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I feel your pain. And whilst I’m still working on it, it has got better. The things that have helped me so far:
– I’ve deleted my facebook account (painful for about 3 weeks while the reflex to check it continued, but that eventually went away)
– I try to have 2 mantras: “I will only check email when I have time to respond”. And “I will only check email twice a day”… that works as long as I’m not expecting a response. If I have one day where I’m trying to get something moving and there is an ‘email conversation’ happening, the reflex to check email comes back with a vengeance and I have to start taming it all over again.
– Research on the internet and the rabbit warrens that involves is harder for me to conquer. I think over time I’ve learned to recognise when I’m stuck in the loop of looking for perfect and sometimes I can pull back. Perhaps I need to get an accountability buddy.
Which reminds me, I added the Rescuetime app and used that to monitor just how much time I was wasting on different sites. It was a bit of a wake-up call. There is also the option to add ‘goals’ for the use of time. I just used the free version. Obviously the novelty value wore off after a while (but not for a good few months), but it is good enough for me to return to if necessary.
– I keep my phone in airplane mode as much as possible… or even just having the mobile data turned off could help.
– When there is no wifi available I have put the settings for mobile data on so that I can’t just click an app and start using it – I have to go to settings and change that app to use mobile data. It’s just an extra barrier to make me think before I click. I still have to be disciplined to change the setting back…
– I’ve thought about paying for an app blocker, and might still do that.
– Medication has helped a bit, though I realise that it’s my habits that need changing not just my neurones (and as someone mentioned, meds aren’t always helpful for this).
Last major thought – I’m still thinking about getting a non-smartphone. Just having an ordinary phone with text capability… it might be my easiest solution!