For Week 1 of 2020 I set myself the challenge of not watching stuff on Youtube. The reason for this was that I had noticed some undesirable habits, such as binge watching stuff, routinely watching something while eating, tired, or as an ‘escape’ from other things I wanted to get done but were finding a challenge; a form of avoidance*. These habits aren’t something that Youtube is to blame for since I have learned how habits are all too easily transferable. I could cut out Youtube only to find myself seeking escape in other things, like scrolling through Facebook.
*I even find blogging to be a form of avoidance, whether it be reading other people’s blogs or writing a post like this rather than getting something else done.
The mindless scrolling seems to be a common symptom, and I found myself doing this on Youtube, only to avoid actually watching anything by using the Watch Later feature. At least once per day I would scroll through what Youtube was offering to me and add to my list. Come the weekend and I had a list that was over 30 videos long. I realised, and knew from the outset, that “Strictly No Youtube” wasn’t how I wanted to be long term; I actually find useful and educational things to watch on Youtube and some entertainment every once in a while is surely not so bad, just not as some sort of compulsive avoidance tactic.
The Watch Later feature was therefore very helpful because once I realised how much stuff I had added to my list, and knew I didn’t actually want to sit down and watch ALL of that stuff, I started to deleted stuff without watching it, I became more selective when doing a “scroll/search for something to watch”, and ultimately found myself, in the end, not bothering to look for stuff to begin with.
Besides getting on with something constructive, such as those things that reside on my To Do lists for far too long, I knew there were times when I would normally watching something on Youtube, like with my breakfast, mid-morning cup of coffee, lunch or dinner… These might only be short videos (perhaps the worst kind for a quick dopamine fix) and not add up to much time-wise, but it was the habit and routine that I wanted to break/change.
I opted for an episode (or extra) from my DVD collection of Young Indiana Jones; they’re both entertaining and educational. I’ve had these for a few years and like my 10-volume set of Children’s Encyclopedias, want to get them finished. So I watching an episode each day with my evening meal.
For Week 2 of 2020 I intend to continue with my methods; adding to my Watch Later list on Youtube should I find myself scrolling on there, focusing on my To Do list of things I actually want to get done, and then watching an episode from the DVDs.
As for January as a whole so far:
- I’ve cleared a number of bottles and cans from the roadside (13)
- Practised some piano most days
- Did some yoga on 6/7 days (had neck ache, I think from other things, on the 7th day!)
- Listened to some more of The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night
- Sprayed some paint in the model railway room
- Recorded another episode of ‘Brian reads…‘
And now I have a list/pile of things to fix and list on ebay…