I haven't watched movies or played games in a month. I realized that this is not the point.


I have a kind of relationship with YouTube, Netflix and various video games: it's nice to consume images... But it gets stuck. I want to stop. And somehow I can't.

Come to think of it, I played a lot of video games when I was 15. Xfire app 1 counted tens of thousands of hours and I wasn't going to stop.

today - I count very similarly thousands of hours in work, writing... Well, in all kinds of activities. And time somehow disappears.

  • Fun: My English skills came from World of Warcraft and my patience from Runescape. Those days when I watched all the movies in a row probably contributed to my understanding of design, and...
  • Not fun: Watching 📺, gaming 🎮, other consumption takes up little time that I could spend elsewhere. I feel like I'm missing something.

...What to do? Use and continue to enjoy life? Or enjoy life by trying to escape from video entertainment, devoting time to someone else?

Therefore, in December 2013, I set my first challenge: avoid moving images for a month – movies, games and even commercials.

Here's how I did.

Short version for the impatient: Focus, don't run.

Running away from your habits is fun. Then you can think that, wow, if you get away from X, you will experience a better life, everything will change, everything will be perfect.

But these are not diseases. Your negative habits are a luxury.

  • How can you not find time to exercise? Spend time with the telly.
  • How can you not find time for a book? Spend time with Facebook.
  • How can you not find time for... smoking? Spend your work breaks with other activities.

It's just that. Your "addiction" to smoking, movies, procrastination, gambling, eating, or other "bad habits" is more of a luxury than an addiction. 

Yes, these dependencies do exist. About them in great detail (and how to overcome them) says psychologist Lukas Marcinkevičius.

But if you didn't have the time, so you wouldn't accept to grow these entertainments... 

Of course, it is difficult.

You want to be lazy. Because laziness is a critically important part of your day. If you are not lazy, you will not be able to work at all. I wrote a whole book about it.

So you can:

  1. Run away from your negative habits. And leave a void in the routine. And free time is time for other entertainment. If there is time, entertainment will come. Or the more you prevent yourself from achieving the old pleasure, the more you will try to find another way to achieve the same thing. Running will become a game.
  2. Accept your need for rest, because you are not a robot. And achieve balance. You focused on work, you worked, you focused on rest, you rested. You started being lazy on purpose. You are no longer fighting yourself.

For many years I chose the first method. The following part of the article is from these days. I ran, blocked, told myself "no more", but it didn't help.

...Everything changed when I focused.

What do I want in this life? What makes me happy anyway? How much rest do I need to reach my goals? Where do I start?

Negative habits are a luxury. The luxury of time and attention.

Therefore, I invite: focus 2


The following part of the record is archival. I talked about this challenge in 2013, after which a lot has changed. But I hope you find it interesting and useful. I invite you to leave a comment at the end of the article.

(Last updated August 2020.)

Copy from the diary, December 2013:

At first I thought the challenge would be tough.

However, how can you turn life around like that? Isn't routine the biggest enemy of all of us who want to change?

Going into the challenge I thought he would tire me out. I thought it would be incredibly difficult to resist the temptation to watch that movie my friend recommended or play that game my brother told me about. That it will be a real challenge.

And partly I was not wrong - the challenge was definitely not such that I could say "done" after a day. But at the same time, it wasn't that difficult... Although in the first days I still often wandered into YouTube or played the videos that appeared on the Facebook wall, I quickly learned to ignore them.

...True, not as I expected.

I thought I would go and write some new engaging articles when I have free time. Will I study reinforced concrete plate structures strong for university. 3 But instead, I found alternatives and continued to do what I wanted to defeat - wasting my time.

It turns out that giving up movies and video games did not add extra minutes to the day, but only replaced one minute with another. 

...This, by the way, is a common situation in the lives of all addicts. 4 Because emptiness is scarier than filling. By the way, I mentioned this in one article about healthy eating.

What I learned from this challenge:

Most of the observations were by no means something unexpected or new, but now I can base everything on my own experience:

1. Fatigue is the enemy when trying to quit or pick up habits. 

High temperature (I was sick at the beginning of the month), physical fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger and so on negatively affect attention. And it is precisely because of the lack of attention that the majority of errors occur. 

...Not only in challenges, but also in car accidents. Don't drive when tired or you will pay an often very unpleasant price. Also, don't plan your day or buy gifts before going to bed, because that's when your attention is at its weakest. Guess why the night is the most profitable time, according to internet marketing specialists.

2. If you want to readtake action - don't give it time. 

During the days when I tried my best to finish my coursework, I didn't give a single minute to video entertainment. So don't be afraid to divert your attention if you need to.

Interestingly, it also helps with recovery. In some hospitals patients are given opportunities to read a lot, play video games and pass the time in other ways without scratching their wounds and stressing themselves. True, such a diversion of attention can be useless as A. Huxley in the book "Brave New World" (orig. appeared in 1932 under the name Brave New World). Give inmates or students something to do and they won't think about more important things. In North Korea and the Soviet Union, it also worked, by the way.

3. Big, visible reminders work.

In the first few days, after a few accidental forgets, I wrote a reminder of what I was aiming for right on the desk with an erasable marker. And it worked - I saw it, so I remembered it.

That's why I created it Our 15 Rules of Cloud Living poster. You can print it on paper and hang it in a visible place!

4. Small mistakes are hard to avoid.

Small mistakes, in my case - a few moments of staring at the footage, are hard to avoid. It often happened to me that only after 1-2 seconds I realized that I was watching footage. So, if you forget a little - don't be afraid, you will gradually learn to notice yourself. Useful an article about introspection was written by psychologist Lukas Marcinkevičius.

5. People around you may forget what you are trying to achieve.

Telling your friends that you can't watch the videos they suggest is neither pleasant nor easy. It's good if some remember your challenge themselves, but most still have to be reminded of it. By the end of the month, it had finished suffocating me.

But don't give up just because your test sounds incomprehensible to others. Challenges are like drinks and fetishes: everyone has their own taste. You don't need to be angry if someone doesn't understand you, but don't worry too much about it either.

6. Living without moving images is difficult and useless.

In December, I had to look for information for university work and other activities (for example, cooking recipes). Many of the answers were in the half-minute video, but the challenge required me to look for other sources. By completely rejecting video, not only funny cat videos are rejected, but also the entire channel of information presentation, which is sometimes impractical not to use.

(Despite the fact that it is easier to cover a large amount of information in text (it is easier to jump from one interesting heading to another), for things like cooking or exercise, video explanations are useful. You may have noticed that too.)

7. And you know what? I don't miss TV entertainment at all.

I didn't miss all those supposedly funny shows and shows in the depths of the internet. You can, dears, continue not to send them to me. 😉

This is how I will live from now on:

Now that the challenge is over, I plan to:

  1. I will continue to ignore the video shows while eating. Because it's much more fun to read the day's news in the newspapers my family subscribes to while eating. 5 Or enjoy a meal that you prepared or that your loved ones prepared!
  2. I will also watch footage, if so it will be faster, easier and more understandable. Although I could not survive without the text, the video information is sometimes more detailed.
  3. I will limit my video game time to, say, two hours a week. Although, it seems, I won't even make it that far. 6

Behold! That was my journey.

And now I have a request for you: Have friends who spend their days watching TV or playing video games? Share this article with them! And I believe that you may inspire them to change. Or will give you good ideas.

...Perhaps a challenge without video images will work better for them. Or, if not, at least make sure that TV isn't evil - it's more important to find activities that are better than TV. 7

  1. Such an old mixture of Steam and Discord, which folded its legs in 2015. Think of it as a chat app for video game lovers.

  2. I recommend Valtininka's book "How to defend your dream?"if you don't know what you want from your life. This is honestly a good book from which I discovered useful thoughts myself. The methods of thinking described by the boatman are simple, but effective.

  3. In 2011, I made a terrible choice - I started studying Civil Engineering. Why? Well, because I couldn't think of anything else that year, and my parents pressured me to enroll somewhere. Don't do what I did.

  4. As it shows Gene Heyman Research, for a large number of drug addicts, drugs are not a religion - for years one addiction leads to another. It is also diagnosed as a psychological disorder, which can be seen in many of us.

  5. This is "Kaunas diena", because I am from Kaunas, and "Lietuvos rytas", because this newspaper is quite useful for starting the fire in winter... I'm joking about the second one. 🙂 Anyway, I don't know, I don't need the second one, but I get it together - my grandparents read it.

  6. Mainly because there aren't any good RTS or RPG games coming out lately. Eh.

  7. Don't have any ideas about what this activity could be? Here are some more ideas: A list of crazy goals and What to do if you don't know what to do.

  • I can't wait for the post about scheduling. This is a relevant topic for me, because I haven't found the most suitable and effective way to do it yet :/ Good luck and I'll be waiting for your impressions and feedback 🙂

  • The question arose for me, why restrict myself so much 🙂 I am interested in personal improvements, all kinds of challenges, I have tried a lot myself, overcome and failed, and I realized one thing that if it is not a harmful habit, it is not necessary to give it up. Let's say video games. You mentioned that having more free time can be used for relaxation, but video games are (at least for me) like relaxation. Physically, you may not rest, your eyes get tired, but psychologically it's really good for me to relax with video games :)

    • True, good observations, but those 2-3 hours of games are enough for me to relax.

      I really want to limit it, not because I read somewhere that it's better. No, it's just more pleasant for me. This way I find more time for writing and improving Debesyla. 🙂

      • Thanks to YOU 🙂 I had fun finding everything and even more than I expected. I'm really looking forward to the summary post on time planning tools etc. I just wish not to "get lost" and not to turn time planning into one of the tasks that takes a lot of time, because I already face this problem myself. :))

  • Well, it's better not to read at all - neither in paper nor e-book. variant, it is better to focus on one thing (activity) at a time.

  • Hello! A very cool experiment, even though it's a decade old, but it's still very relevant 🙂 I recently started to feel that I'm not filling every "void" in my routine the way I'd like. I read somewhere that it is precisely in boredom and in those "empty" moments that creative ideas are often born, so I try to remind myself of this every time, when, for example: I'm waiting in line at the post office and I want to take out my phone 🙂

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