Last December, I blogged about taking it easy on social media over the holidays. This is a post on how it went for me.
For the most part, I kept true to my promise and kept away from social media.
It took a little patience to kill my muscle memory, but with the help of a
hosts file, I was able to persevere.
Here’s the hosts file snippet I ran with:
127.0.0.1 reddit.com 127.0.0.1 www.reddit.com 127.0.0.1 hckrnews.com 127.0.0.1 news.ycombinator.com 127.0.0.1 cbc.ca 127.0.0.1 cbcnews.ca 127.0.0.1 winnipegfreepress.com 127.0.0.1 linkedin.com 127.0.0.1 www.linkedin.com 127.0.0.1 facebook.com 127.0.0.1 twitter.com
On my phone, I played around with some “blocking” programs, including Apple’s own content filtering, but ultimately found they either didn’t work (3rd party), or were too restrictive (Apple). That left me with two orthogonal options:
- Delete apps (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit)
- Just don’t go to those websites. (Admittedly, this took some willpower, but it’s hard to develop muscle memory for typing out long URLs on iOS, anyways.)
When I initially set out on this endeavour I had two goals; spend more time with family, and get more done. I can say I succeeded on both of those counts. There was plenty of time to play and enjoy my family, and whenever I hit a pang of boredom I broke out the ole’ bucket list.
All in all, I stayed in shape, read some (long dusty) books, hacked on side projects, and managed to get a ton of “winter cleaning” tasks out of the way (including digitizing ~200 receipts for my taxes next year).
I’ll admit it. Some cheating happened. It wasn’t too bad on my computer, where uncommenting and DNS-cache clearing is a little cumbersome. No, where it bit me most was on the phone.
You know how visits to the in-laws can be. Lots of people. Lots of kids/pets. And, worst of all, lots of stress. I took it as an acceptable loss to browse Reddit here or there on the can while at the in-laws…
Would I do it again? Definitely. I still haven’t returned to Facebook, and gained a healthy habit of asking “is there anything that needs doing?” before reaching for a time-filler. I expect I’ll keep the pipe partially closed for the next little bit, and maybe re-engage full-stop when I need a period of high productivity.