As internet-dwelling humanoids, we have a love problem.
We're obsessed. Stuck in a one-sided relationship. We put in hours upon hours, only to receive nothing in return. It's so frustrating. We could be focused somewhere else, yet we can't get it out of our minds.
We are in madly in love with distracting ourselves.
However, the obstacle isn't social media itself, rather the result of social media - Black Hole Browsing.
Black Hole Browsing is the 21st century's most compelling psychological addiction that no one is talking about. It's the internet's plague, sucking the productivity from our minds and into the newsfeeds through it's merciless cycle.
Take Facebook for example. First, we share something. Second, we check to see if it got any Likes or comments. Third, we tell ourselves, "Oh I'll check my feed, just for a second..."
Next thing we know, we're 45 minutes lost in the online abyss of articles, videos, and BuzzFeed lists.
Eventually, we escape the powerful force of the consumption black hole, where habitual procrastinators are stuck, by sharing our hilarious/informative/shocking content we discovered ... ONLY TO START THE CYCLE ALL OVER AGAIN.
Hold on real quick while I let my brain explode.
What a nightmare. But good news. The cycle can be stopped. Actually, it can be completely destroyed, permanently severing our bad browsing habits. And no, it doesn't rely on willpower (cuz we all know how well that works).
Rather, a FREE tool, which can be setup in 30 seconds.
Meet StayFocusd - the website-blocking Google Chrome extension that has saved me hours, if not days or weeks, of wasted time. No longer do I feel hopelessly free falling into the productivity-sucking, procrastination-inducing black hole that we like to call the internet.
StayFocusd blocks distracting websites after a set amount of time, breaking the Black Hole Browsing cycle entirely. After the daily clock expires, I get this beautiful message:
Why yes, my productivy tool sent from heaven. I should be working. You are amazing and I love you.
Blocking distracting websites interupts the psychological urge to check for social media notifications, which causes the "just this once" check of the newsfeed, which leads to 45 minutes of mindless browsing.
After downloading StayFocusd from the Chrome store, it can be set up in three easy steps.
Websites that distract me most, causing Black Hole Browsing, are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Trends, and upvote-based websites such as reddit, Hacker News, or inbound.org. Thus, I setup my StayFocusd accordingly.
Does that mean I'm never distracted? Um, no. I am still human. BUT, it significantly lowers browsing distractions, if not eliminating them entirely.
Does that mean I never read? Ha, no. I consume digital content like Popeye consumes spinach. All the time. However, I have set periods of creating (i.e. writing this article) and set periods of consuming (i.e. listening to my current Audible book or reading articles saved in my Pocket).
10 minutes too little? Cool. Work your way down. Start at an hour. It doesn't matter. All that matters is you start somewhere.
I block web pages every day of the week, for all hours.
Why? I don't want to waste any of my life mindlessly browsing online, not merely weekday business hours.
Instead, 24/7 Black Hole Browsing blockage forces me to focus on things that are actually important, both professionally and personally. Professionally, I focus on writing these blog posts (!), listening to your feedback, and analyzing data.
Laser focus on important professional tasks then allows me more time to enjoy personal activities I love, such as hanging with family and friends, writing, playing piano, and surfing (in the water, not the web).
Honestly, you only need those three steps to use the app. There are other features, but they're minor and easily configurable.
The point is to get started. The only way to stop procastination, is to start doing something about it. This tool is a pretty dang easy first step.
Now go get some important stuff done (here's a free template for that).
Done! But why stop now? Learn more time management tips by reading the next post in this series.