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I am a computer programmer, worked for 3 years, and now I am doing my post-graduation from the best institute of India. I have a wierd problem. I am addicted to watching videos, lesser addicted to playing games, and reading random things on internet that does not matter.

Most basic step towards losing an addiction is to get rid of the trigger. I cannot get rid of the laptop. I have unsuccessfully tried to refrain from doing all of this multiple times. I have tried uninstalling VLC, flash and even browsers at one point. But it lasts for a few days and then somewhere the temptation sets in to reinstall them again. I use linux, and installing all is just a matter of one command.

This problem is worsened because I have a heavy use of laptop for my programming, projects and more. I cannot do away with programming responsibilities. I have tried to gain self control but somewhere its not happening. Somewhere the temptation gets better of me, and I keep wasting multiple precious hours on useless things on laptop.

The problem is so bad that I have started questioning the ability to self-control at all, have started questioning my character, and have started believing that my life will be ruined due to this habit.

What can I do to still program but get rid of this habit?

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If you are downvoting, please do, but please also explain in the comments what you are thinking. – Jul 25 '14 at 16:33
You can search for the "procrastination" tag on this site or look into the pomodoro technique to get started with your tasks. – 0x6d64 Jul 26 '14 at 9:42
I got rid of my nasty habit of spending too much time on video games (several hours a day, I really like video games) by installing two OS on my laptop. Windows for games and videos, Linux for work. The amount of time necessary to restart the computer when switching from work to pleasure was enough to visualize the time loss (I don't think about it when it's just Alt+Tab). I tried to find other things to do when I felt the need to play. Eat an apple, call someone, do laundry. And I started doing my work at a new place where I wasn't used to play. It took several weeks but it worked. – Yves Sep 14 '14 at 19:55
Great! Will try this and let you know. – Sep 16 '14 at 8:28
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are times like the ones in which you wrote this question when you are most aware and you should simply use these moments to analyze how much time you've lost. That's it. When you are self-aware that you are losing time, focus on finding out how much time you've lost and what you could've done in the meantime. You don't even have to come up with a solution for this - just make sure you find out how much it bothers you and wether or not it is indeed a problem.

If you don't understand the magnitude of the problem, you won't be able to solve it, no matter how many good advices you get.

Once you managed to find out the magnitude of the problem, your intelligence will come up with the greatest advice of them all. And when the advice comes from yourself, there's not much you can do to avoid it.

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One of the best answers. People aren't willing to do what it takes to make an inconvenient sacrifice to overcome addition. I think if they took the time to analyze how much time they are wasting, they might realize it's worth sacrificing convenience to fix, or realize it's not that big of a deal and stop worrying. – imagineerThis Mar 20 at 0:05

Edit /etc/hosts and add all sites you shouldn't access. This is what mine looks like:       localhost
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I write code and don't like how much the internet distracts me from work. Here is what is working so far:

(I use windows, so I'm not going to be able to make specific app recommendations for the whole list)

1) Measuring. I use history plug ins to chrome, Rescue Time (linux) and TimeSnapper (a window sonly screen recorder). Hard to motivate oneself if you don't know how serious the problem is. For me, some weeks goof off websites consume 20 hours of home and work time.

2) I use the host file to block completely useless websites. I know I can unblock those sites at any time, but the mental speed bump of having to open notepad, edit the file, wait for the dns caches to clear-- I usually don't bother, at least not out of automatic habit. This makes the most sense if you have a work machine and a play machine. You can still watch your recreational websites on your recreational machine, but on your work machine, having to edit the hosts file is often a big enough hassle to stop you from doing so.

3) For websites that I use too much, but can't stop using, like gmail or my bank website, I use a chrome plugin called netnanny which prohibits those websites until my specified time, which is about 3PM for me. So I get 8 to 3 with out any personal email distractions.

4) Other websites I still use too much but need access to them through out the day. Stackoverflow is on this list- I need it for work, but sometimes end up there out of habit and not need. I use net nanny to limit access to that site for 30 minutes per hour per day (so I can't waste a 90 minutes straight-- a goof off pattern, but I can hit the site and get what I need and get out, which is a work pattern).

5) Finally, I read the book about habits, how that each habit has a trigger. If you can identify the trigger and kill it, the habit disappears. So imagine you want to be the sort of person who only watches movies in the evening and weekends. So you stop every time you find your self on a video website and recall what happened just before you got there. For me, the worst trigger is a pause of nothing happening-- code compiling, I've just finished a task and it isn't clear what the next one is. So the more short term goals you can create and the more visible you can make them in your work environment, the better. At the moment I'm using personal kanban, which seems to help since having big post it notes is a physical reminder of what the next short term task is.

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Something like Cold Turkey for Linux might help.

Or if you want to do this manually, try setting your root password to some random string and write it on a piece of paper which you keep as far away as possible. The physical action of having to retrieve the root password might give you a chance to stop yourself.

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Watching videos is not that bad. I do it while taking short breaks myself. Use a time tracking software that can help you like focusbooster or rescuetime. Analyse how much time you're spending on the website and make the change.

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If you do end up using Rescuetime, set a goal for how much time you spend watching videos. Personally I have a goal set for "spend less than 1 hour / day on all distracting activities" in Rescuetime and it really kicks my butt when I get the weekly email telling me I've missed the goal. – Wally Lawless Aug 1 '14 at 13:32

Watching the videos doesn't makes bad. but the thing is what kind of video you are watching is the issue.

If You are watching any video which entertains you please stop watching that kind of videos. Do watch the videos that will increase your programmatic skills. you will get you. :)

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Yes. Thank you for the advice. But this is not what I am asking. I want to stop watching the videos altogether, and I am wondering what is the way to do it without stopping programming. – Jul 26 '14 at 5:06

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