How I Controlled and got rid of My YouTube Addiction
As we are now in the age of the internet, we are surrounded with a lot of distractions. One of these is a popular social media platform called YouTube. This has been my go to when I feel bored, anxious or just relaxing. However, it might get worse and thus, I decided to get rid of my YouTube Addiction.
Basically the things I did to get rid of my YouTube Addiction are as follows:
- Realize that you have a problem
- Go Cold Turkey for Awhile
- Find your Hobby
- Remove the Application
- Block the site on your computer
- Go for a walk
- If possible, put your phone somewhere far away especially when you have the urge
- Find an Accountability Partner
- Treat yourself
- Find your Why
If you want to know more on these things and my journey, feel free to read more of it below.
It is estimated (as of this writing) that almost 210 million people are addicted to social media and it includes YouTube. I also did a social media cleanse which helped me a lot of in freeing my time and energy in doing more things that I really like, and I am proud of it. You may check it our by clicking here: Social Media Detox
Here is another YouTube addiction statistics for you, YouTube gets around 30 million visitors each day. That is a lot, and we know that some of them are pretty addicted to it and that includes me. Once on the site, only 6 percent of teenagers spend less than 10 minutes watching videos on the site. Most of us spend much longer watching online videos with 31.5 percent spending between 10 minutes and half an hour, and a further 31 percent between 30 minutes and an hour. Me? It sometimes take around 3-4 hours of my day.
YouTube’s algorithm is designed to prioritise and lengthen watch time, and to keep people addicted. As a result, it sucked a lot of time for people and as it uses your precious time, your time for your hopes and dreams will always become a dream.
It is called addiction for a specific reason. It became my go to every time I got bored or empty. While this platform can do a lot of good if used properly, it has been eating up my time and energy into something I’m not proud of.
With this in mind, I know I’m not using my time wisely. It started to get ahead in other important things in my life such as work. So I wondered and started to try controlling it. Quitting YouTube for a while might be a great thing for me to do right now because of the circumstances I am in.
A Little Bit about Me
I’m Jason and I made this blog as my personal journal. It includes the journey of my self improvement. In fact, this website already has a lot of articles regarding lifestyle. My road to self development started when I quit gaming which became a big part in me creating this site. If you also want to check it out, here is the link: Quitting Video Games
When I started this journey, I am someone who is a typical loser. I don’t have anything to be proud of. I spend my entire day watching YouTube, playing video games, browsing Facebook and it left a deep hole inside me.
I see people having the best day of their lives, posting the vacation, attending gatherings and here I am lying in bed doing nothing.
At first, it became a personal resentment that I can’t do anything despite people around me and my age going on with life.
But I came to a realization.
Rather than doing nothing at all, I made it into a fuel that would drive me to do things. I started to change myself little by little. I know there are a lot of people who are like me and I want to give them my story so it would serve as a motivation for them to improve themselves.
Right now, I am in my journey to self improvement. Feel free to browse these articles if you want to follow my journey. Link: Lifestyle Articles
So here is the first question, when and why did I think that YouTube is one of the addiction that I should get rid of?
Realization of my YouTube addiction
It might be a simple looking in the YouTube app in my phone and browsing videos. I will start watching some self improvement videos which is typical for me.
The problem is it will be a loop.
Have you ever started YouTube for a little while and suddenly you are watching tons of prank videos online?
Yes, that’s me. I will tell myself that watching some self improvement videos will help me in my journey and it did. However, it is like a fox dressed as a sheep.
You start with one video, then browse the suggestions, watch another and boom. You waster 3-4 hours of your life.
I realized this, after quitting games. A lot of my time went to using YouTube to satisfy me when I’m bored.
That is not what my self improvement seems to be.
As for watching self improvement videos, let me tell you this. You have watched a lot, followed them, wrote notes about their videos but did you really did the most important thing?
Did you start using these things to improve yourself? Did you read books? Started working on something to be proud of? or you are just making an excuse to tell yourself you are doing worthwhile?
I did asked these things myself, and I know I have a big problem.
Why I want to Control my YouTube Addiction
Now, you might be asking me based on the title.
Why not get rid of it altogether? Why do you only want to control the usage?
And to that my answer is this: I don’t want to kid myself.
I do not want to fool myself. The internet is a rich source of information and you are also seeing this on the internet. YouTube is one of them.
There are tons of amazing lessons online that you will get from it. You can learn whatever you want.
You want to learn how to cook? There are lots of demo on YouTube. Want to learn how to properly maintain your car? Guess what YouTube can help you with actual demonstration.
Why would I quit it?
You see YouTube is not the problem, although it is designed to be addictive since they need money from the ads, it is not really a problem.
The problem is us.
The problem is no other than us. While it is designed to be addictive, we need to improve our self control to use it to our advantage. So as the entire internet has a lot of valuable information for us, it is our duty to use it properly.
We are responsible for our lives and that’s what’s important.
You see, it is a two edged sword. While it can help you with a lot of questions in life, it can also be a vacuum that would suck your life. It is up to you to choose what you want but you can also reap the benefits of watching these videos without suffering in the end.
I hope you can get my point.
Oh and we all need entertainment. It is what will make us happy. We are not robots.
YouTube Addiction and the Brain
YouTube as with other social media apps are designed to be addictive. The problem is it messes with the dopamine system in our brain. While dopamine is a natural part of our life that gives us motivation, increase dopamine in a prolonged period will make us quite used to the neurochemical.
What do I mean by this, considering getting likes on social media. Did you remember having your first like in the platform? How do you feel? It feels amazing!
Now, you get 10, 15, 20, 50, 100… It really does not end. Now you feel amazing.
You now get 100 likes on average on your social media. Now it feels normal to get 100 like. You want MORE to be happy.
Now let’s do the reverse. You’re used to 100 likes but now you got only 80 likes. Do you feel sadness? Are you asking yourself where you went wrong? That is also what happens on YouTube.
You watch one video, suddenly you watch 10, then you lost a lot of time. When you have nothing to watch, you constantly scroll looking for a video for your fix.
That’s how it messes up our brain and it is never a good idea to feed this monster(addiction) in us.
Is YouTube the worst Social Media?
Definitely no, definitely in my opinion, it is not the worst.
What is the worse? I do not know. It depends on how you use them.
But let me get it straight, YouTube is not the worst especially if you can use it to your advantage.
As I said, YouTube has a lot of amazing lectures, discussion and demonstration on various important life skills. It can also give you career, financial and motivational tips.
No wonder it hooked me up even while saying that I’m improving my life.
However as I said, it depends on us. How we use it.
Use technology to your advantage. If I did it, so can you.
What you need to do is getting rid of your ADDICTION and not YouTube altogether
How I started Controlling my Addiction and Getting Rid of It
Okay, it might not work for everybody. In fact, how can you get rid of your addiction if you are still exposed to the problem? It is like being a quitting smoker with boxes of cigars in from of him.
However, that is what I did. I know how important YouTube is during our times and how much knowledge and entertainment it can provide in our lives and I know I can’t get rid of it altogether.
What I did is assigned a specific time for me to use YouTube.
It worked for a while but there is a bigger problem.
You see, unlike other social media apps, YouTube wants us to watch as long as we possibly can. Most of the videos I watch run for more than 10 minutes each and that is a problem.
If you want to finish videos and you are constantly suggested of new ones, you will forget to check the time and the addiction will not stop.
Is there an Easier Way to Control YouTube Addiction?
If I found something that helped me, it is by quitting cold turkey for awhile. I deleted the YouTube app on my phone and forced myself not watching it even on my laptop.
I did it for a week and it has worked better than I expected. It might be a very hard thing to do but it might be the easier way. Why not try to stop for awhile?
My Experience when I started to Quit YouTube
What happened to the channels that I subscribed to? What videos have they been uploading. I have no idea. The anxiety start to get to me. I get tempted to download the app again and I keep trying not to…
In fact, I did not know that I am this addicted. You see, I have quitted other social media apps for awhile but YouTube is different.
This is the moment I saw how addicting this is. And I persisted not using it.
Something came to my realization then.
I noticed a lot of precious time I have right now, and I do not know what to do with them. I imagined myself if I have these amount of time it means that YouTube took this much time away from our lives each day. This time would have been used to read a book, socialize with friends, get together with your loved ones, get enough sleep and more.
I once told how short a day is but right now, it doesn’t seem the case.
I learned how long each day is and how important it is to use it wisely.
We are not getting young anytime soon after all.
However for someone like me who had these much time afterwards, a big dilemma comes which is I do not know what to do?
Before, Youtube is my go to when I am bored. Now, there is a big hole that I cannot fill. I started to think what to do but nothing.
It was a mess the first 2 days of quitting.
After these crazy 2 days, I learned the value of time and something more.
I remember I once wrote the value of being bored. I forgot what it means to be bored and it might be one of the best things that happened to my life.
Once you get used to being bored, it is not as bad as society think it is. My mind became clearer and I tend to be more focused than ever. I even started to do things which is a pain before.
I started to gather more willpower and read books. I currently average 1 book every 3 days which is not bad at all.
When I do things, I get my full attention in doing them which makes my quality of work even better than before. I can also make things faster.
It is not just the time but the speed of my work became better.
The separation anxiety from the channels? Absolutely gone. I have a better understanding of my life and it turned out to be better. I started doing things which before seem so boring.
It was a great experience with ups and downs. It thought me a lot of things in life which seems funny knowing that there are some things lecture can’t teach me. Experience really is a great teacher.
My Experience after a Few Days
Alright, after I quit using the platform, I started using it again but in great moderation.
I use it around 1 hour each day which is enough for me.
Now that I am not addicted to it anymore, it is a lot easier to control it compared to before. I have a great concentration in doing things and a lot of time to do my reading, working on my personal projects and improving myself.
It seems like the more I do something to improve myself, it becomes a snowball.
Quitting YouTube made me appreciate little things in life, finding a new habit which made me know myself better.
Now, I am happy. I am still using the application but not in a detrimental manner. Whenever I need to do something, I just close the app, turn my phone to silent mode and start doing what needs to be done.
It seems my self control increased as I exercised it while quitting the platform for a while. It has been an amazing experience and I am now looking happy on my progress in life.
My Tips for you If you plan on starting to Control your YouTube consumption
Now that you’ve read my tips in quitting YouTube, I bundled some tips that have helped me in your journey towards the better version of yourself.
If you have any more tips? Do not hesitate to comment down below and who know? I might add that in this list. Why not let your story be an inspiration to others? 🙂
1. Realize that you have a problem
How can you start solving a problem if you don’t think you have a problem in the first place. There is a clear way to know if you have a problem or not. Try stopping for just a week. If you feel any resistance or urges to watch YouTube, chances are you really have an addiction problem.
Once you get to know that there is a problem, internalize it. Accept it as something that you should solve within you.
This is usually the first and I think the most important step in solving your addiction. Without this, there is no reason for you to torture yourself not using the app or website.
2. Go Cold Turkey for Awhile
You might have an iron willpower but not everyone has that ability.
Quitting cold turkey means that you 100% stay away from it. No certain time period where you can use it.
Platforms such as these are designed to be addictive. Plus, you are already addicted to it so there are a lot of reason for you to just delete it for awhile while recovering from your addiction.
As I said in my story, I have tried quitting YouTube by controlling my time spent on it but it did not work. If you have an iron willpower then be my guest. If not, it is just for a week.
The problem is once you tried not quitting cold turkey, your brain automatically lets you get to the application instantly. I noticed it. When I am fully aware, I can control myself not using it but when I let my guard down, my brain automatically makes me use the platform every time I feel bored. Once I get into the system, the cycle of scrolling takes place which is very addictive. Your brain wants more.
The only time where you are going to leave the application is when you get back to your senses. You senses that says you are on the verge of controlling your addiction, not feeding it.
So if you want to make the controlling or quitting process a lot easier, go cold turkey.
3. Find your Hobby
There is one thing you would realize after quitting any social media platforms, you have a lot of time to spare. This came more than a realization when I read a book called Achievement Habit. It told me that if you have 10 minutes, 10 hours and 10 days to live, would you live it the way you are living right now?
The answer is clearly obvious, I don’t want to spend the remaining days of my life doing nothing but browsing other people’s lives.
Spend your time wisely and I am sure that once you start this journey, you will see what I mean. There is plenty of time you can use. You will be extremely bored. So the solution? Find a hobby.
It could be reading, meditation, playing a musical instrument or exercising. Just something to get your mind off the YouTube. For me, I chose reading. I have read and expanded my knowledge in a lot of aspects. Particularly self help, finance and business books.
It really depends on you. Plus I am doing lens reduction therapy so it is really easy for me to do continue reducing my myopia. It would hit 2 birds in one stone
If you are interested in how I reduced my prescription lens from -3.25 to -1.75, check out my article here: Reducing my Myopia. Who wants to be dependent on glasses anyway? It is just uncomfortable for me.
4. Remove the Application
Quitting cold turkey and not removing the application is like putting candy in front of a kid. Consider removing the app for awhile so you will not get tempted more often than necessary.
This will help you quitting process by a lot.
5. Block the site on your computer
It is technically the same as removing the application from your phone.
If you are like me that is most often in front of a computer especially because I have a blog, better remove YouTube for awhile. There are a lot of tutorial on how to block YouTube from your computer.
However, for most, blocking the app in your phone is enough.
6. Go for a walk
There will be times where because you have a lot of excess time, you will not know what to do. Even if you replaced the bad habit of yours to something good such as reading, I promise you that you would not want to read most of the time.
There will be a time where you will not feel like it and it is totally fine.
When these situation happen to me, I usually go for a walk outside. Seeing other people, socializing, treating myself or doing something else to make my happy.
You have a lot of time at your disposal, do things that make you happy.
This will not just exercise your body but there will be times where you will see that you are having a strong urge to watch some videos. So staying away from your phone for a while such as when walking outside will be a good urge killer.
7. If possible, put your phone somewhere far away especially when you have the urge
This goes the same as walking outside. If you don’t want to walk outside, try just putting your phone away. There are some people that associates their phone with using social media such as YouTube. Removing the source of your addiction is big when quitting.
This will work by putting your phone away from you when you go to sleep, work, eat or other things you do. Just stay away from it if possible.
8. Find an Accountability Partner
You know what most people hate? Losing their face.
When you have someone you could tell to that you are quitting, you are putting your reputation in line. Thus, giving you a lot of willpower to continue this journey.
You could find friends, relative, GF/BF, wife/husband or whatever it is to be your accountability partner.
There is also another way to do this. If you hate losing money then you can bet someone that you will give them an amount of money whenever you check YouTube. This way, you will be thinking that you don’t want to lose money so you need to continue the challenge.
Losing something such as your face or money is a very big motivator in quitting.
9. Treat yourself
Don’t be too harsh with yourself. If you did all or most of the things above, you need to treat yourself for a job well done.
You have survived dealing with your boredom and doing some things that are beneficial for your own well being, why not give yourself a treat.
Be it watching your favorite movie, food, drinks or whatever it is, don’t forget to pat yourself for a job well done. 🙂
You did something that a lot of people would not dare to. Isn’t that a big reason to give yourself some break and enjoy?
10. Find your Why
Why are you doing this? Is it because you hate what you are currently doing with your life? You desire to do something else? You want to respect your own life and time more?
Getting your why and listing it in a sheet of paper while doing this challenge is a big thing in your journey to freedom.
Having this is like having a gun ready for the war to come.
If you have a list of the reasons why you want to do this challenge, read it every time you feel down or if your urge is really big. It will give you the motivation needed to continue the journey.
Trust me, this thing is big.
Benefits I have experienced when I left YouTube for awhile
Now let’s get to the exciting part of the process. The benefits. To be honest, it has been an awesome experience for me to quit and control using such platform. I became more self aware of myself and respected myself a lot more. Here are the list of the benefits I have experienced while and after the journey.
1. Better Sleep
Imagine not sticking your phone at night watching videos until midnight or early morning. I started to go to my bed earlier and focused on what I need to do on bed which is sleeping.
Not only that, since I reduced my phone consumption, I started to fall asleep better. Why?
Because I am just relaxed and the light from my phone does not mess my circadian rhythm.
Yes, light from your phone messes up your sleep cycle. This is one of the amazing benefit it has given me and because of that, I had a better mood in doing anything.
2. Better Mood
I must admit, during the first 2-3 days of journey in quitting YouTube, I felt anxious.
I kept thinking what new videos the channel I subscribed to had made. I am left behind. I am such a mess. I am addicted. I miss YouTube and watching videos.
Basically my mood sucks. However, after this, I had a better sleep. A lot better than before and my mood became a lot better.
I can easily control myself, I became attentive and happier overall. I respected myself more. The better sleep help me have a better overall mood which is an amazing benefit.
3. Increased Energy
Better sleep and Better mood, thus I feel refreshed everyday ready to tackle the challenges in life.
I have increased energy levels because of the benefits listed above. I don’t feel lethargic in the morning and it is an amazing feeling that I can do a lot of things in the morning to improve myself.
4. More Time to do the Things I want in Life
This has been a very obvious benefit for me. Believe me that you will realize you have a lot of time for you to use.
Combine this with your increased energy levels and you have a strong spell for success in life.
Use the extra time to improve yourself whether it would be your health, relationships, financial and overall well being.
Now you have given yourself time to be better. Use it wisely and have a wonderful and fun life.
5. Deeper understanding of myself
What else can you do on your free time? There will be times you will be bored as hell and you will not know what to do with it.
There are times where I stare blankly at the sky like an old man.
These are not useless. I learned to question my inner being on what to do, what I want in life and many more.
I answered myself a lot of times why I am doing this? Am I just torturing myself?
Of course the answer is it is a sacrifice. Something I am giving up to make my life better. I forgot to question my own self on the real things I want.
I got some answers which made me happier.
Remember this: If you don’t check on yourself what you really want in life, believe me that someone else would and it would not be fun.
Remember that if you don’t know what you want, you will be a food to the marketing world where you will be asked for more. As with one of my recent tweets.
This is one of my realizations while knowing myself better and that is my twitter account.
Remember to ask yourself what you truly want in life. Once you get the answer, go get it.
6. Increased Concentration and Focus
Now I don’t think of anything else rather than my goals. I am not thinking of anything else other than get the job done.
YouTube is not messing up with me anymore. Whenever I work, socialize, read or anything else, I just do what needs to be done.
Getting to deep work faster is like a magic pill to make work faster and more efficient. I appreciated this plus the increase energy and time.
7. Removal of Instant Gratification
Instant gratification is when you start to enjoy instant happiness rather than lasting ones.
Let me explain it further. Many of us would rather watch YouTube and enjoy than reading a book or working on your business.
Here is the difference, a lot of us choose to be happy right now and not think of our future, our dreams and our goals.
This also applies to alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling etc.
The problem with instant gratification is most of the time, it is detrimental to our well being whether physical or emotional. Lung cancer, liver cancer, depression and many more are sometimes caused by too much of these things.
I am not saying instant gratification is bad. Sometimes, you have to treat yourself. Enjoy life but you should always give time to make your dreams come true.
Removal of the instant gratification (YouTube), made me treat my life to better prepare myself for the future and I could never be happier seeing progress as I grow.
Improve yourself, strive to be better, enjoy the present but not too much and you will be on a road to success.
8. Willpower significantly improved
You have succeeded in this challenge and you feel empowered. You know not just how to control yourself better but also understood yourself in a deeper sense.
You have achieved something that most people will dare not to. Aren’t you proud? Aren’t you motivated?
With the practice of controlling yourself comes a new level of willpower.
Willpower is a muscle and the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. This is an amazing benefit to be used in improving yourself.
9. Better Overall Well being
Better sleep, more time, increased focus, better mood and deeper understanding of oneself. I think that is enough to think that it made a general sense of better well being for me.
No wonder I felt empowered and motivated to the challenges the future has given me. I am now better in tackling things in life and I am not looking back.
YouTube Addiction Recovery and Final Verdict
I am one of the person who desires to have a good life. A life where I can respect myself and my time. We will not live forever. We don’t have an unlimited number of cares to give.
However, there is a good news. We have complete power to choose which are the ones you will give your time and care for.
Sadly, most of us give a lot of time to YouTube and other social media applications. Ask yourself this. Does it really give value to your life or not? I mean if you use these things for your business or work then you are fine but how about the others?
Respecting your time and cares to give will give you a better perspective on your goals in life. What is mine? I want my story to be source of motivation for someone else in the future. I hope one of them will be you. 🙂
Thank you for reading my article on how to quit your YouTube addiction.