Taking control of my mental space

And some tools that helped

Oluwole Oyekanmi
4 min readDec 29, 2017

I am a lover of technology. I loved owning the greatest gadgets, staying on top of the latest happenings in tech and discussing tech. I even switched careers to technology.

But I realised I was consumed, I was addicted. I couldn’t get things done cos I had an array of devices and apps that constantly distracted me. Twitter, Medium, Instagram, Pocket and a few other apps. (I have never really been addicted to Facebook) I open one medium article, and within seconds, I have 10 tabs of medium articles open. It also didn’t help that I was loyal to my tabs, had to consume content on it before I close it.

I tried different iterations of ditching these platforms.

First, I created a mental picture of the kinds of medium article I didn’t want to read. I avoided the advise-esque type articles “10 ways to live a better life”, “I stopped eating — here’s what happened next”. These type of articles are usually long and quite unrealistic.

I also avoided long list — articles such as “100 different free online courses that you can start now” The authors of these articles have good intentions but it only takes me through a rabbit hole of links to review.

I ditched Pocket too. I figured, If I can’t find time to read now, it’s would probably not find time to read later anyway.

I listen to talks by Cal Newport and I felt even more the desire to do more work and less of entertainment (cos that’s what social media really is).

So, I began the first iteration uninstalled these apps from my devices. No twitter, no Instagram, no Medium, no Pocket. Limiting my access to them only through my laptop. It worked. I could do away with my phone for hours suddenly my phone was no longer interesting, it became some boring piece of equipment.

It’s quite refreshing, staying away from all that noise. Now, I could get myself to do some work.. or could I?

Thing is, I spend most of my days on my laptop and these platforms are only a chrome tab away. While traversing from my text editor to stack-overflow, I find myself branching off to Twitter, Medium or some Youtube video about Estonia.

Chrome extensions seem to work as well, I have used Block Site, which blocks any platform that you wish to. The problem with this is, sometimes, you may want to go to a blocked site. Like, if you block twitter, how do you check out a tweet sent to you or reply dms? I used it for a while, but it’s ultimate restriction lead to its downfall and it being uninstalled. (Since I last used it, there has been a very interesting update but I’ve not checked it out)

space by dopamine labs

Next, I used Space by Dopamine Labs which promises to control my internet habit. This extension claims to use neuroscience and AI to help you kick app addiction. Space by DopamineLabs helps you manage your internet browsing habit by prompting you to take a few deep breathes every now and then. This will create ‘Space’ between you and the site, promoting awareness of your physical surroundings when you've lost your mind on the internet.

When a user wants to access a blocked website say Twitter, the extension before loading the website does a countdown on which you become conscious of what you’re about to do. While doing the count-down, it guilt trips you into thinking about the action you’re about to make and if you have the slightest strand of self-control within you, you’ll close it before the countdown is out.

StayFocused is the extension I use currently and it seems to work. Everyday, stayfocused gives me about 10 minutes (I set it to 10 minutes) to access my favourite sites. So, I get 10 minutes to stalk, reply dms, etc. After which all the sites I selected will be blocked from being viewed till the next day.

This is how I have enhanced my productivity I would love to know how others are taking charge of their mental space and hoping there’s a new tech that’s going to make us ditch our devices altogether.



Oluwole Oyekanmi

Learning | I write about data, startups, and investing