2020-07-13

Minimising distraction on the internet

Here’s a list of things I do to make web browsing less distracting and more aligned with my goals.

Blocking ads


uBlock Origin is available on Chrome and Firefox. It’s also usable on Firefox for Android.

Inbox zero


I like to keep my email inbox as empty as possible. With the archive feature, it’s possible to do the same on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. After replying to a thread, I archive it and the thread will only reappear in my conversation list after activity (e.g. a new message)

Zapping distractions


uBlock Origin allows you to zap any element of a web page you don’t want to see. Good things to zap:
  • Facebook news feed
  • Comments and suggested content on news and video sites
  • Stack Exchange popular community questions
  • Product recommendations on Amazon / other online shops

Blocking sites


Leechblock (available on Chrome and Firefox) allows you to block websites: entirely, after exceeding a usage limit, or during particular times of the week. Some websites I find too distracting and block completely (e.g. Reddit). Some other sites I give myself at most 2 minutes every quarter hour to look at.

Leechblock can also block sites using wildcards, such as blocking any URL containing a certain string or blocking only some pages on a website. The add-on also allows whitelisting.

These features allow you to create advanced filters such as: block any sites containing “news” except for “bbc.co.uk/news” but do block “bbc.co.uk/news/politics”.

I try to avoid reading the news as much as possible, and rely on friends and Wikipedia’s current events portal to keep me up to date.
5 Tristan Cook: Minimising distraction on the internet Here’s a list of things I do to make web browsing less distracting and more aligned with my goals. Blocking ads uBlock Origin is available o...
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