Think for a moment. How many hours a day do you spend watching youtube videos without even realising it? I know it’s hard to monitor whether our daily use of this social media site is going on an unhealthy track or not. Because the youTube algorithm is so clever at manipulating our subconscious minds that it always wins no matter how hard we try.
How Does YouTube Hijack Your Brain?
This vicious cycle of repeated subconscious actions quite often leads to a serious addiction, which has a negative impact on our work productivity. As a full-time blogger and freelancer, I’m also guilty of failing to take firm action against it early on.
I recently read a few articles on the internet, and some of them describe YouTube addiction as a form of procrastination. Watching YouTube videos, whatever it is called, has now become one of the greatest productivity killers of the twenty-first century.
According to recent surveys, teens in the United States alone spend approximately 37% of their daily video streaming time on YouTube and 35% on Netflix, indicating that online video consumption is increasing at an alarming rate. As a direct consequence, it is clear that many people are struggling to control their habit of wasting time watching unnecessary YouTube videos.
In this article, I’ll discuss how you can deceive yourself into spending less time on YouTube and more time on work. Although you have made a good start by actively seeking a solution, I cannot guarantee how much success you will have.
It all comes down to your self-determination.
However, before we discuss the methods and some cool tricks, we need to determine whether it is an addiction or procrastination that makes you spend so much time on YouTube in the first place.
Addiction vs. Procrastination
Let me be clear up front: I’m by no means a therapist or an expert in psychology. I could be wrong in so many ways. Still, as I used to procrastinate for so long, it gave me a solid insight into how it works and different ways to deal with it.
Procrastination, then, is defined as the habit of postponing or delaying important tasks that you know must be completed on time.
On the contrary, being addicted to something means that you can’t stop doing it once you’ve started. The desire for more and more of it, despite the known consequences, grows over time to the point where you need to see a doctor.
Addiction typically causes changes in various psychological behaviours in our brains that are much more difficult to overcome. Procrastination, on the other hand, is very common among people who dislike what they do. In other words, it is the result of a lack of self-confidence.
Dr. Piers Steel, the author of The Procrastination Equation has mentioned that almost 95% of us procrastinate to some degree. However many people misinterpret procrastination as laziness but they are very different.
Procrastination normally involves putting off unpleasant, but more likely important, work in favour of a simple and enjoyable activity. Such as watching YouTube videos, playing video games, or doing something else you enjoy.
For example, if you dislike studying, it is far more likely that you will procrastinate on something rather than focus on your studies. Therefore, if you lack confidence, fear, doubt, or disinterest in something, you should procrastinate rather than concentrate on completing the task.
It is now up to you to determine whether watching YouTube videos has become an addiction or merely a means of procrastination. However, in 99 percent of cases, it is most likely procrastination that is suffocating your productivity.
However, we are fully prepared to deal with it using a variety of techniques. Some require a little effort and discipline on your part, while others are simply psychological tricks that work.
The Root Cause Of Procrastination
I believe that the best way to avoid procrastination is to eliminate all trigger points that cause it. To give you a better understanding of what causes us to procrastinate in the first place, I’d like to tell you about my blogging journey.
When I first started my first website, I didn’t have enough money to hire freelance content writers to write articles for me.
So, I had no other way but to simply write content on my own. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a good writer and always struggled in English. Writing articles was such a focus-intensive task for me, that I unwillingly & unknowingly sought out ways to delay the work.
Even though I knew the writings needed to be finished in time, I was unable to control my urges to procrastinate. Quickly watching YouTube videos started absorbing most of my work hours.
It is not because I liked to spend hours on YouTube without having any meaningful work done, but I used to get overwhelmed by the content writing process altogether.
From researching to taking notes, from making outlines to writing an entire article with my half-baked understanding of English grammar was a very daunting task that helped me develop the habit of procrastinating.
People often think of procrastination as a result of inadequate time management issues, but let me assure you it is not. Many psychologists now believe that procrastination of any kind is an issue with managing our emotions, not our time.
When the task we’re putting off isn’t clearly defined, or seems too difficult, subconsciously we try to avoid the task for later. It makes us feel better or even more confident about our ability in performing the task.
Procrastination makes people daydream, and any rational-minded person can understand it’s nothing but an illusion playing by our subconscious mind. Therefore with a little bit of help and discipline, we can train our minds to concentrate on any given task without being distracted by YouTube.
How Can You Stop Wasting Time on YouTube?
So that being said, let’s now discuss the method or tricks which could help you stop wasting time watching YouTube videos. Although in this article we’re talking about ways to get rid of YouTube addiction, the following video demonstrates the benefits of not using a smartphone at all.
Because today smartphones have become the main source of distraction. The never-ending incoming notifications from different social media apps are the major culprit that makes your procrastination habit even tougher to break.
The YouTube app on your smartphone hence plays a prime role in your procrastination. It makes it very easy for you to grab the smartphone and start watching videos.
Once you are in the app, the recommended videos will make sure you spend at least a few hours more watching and wasting time. I mean it’s the main business interest of YouTube to keep you hooked on their app or site.
They make money showing ads as long as you keep watching one video after another. Therefore you need to break the chain and remove all the trigger points from the site, mainly the recommended video section.
Heck, even a former developer called Guillaume Chaslot who worked on the algorithm said YouTube recommendations are toxic. You can read the full story here. He further stated the actual motivations behind the recommendation feature are deeply flawed as it isn’t really about what the viewers want to watch.
Remove Recommended Video List
The AI (artificial intelligence) behind the recommendation feature is well-tuned to give you video suggestions that you’re more likely to watch. It makes a pattern out of your watch history. It’s both a blessing and a curse at the same time. You can not block YouTube from your life. It has made its place in our daily necessities.
Watching educational videos, following tutorials, and even watching documentaries can indeed help us be more informed and knowledgeable, but the habit of excessive consumption of this content is what we are trying to get rid of. And there are a few ways available to achieve it.
There is a browser extension called DF YouTube (Distraction Free for YouTube) available both for Chrome as well as Firefox. It removes all the trigger points from YouTube, such as the recommended videos list, trending, and subscription page.
It has been very effective for me as I spend 6-8 hours daily in front of a laptop, surfing the internet, and working on my niche sites. Unfortunately, it only works on the desktop version of YouTube.
Start Practicing Meditation
Our thoughts shape our experiences of life, they also make an atmosphere around us via their vibrational energy. Thus, the more you keep yourself aware of the fact that wasting countless hours watching YouTube videos is unhealthy for your productivity the more positive results you will get.
There are many benefits in practicing this self-awareness meditation, canceling the dependency on external tools is one of them. It helps us take back control of our own subconscious decisions. It should be the ultimate proficiency to master for anyone with any kind of addiction. But be aware of the fake self-help gurus.
Because they are more dangerous than addictive YouTube videos. Thus, don’t always blindly follow anyone teaching meditation. Just practice a few simple meditation guides from any reliable yoga guru. It will help you ease your restless mind. I recommend the following channel for learning about meditation and different ways to practice it.
Break Down The Workload Into Simple Steps
As I have mentioned above, procrastination often happens when we’re not confident enough in our ability in doing certain tasks. Like in my case, I used to get overwhelmed by the content writing process.
I did not like to write at all. That self-doubt eventually pushed me to build the habit of wasting time on youtube. Upon close realization of my situation, I have figured out the root cause of the problem and the solution to get away from it.
Want to know the secret? It’s not a secret though, but it helped me fight procrastination like magic. What I did is, break the entire writing process into small, simple, and manageable tasks. I made sure each task is simple enough to not take more than 2 hours to complete. We need to hit the weakest point of procrastination because almost 90% of the time it grows from our inability to prioritize our tasks effectively.
If you have noticed I’m still not talking about the apps or other time blocking methods of keeping your YouTube usage under control. You know why Because those things often don’t even work, on top of that it just increases the complexity and burden of keeping all things organized.
You simply can not force yourself into following the instructions given by an app, unless you have strong motivation to do so. Take studying for example, if you don’t like studying, no matter how much you keep yourself away from watching YouTube videos or other forms of procrastination, in your mind you’ll be restless, and you just can not focus on studying. Ultimately these time blocking methods don’t work either such as.
- Blocking sites from opening
- Setting time limit on usage
These methods don’t cure the main addiction or procrastination habit, but temporarily suppress them for a certain period. After that, you will be back in your old habit. That’s not good, is it?
The Final Thoughts
Getting addicted to YouTube is a serious problem for many, especially among teenagers. To prevent addiction or the habit of wasting time on YouTube we need to first realize the fact that we’re addicted to something that could destroy our lives.
The best method to become self-aware of the YouTube addiction is by comparing our present self with the younger version when this all started. Ask yourself whether you have become what your younger version had dreamed of?
Possibly not, right? Acknowledge this fact, retry to move forward to your goal. Self-motivation certainly has the power cure any kind of addiction. The more we become self-aware of YouTube’s mind manipulation techniques, the more we could prevent its addiction from happening.