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How to Stop Wasting Time On The Internet
How much time have you wasted online today? I can give you a rough estimate of the minutes I frittered away just this morning: 20 minutes spent reading comments on Reddit about the Dr. Strange movie (which is awesome, by the way),10 minutes spent reading about all the actors who have played Sherlock Holmes, 15 minutes looking stupid pictures of dogs (while eating breakfast, so this one isn’t as bad I suppose). 45 minutes, totally gone. And that’s just this morning. Why do we waste so much time online? We know we should be studying, or writing a paper, or coding, or whatever – but instead we hit up Reddit. Or we scroll through Facebook with glazed-over eyes.
Lock Down Your Familiar Haunts
The best way to prevent yourself from wasting time online is to block your access to the places where you waste it. Plain and simple. While blocking specific sites won’t prevent you from finding new ones to waste time at, it’s still effective. The idea is to make procrastination more effort than it’s worth. If your brain is used to jetting over to Reddit or Facebook when you don’t want to work, block those two sites. It’ll take more mental effort to Google for something specific to waste time looking at than it will for you to just lazily scroll through your newsfeed.
Without a doubt, my current favorite tool for blocking distracting sites is an app called Cold Turkey. Available for Mac, Windows, and Android, Cold Turkey lets you block every digital distraction you can imagine, using customized lists of distracting sites. It’s currently available in a free version, which includes the site-blocking functionality I already mentioned, as well as a paid version that adds some additional features such as the ability to block other applications and schedule recurring blocking periods.
If you don’t want to use an app, you can also permanently block websites by editing the HOSTS file on Windows or etc/hosts on OS X. To get really nuclear, make these changes on an Administrator account on your computer. Set a really complex password for that account, and store it somewhere safe on paper. Do all your work on a non-admin account, and you’ll have no way to change your block settings unless you go get the password. This is way more intense than most people will need, but desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures.
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How to Remember More of What You Learn
I’ll just say what we’re all thinking: studying takes too much time. There are only 24 hours in a day, and naturally you’d like to use as many of them as possible for sleeping and, I don’t know, drawing pictures of robot bears or something. To achieve that goal, you need to find a method that lets you spend less time studying while retaining the same amount of information.
A New Theory of Forgetting
Here’s the solution: space out your studying. By introducing time intervals between study sessions, you can remember more – even if you spend fewer actual hours studying. This is called spaced repetition, and it may be the most powerful technique in existence for improving your brain’s ability to recall what you study.
Spaced repetition leverages a memory phenomenon called the spacing effect, which describes how our brains learn more effectively when we space out our learning over time. You can think of learning as being kind of like building a brick wall; if you stack the bricks up too quickly without letting the mortar between each layer solidify, you’re not going to end up with a very good wall. Spacing our your learning allows that “mental mortar” time to dry.
In his book How We Learn, author Benedict Carey describes the new theory of disuse (what he calls the “Forget to Learn” theory), which better explains why these memories seem to stick around, even as many others seemingly go the way of the dodo. The first principle of this theory is that memories have two different strengths – storage strength and retrieval strength.
Monday Shower Thoughts
- One day, the picture of the oldest person alive’s picture as a kid will be in color.
- If you do something constantly for 8 hours straight, it’s an addiction. However if someone pays you for it, it becomes a job.
- It’s weird when people compare life to a roller coaster, because on a roller coaster, the downhill parts are the most fun.
- When you’re younger, you brag about how much you payed for something, but when you’re older, you brag about how little you paid for something
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