1. Stop the temptation to go on Youtube
The first way to stop watching Youtube is to stop the temptation to even start watching Youtube. When you don’t even go on Youtube, you won’t even get into the danger of spending there more time than you wanted. But how do you do that?
I know it can be very difficult, especially when you get into the habit of watching a specific Youtuber or at a specific time. Every time he or she uploads a new video, you start watching it. This isn’t a real problem. The problem is that you will stay on Youtube watching other videos. Normally you won´t just watch this one video.
I stop the temptation with some simple tricks:
- Deactivate Youtube on your Smartphone
- Don’t make Youtube easily accessible on your browser
- Use your computer just for work
These are rules I have set for myself to not get distracted by watching Youtube when I really should be working. Here is an explanation of how these simple tricks work, even though I think they are pretty obvious:
1. When you deactivate Youtube on your Smartphone, you won’t have the symbol on it. As I mention in the article 5 reasons why you should stop watching YouTube, your smartphone makes it very easy for you to hop on the video-platform as soon as you get bored and have internet access. Your Smartphone is one of the biggest sources of distraction you have, so make it easy for yourself, not to get distracted. If you can’t deactivate the Youtube-App on your smartphone, since some don’t allow it, then at least hide it from the front page. If you don’t see the symbol, you don’t get triggered.
Most people take their smartphone with them when they go on the toilet. There they start scrolling through Whatsapp, Instagram or Youtube. If you get hooked by a video or two, it won’t be easy to stay off Youtube for the rest of the day. So don’t even take your smartphone with you when you go to the toilet. (I know it’s hard since there is nothing else to do there, but you can take a magazine with you, like in the good old days ;))
2. Don´t activate the shortcut to Youtube on your browser. Make it difficult to access the video-platform. The more resistance there is, the easier it will be for you to stay off Youtube. So create as many barriers as possible to watch a video. This means to remove all the shortcuts and saved page-links you have on your browser. If you don’t get triggered, you can do what you intended to do.
3. Make it a rule for yourself to use your computer just for work. When you turn on your computer to do some work, do it, and turn it off. Don´t scroll around or distract yourself. Focus on what you want to do. It has helped me a lot to really be clear about why I need the computer and what I want to do with it. I did get done much more and haven’t had the time to even think about opening Youtube. You should try it out if you are serious about getting off your Youtube-addiction.
2. Control your behavior
As I mentioned in the first point, it’s important to control your behavior. But this doesn’t just include to control the way you use your smartphone and computer but also the way you use Youtube. I don’t think you should stop watching videos forever, but you should start to control what you watch and when you watch it.
Youtube is a very good platform to get information very fast. It can teach you how to fix your bike or how to get a summer-body. The problem is the unnecessary stuff you can find there like fail-videos or reaction-videos. They don´t bring you any value. For me, it’s a waste of time, unless your goal is to laugh and to have some fun, then sure fail-videos can be great for that. But other than that you should use it much more consciously.
For that, I have made this list, where I write down what kind of videos I want to watch or what specific videos I “allow” myself to watch. Here is how I use it:
At the beginning of every week, I start a new list. When I research something or need some information, but don´t go on Youtube yet. When I´m really sure about what I want to watch, I can do so at the end of the day, so I don´t kill my productivity. Here is where the list comes in: When searching for the quick information I need, there will be some “unnecessary videos” suggested, that peak my interest. In my case, it’s often related to cars, since I´m a car-guy. But instead of giving in to that temptation, I write it down on my list and go off Youtube.
At the beginning of the week, I write down a date, when I’m allowed to watch other videos on Youtube that don’t necessarily bring me any value. Most often it’s a Sunday because that’s the day I can relax. On Sunday I sit down with my list and start watching what is on that list. Here is the trick: Most often the videos you have written down aren´t interesting to you anymore and you don’t even watch them. At least that’s how it works for me. But it’s important to just watch the things you have written down on that list. If you find other interesting videos, write it down on a second list for the coming week. This way you have full control over your behavior and won´t give Youtube a chance to hook you and waste your productive time.
3. Limit the time you spend on YouTube
Another way to stop watching too much Youtube is to limit the time you spend there. There are several Apps that allow you to limit the time on certain apps on your phone. There are also programs for your computer that do the same things.
Why does this work? First, you have an external force that keeps you away from staying on Youtube for too long. You have set a limit of half an hour and you won’t be able to watch for longer than that. Simple. Second, you will be much more conscious about what you want to watch. Since you are limited to only a certain time, you will choose much more wisely which videos you will watch. That way also the quality and value of the videos, in general, will be higher since you don’t want to “waste that time”.
I personally don’t use that because I have the list that keeps me focused on what is important, but I’m sure some of you don’t like the idea of using a list. For those people, I suggest trying this method.
4. Replace the habit with something else
“You can only break a habit by replacing it”. That’s what the book “The Power of Habit” teaches. “But it’s not a habit nor an addiction,” you say? Well then please start to observe your own behavior. For me, it was the time right after I got home from school. There is this car-youtuber uploading every work-day that I loved to watch, even though some videos aren’t that interesting. It has become a habit. I recognized that and acted. I deleted Youtube on my smartphone and started to read right after coming home from school. That way I had replaced that habit. Now I watch only the most interesting topic of the five videos he uploads a week on Sundays.
So how can you break your habit? First, you must recognize it. In which situations do you watch Youtube? When are you in the toilet? When have you finished eating your dinner? When you come home from school or work? Then you must find an activity that gives you the same kind of emotions that Youtube gives you. For me, it was that I could relax. But I also relax when reading an interesting book that educates me on a topic I like. Therefore it was easy for me to replace that habit.
To conclude: You first have to find the trigger. Why do you watch Youtube? – Because you have to relax? Because you are on the toilet and have nothing else to do? Find what it is. Second, you must replace your behavior. Third, you must get the same kind of satisfaction with the activity you do instead. When you replace watching Youtube with cleaning the dishes, you won’t be able to replace it, since most people don’t enjoy cleaning the dishes. The replaced behavior must cause similar emotions.
There is another benefit of doing that: If you replace Youtube with reading books or calling a friend or whatever you replace it with, it can actually alter your quality of life, since you learn something and operate in the real world. And please don´t replace watching Youtube with watching porn. If you want to, stick to Youtube instead.
5. Get busy doing something else
The last point is an extension of the previous one: You should get busy doing something else. Youtube is very successful because it´s super-accessible, people have more time to use it and it can also bring some value. But you get into Youtube-addiction because you don’t seem to have anything else to do. It’s like a hobby, but it shouldn’t be!
Start doing some sport, exercising, join a club or start to read. There are many ways to spend your time with more useful things. At this point, I again want to point out that I don’t think Youtube is bad. I just want to say that some videos you can find there is a waste of your valuable time and that people use it mindlessly.
When you have found something you have a passion for, you won’t have a great temptation to go on Youtube in the first place. I know it sounds very simple, but it really helps and makes you much happier too.
As always I would be happy to hear your opinion on that topic and about some corrections in language and grammar. I hope you have a wonderful day.