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If this is a weekend and you are reading this: why?

But why do you need to read this NOW? Is it cause you instinctively check Twitter, dev.to, medium, etc. when you wake up, get bored, wait in line, be on the toilet, or just have a minute of break between two activities?

Why do I read posts and articles of a new CSS feature or library on a Saturday Morning. It's the feed! I want to checkout some updates of people on Twitter, but tech stuff is mixed in, I get excited, and read it. No harm done right, but constantly being around tech without a break is really exhausting in the long run.

I didn't realize how it was slowly burning me out. Tech tech tech tech. Maybe not 24/7, but definitely every day of the week.

I needed a detox. I needed to rethink my habits to see if they were still serving me well.

I feel this is especially important in today's time where blogging is not just an individuals' hobby, but people are being paid to work as certain library ambassadors. So they of course try to lure you in to read their articles with clever tactics. At the same time, tech companies try to keep you on their platform as much as possible with their addictive feed.

Twitter

I realized how I was still following tech people's who's libraries I used to work with, but no longer am. I still appreciate those people, their work, and their ideas a lot, and I think that was the reason I kept them around in my feed, to know when they release something new because I wanted to know what they would come up with next. But while the great ideas and advancements in tech may have originated with those tweets, they eventually spread to other people, blogs, sites, friends, work, colleagues, etc. I did't need to know them immediately, especially not on the weekend or at the end of a work day.

I started unfollowing people. That reduced the tech tweets, but I didn't want to unfollow all, so here's my second trick.

Twitter doesn't have an RSS feed. But a cool feature on Twitter is that you can create lists containing whatever profiles you want to add. Then, in the settings of a list, you can set it so tweets from the list don't show up in your feed.

This is really great. No need for a third-party tool or anything. What's even better is that in my case I realized that without the tech part, my Twitter feed is only rarely updated. And I already follow the people who's tweets still show on YouTube. So I basically no longer need the Twitter feed at all and in return save lots of time.

This led me to not having the desire to check twitter at all. I just check the feed + the "tech"-list occassionally. But who knows, maybe soon I'll think that even that is not worthwhile and I will ditch it as well. Tech certainly comes with its own form of toxicity, fights between people, and social media drama. This is after all where social media flourishes, but I don't want to be dragged into this wasteful swamp.

dev.to

When do you read an article?

  1. When you face a problem and the article has a solution for it.
  2. When you want to learn something new and that article talks about it.
  3. When you see an article that talks about a problem/thought that resonates with you and you want to find out what solution or thoughts the person has to offer.

At least for me, it's those three.

So where does a feed about programming topics is useful? Maybe for point 3!? But then that makes maybe 1% of the articles in a feed. So for me, I don't need the feed, so I stopped reading it. All it took was rethinking my habits.

RSS

Zero complaints here. RSS is great. No automatic feed, you get what you subscribed for. I also don't feel any FOMO or reason to check it every hour or so like on the other platforms. I wish Twitter had a RSS feed (somebody wants to write twitter RSS as a service?)

YouTube

While not entirely tech related (I almost don't follow any tech people there) but definitely a time killer. Again, don't use the feed, bookmark the "Subscriptions" tab directly and you will get what you subscribed for. In the feed, the same stuff will keep popping up and you get more and more enticed into watching it, eventually, you give in. I also unsubscribed to lots of channels that no longer suit me. After just two days I realized that checking YouTube every hour or so was futile, cause there would be no new videos, and no automatic feed keep suggesting me new stuff. So I stopped checking and reduced it to roughly 3 times a day.

How to use break times

I literally now had no desire to check my phone so much. So when I had a moment of solitude, I didn't continue occupying my mind with stuff from my phone, but I just took that break and let my mind rest. This had an immense benefit of not feeling burned out.