidence that self discipline needs to warm up?
I got this from reading a few books and articles and it might be wrong, but it's my impression.