Ever got a to website for a specific reason, only to instantly forget why, distracted by the sheer amount of attention-grabbing content on it? If life is what we experience, letting others – namely, media and tech companies – steal our focus through ads, recommendations and an infinite scroll of entertainment sounds like a recipe for a miserable life. Here are some simple tools & tips to help regain your focus in the attention economy. Think of them as a personal hygiene checklist, a way to fight the zombification of our minds 🧟.
- Making social media work for you
- 👎 Make Facebook work for you
- 🙈 Make YouTube work for you
- 🦉 Make Twitter work for you
- Fixing the Web
- 🛑 Get rid of ads
- 🍪 Get rid of stupid cookie popups
- 📱 Fixing the "smartphone" problem
- 🧘 Advice & Personal Habits
- Bye-bye, media!
Making social media work for you
There's always the option to opt-out, but if you need or want to access social media this will help:
👎 Make Facebook work for you
...and not you work for Facebook 🙂
- Get rid of the newsfeed, with Newsfeed Eradicator.
- Unfollow groups.
- Disable Like notifications on Facebook: Settings > Notifications > More activity about you.
🙈 Make YouTube work for you
- Disable the suggestions sidebar with DF Tube (Distraction Free for YouTube™).
🦉 Make Twitter work for you
- Unfollow everyone.
Fixing the Web
🛑 Get rid of ads
- Use AdBlock Plus or a privacy-focused browser like Brave (essentially Chrome without Google stuff and ads.)
🍪 Get rid of stupid cookie popups
Efforts from the European Commission to protect privacy have backfired into forcing billions of people (who visit hundreds of new websites a day) having to click to configure or close a popup.
- Get rid of cookie warnings with I don't care about cookies.
📱 Fixing the "smartphone" problem
Smartphones are making us dumb. So:
- Disable all notifications. It takes a while to set up... But that's nothing compared to the amount of time and energy wasted when they're on! It'll stop buzzing all the time and treat you like one of Pavlov's dogs 🐕.
- Hide your phone when you get to work. "Out of sight, out of mind."
🧘 Advice & Personal Habits
The media's gone tabloid. It's not here to enlighten you, it's here to distract you. It's no longer here to spread the news, it's here to stir controversy in exchange for pageviews. What's in it for you are bad feelings about things you cannot do anything about.
- Don't read the news. Go on a media fast.
- Get rid of your TV.
Going Stoic is also an option.
These work for me because of how I work. Adjust as needed based on your line of work. Beyond numbers or rule, the key takeaway is this: start your day on your own agenda – not someone else's, especially not that of strangers.
- No email before noon.
- No social media before 6pm.
- No sitting at the laptop passed 9pm.