Living with Intention - An Experiment


#1

Hello everyone!

I’m not coming to nosurf from a bad place - I’m not failing any classes, I’m not depressed, I don’t need to turn my life around. However, I’ve found myself living my life very passively within the last year. I watch hours of YouTube whilst on other websites, not really paying attention to either. I never read books anymore, I fill up all my free time with Reddit or podcasts.

I need a change - not for any “I hate social media” reasons (I don’t have any accounts!), nor do I want to find the “secret to productivity”.

I’m not here for enlightenment; I simply want to spend my time more intentionally.

What do I mean by this? I want to pick an activity and actually focus on it entirely.

Now, I’m not going to go crazy and remove every fun thing in my life. For example, when I get home from work in the evenings, I intentionally play an hour of video games to unwind - this is great! However, If I was turning on my console as soon as I have free time because I have nothing “else” do do? This is the behaviour I want to avoid.

My main vice is reddit, in every free moment I catch myself constantly checking politics subreddits. I need to get my news once per day from an actual newspaper. I read about hobbies but never take them up.

How will I do this? Replace unintentional internet time with planned, intentional time! Be that reading, writing, watching tv/movies, playing games. I want to do one activity at a time and be able to focus. I want to make reading into a habit again, like I was able to do when I was younger.

By replacing this time with other things, other than just cutting it out, I believe I will be far more successful.

My rules

  • No web browser on my phone - my phone is my only device where I aimlessly browse, so removing the browser seems like a good step! If I need to look something up, I have apple maps for directions, bus times etc. I can also just write something down and look it up when I get home!

  • No reddit, no news websites - I’m going to block reddit from my laptop and iPad. I have bought myself a year long NYT subscription (only £25!), and will read the “today’s paper” section on my iPad each morning. I will use Self
    Control on my laptop and set the length to 3 months for the reddit block. On my iPad, I will block using screen time features and get my partner to input the pin so I am unable to reverse this.

  • YouTube - 30 minute limit per day. I do find some use out of YouTube, however it is easy to fill a whole day rewatching old videos. Hopefully this will give me enough time to watch any new subscriptions or look something up on YouTube I like whilst avoiding an all day video spiral.

  • Podcasts - no listening back to old episodes! I find myself filling up ALL day with podcasts, to the point where I am anxious without anything playing in my ears. To solve this, I am not allowing myself to listen to any old podcast episodes for 3 months.

My main challenges I forsee

  • Reading - I need to be able to read something without getting distracted. I know this is going to be difficult.

  • Unblocking Reddit somehow - I’m a PhD student who programs all day, I will probably find a way around it somehow.

  • Overcoming silence anxiety - I know this will take some getting used to but I need to be able to be alone with my thoughts.

Schedule

I will try to post daily to begin with, maybe less frequently as I get further into this experiment! But minimum weekly.

See you guys soon!

J


#2

Those are all great goals! How are things going?