This newly developed addiction for Snapchat messages, Facebook likes, retweets, pokes and what not, it’s nothing new. Attention economy is eating our life for forever now.
Some 15 years ago, when email was the enemy, I implemented a rule to avoid going down the interesting-links-in-emails rabbit hole: I could only open URLs that I listed the day before. The list could be as long as it needed to be, the stupid links from emails could also make the list, but there was no clicking on stuff that I didn’t put on the day before.
The stupid links immediately lost their fake relevance and urgency, so even if they were on the list, the next day I largely ignored those.
Also, this being in 2001, when I ran out of stuff to do on the internet (whoah!), I started inventing new stuff for the next day’s list, like “what does McDonald’s sell in India?”.
(It’s the Maharaja Chicken Sandwich. As expected, beef burgers were not on the menu.)
Without going too much into the details, I’m trying to implement a similar system now, where I try to regain control over my attention. I want to get into the habit to take out an hour in the evening to schedule everything for the next day – on paper, without any screen that might work my Pavlovian reflexes. The goal is to move impulsive action to planned action.
Please ping me if you have anything to add.