I’m embarking onto an experiment to remove my addiction of the all pervasive media that is all around us at all times.


This experiment follows the same pattern outlined on the “Bye bye shyness experiment” and as that experiment does, benefits from public accountability. You see, failing in private is easy because you can masquerade the pain of failure by rationalisation. E.g. James is trying to quit smoking but then he smoke once on a party. And it all went downhill from there, turning into a regular [smoker] once again. He rationalises that he really likes smoking (probably true) and because it is so nice with alcohol and other drugs (subjective, but valid) he was missing it so much. He also tells himself almost every other person who tried quitting came back so it’s quite normal.

The truth is - in simple terms - he failed because (1) he decided to smoke, and (2) he decided to continue smoking after. He failed at what he set to achieve. The reasons are not attenuating circumstances. We glaze and sweet coat the truth, failure is failure.

Anyway, to the point, lately I’ve been binge watching a lot more media than I should - and I just can’t seem to stop. It all started as an experiment but that doesn’t matter.

Couple watching film in bed with a laptop

The usual sell-me-the-lovely-life image of two people (usually a couple) enjoying their time together while watching a movie or series at home.

Man watching the nth movie late at night

The more usual manifestation of the obsession

Current Media diet and Media around us

When speaking of content, I’m speaking of anything that conveys stories; not limited by any medium of consumption.

If you come to realise how much content we consume in a week, you will start concerning yourself. Here is a startling fact:

In this day it’s easier to consume media than it’s to get some prepared food online and delivered to your door.

The latter used to be the thing you could do on your doggiest days, and that was already lazy! Not today. Today we can go much further! The point is but of a real problem.

If you want to watch a movie, a series, get gossip, news, etc. You can do that from your bed in less than 20 seconds. You can do so in your phone, tablet, smart speakers,…well, basically smart anything.

The constant accessibility and the pervasiveness of those stories make it difficult to avoid even if you’re willing.

But being everywhere and available at all times wasn’t enough. Now that everyone produces their stories and your attention is coveted and tried to take captive non-stop 24/7/365, now the next thing is make these stories addictive - so if one of them manages to capture your attention, they can get you addicted to that content and expect

Onto with my own problem

What started as an experiment quickly became something difficult to control.

The reason is simple; personality, traits, and outlook to life. How does that translate in practical terms. Well, here a few of the things that magnify the problem:

  • I’m a very obsessive-type of person, with the need to finish what I start and bring closure to things.

  • Endurance is another quality I have. If I have to work 12hrs straight or more, so I do. No problem.

  • I like challenges. And I have undertook many

  • And as an inventor I have a very vivid imagination and visual machinery.

  • Another problematic thing is I don’t have the need of an established schedule to perform - and I’m not usually bugged by deprivation of the basic necessities: e.g. sleep, eat, etc.

  • I’m passionate. If I’m passionate about something I can’t stop doing it, think of it, talk about it, do something about it, etc.

You can see how these qualities quickly make content consumption problematic, when content is produced to maximise addiction.

I’m going to leave the gory details of how bad this turned out at certain times because there is no need for it. The unique thing you need to know is it did become a problem[1].

The (possible?) solution

Or how I designed an experiment to combat the problem.

There is a very wise saying in war, that is to beat an enemy you must understand the enemy so well you become it/you could love it.

There are multiple enemies here: - (1) myself and my traits, - (2) the easiness to get stories even when not willing, and - (3) how to choose for the “healthy” option when temptation arises.

[Explanation goes here on what I want to achieve, rationalise how from knowing myself these are the right steps]

A rule set

The first is to set up and adhere to a new rule set:

  • Movies: Sporadically - up to 2x/day max when ill if unable to do anything else
  • Series: Don’t start them. Allowance is 2x series/year max. Choose wisely.
  • Writings: Speaking of general writing, 2-4 times a day.
  • Youtube: binge watching videos…TBD.
  • Games: depends on the game[2] and if it’s part of an experiment.
  • News: never.

NOTE: Content for learning is allowed anytime.

Healthy defaults and Strategies to not fail

Now that the rule set is established, we need to set up and adhere to a default behavior. One key thing to do here is to make the default choice (“the healthy choice, Co!”) a bit easier.

Right now, for me I find 10000x times easier to consume than to produce. However, most of the things to do are based on production. Heck! even this blog is producing in one way or another.

  • To get this easier, you must have a list in front of you of things you need to do - that is tasks which you can perform (or could perform if you have none) that make your life better and that don’t require concentration. Whenever you can’t be in the zone, move on to do those instead of consuming media.
  • Log out of all social media, forget your passwords in your browser and phone and make it so you need to log in every time to
  • When the idea of watching something comes up, check if you have allowance and if not stand up walk a bit around and concentrate in what you need doing.
  • Find fun in getting things donetm

Make it a game

You probably heard it before, but approaching something you want to achieve as a game makes you more likely to win. That is because in games you’re always getting somewhere and by doing more you win.

It’s an amazing top level strategy to keep this always in mind. Following the game analogy, the game itself here is to adopt a military style training and lifestyle, with allowances on what one can do and when and what one can’t.

The orders are going to change as we progress but the initial top level rules are to:

  1. The regime starts by following a schedule (strict/passional, etc.) with as much extra working time as wanted. The outcome; moving the needle with what you’re doing.
  2. When there is time allowance for the above, abide by the set of rules.

As we progress we are going to improve certain aspects like through output, and the like. For starters we are at level 0 and we need to level up to do anything meaningful in the game.

And now that all is established, let’s get going with the plan and see how it meets the road!


[1] The definition of a problem in psychology is that doing something that interferes with your day to day activities - the ones you really must do to eat, pay rent, etc.

[2] Tetris for example is an amazing game to process trauma. I have a hunch hover it’s not only trauma that it helps process but any number of events with high input - and frankly - some movies and games today are fairly close in imagery to real war (and some even worse!).