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In the last couple of weeks I’ve been in what I call "low-energy state" which means I’ve been feeling shitty and not getting anything done. Furthermore, I’ve been thinking about mindfulness (for lack of a better word) for quite some time now — I can’t remember, when was the last time I deeply thought about what am I doing with myself. All this lead to the following experiment.


This experiment was motivated by a combination of short-term and longer-term reasons.

Craving distractions

I’ve read that the internet and smart-phones give us dopamine hits that we learn to crave. I don’t know if the science is good, but at least it’s a helpful metaphor.

I was constantly looking for my next hit. It felt like every waking minute, I just had to cram something into my brain — a Youtube video, Slack message, e-mail, new article on Hackernews — anything. Even though I almost don’t use social media, there was always something to look at.

My brain felt inflamed, my mind foggy. I couldn’t focus.

Heavy procrastination

I got stuck at work. I’m dealing with an unpleasant task that I don’t know how to finish. This leads to heavy procrastination. Because I feel bad about not working, I won’t allow myself to do anything useful at all (e.g. like life and home improvement). This results in binging.

At first it was Youtube. When I decided it was time to finally quit I moved on to TV shows. When I wanted to stop that, I moved to reading a book (this might sound good but it was not healthy at all).

I realized that I’m just not capable of doing nothing anymore.

Information quality

For a long time now I felt that everything I consume is watered down — blog posts, Youtube videos, even movies and TV shows. It’s all "high calorie, low information density".

I want to go back to primary sources. Sources that someone put real work into and got paid for (ad money doesn’t count).

I want to choose what I consume more carefully. I want to watch movies and read books, but my choices need to be deliberate. I want to start learning new things again (something that feels I haven’t been doing for a long time).

I want to ban algorithms from my life — I will find what I need myself, thank you very much.


Short term:

  • Get out of a short term "minimum energy state"

  • Stop procrastination, put what’s causing it behind me

Long term:

  • Strive for a clearer, more focused mind

  • Spend more time "with myself"

  • Lower my dopamine levels

  • Consume media more deliberately, choose more carefully


Simply put, I will only consume media that cave people did — none.

  • No passive intake

    • Youtube

    • Movies, TV shows

    • Podcasts

  • No reading

    • News

    • Blogs

    • Books (both fiction and non-fiction)

  • Reading required for work and/or education (e.g. tutorials, documentation) is allowed

  • Limit dopamine hits

    • Social media

    • Checking e-mail, Slack (e.g. only checking it twice a day)

  • No video-games

  • Music is allowed

  • Creating (programming, writing, drawing) is allowed

This strict diet is short term only. I will see where it leads me over time. Later I will allow myself to consume media again, but hopefully in a more healthy way.

Findings so far

It is hard to be in complete silence. I’m listening to a lot of music. I need to pay attention to that and try to reduce the amount of music as well. However I find that I’m more deliberate when choosing what to listen to. Before I just listened to the same things over and over, or just let Spotify suggest me something. Now I’m trying to find new artists or come back to my old favourites.

Ideas about tasks other that work (e.g. home and life improvement, side-projects) are slowly coming back. It has only been a couple of days, I need more data to evaluate this.

I snapped out of my low-energy state for now, completed some task that I’ve been putting off.

One week update

I mostly feel fine, if a little bored at times. Made progress at work. I’m trying a new way of structuring my day — focus on the main task of the day before lunch, do small tasks (like code reviews and answer non-urgent questions) after lunch. It works nicely.

I do a lot of cleaning (I did that before as well except for the last couple of weeks, where I was slacking a bit) which gives me a break from work.

I’m trying to come up with the best way forward. This strict "diet" is unsustainable but I’m not going back to how it was before either. I need to find a healthy way to spend my free time. Right now it’s biking, cleaning and taking naps. I can’t really get myself to do anything else (like drawing which I wanted to work on for a long time).