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Well, I'm working on something real right now. It's a web application that works now but it's a total hack. I want to actually make it into something usable by others so a couple days ago I black holed Reddit in /etc/hosts. It worked so well I'm considering the same for Hacker News, too.

There's the comment by "AgentConundrum" who argues that any method of limiting access to an addiction such as HN can be circumvented -- the simple truth is that you can't outsmart yourself. However, I see it differently.

When I open a browser window and click the Reddit bookmark, it gives me an error. While I'm staring at that error message, my higher thought processes have a chance to kick in and argue about what to do next. I think, "Editing my hosts file would be an admission of defeat. I'm better than that."

It's like the "brush your teeth" diet. You know, the one where you brush your teeth after you've had enough to eat. Whenever you want to have a snack, you think, "I can't... I just brushed my teeth. Snacking would undo my progress with dental hygeine."

Both of these tricks are flat-out illogical. A hypothetical rational person would not be affected by these tricks. However, if you were a hypothetical rational person, you wouldn't need to change your behavior in the first place.




"Brush your teeth" never worked me. I'd get hungry and eat anyway. Two servings of whey protein powder a day, on the other hand, completely nukes my interest in snacks.

As for HN and such, I find my interest waxes and wanes. I definitely have days where it's a big distraction, particularly when I'm waiting 10 seconds for something to compile and come back ten minutes later. Then there are days when I'm too focused on coding, marketing or whatever I'm doing for it to be a big distraction.


I do the same when I have a deadline, but I point all the time consumers websites(facebook, HN, ) to my bug tracker url so instead of getting an error I just see the list of things that need to be done or fix. It works like magic.




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