How To Stop Wasting Your Life On Youtube

Joseph Mavericks
Apr 23, 2018 · 5 min read

UPDATE: As of January 28 2020, a new version of this article is available, with the latest tips and tricks to definitely stop spending too much time on youtube. Find the more comprehensive version complete with animated tutorials and downloadable material, by clicking right here.

Last Saturday, after having a pretty busy and chaotic week, I decided that this weekend was going to be more about myself than about doing things. There is nothing wrong with taking a break once in a while. Or even everyday if you are able to make room for it in your schedule. After doing my usual chores I relaxed while listening to some music, and I tried to figure out what to do with my weekend. After a while, I made a mistake most of us repeatedly do day after day: I pulled out my laptop and started browsing aimlessly.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

I headed to Youtube. I hadn’t been on Youtube in a long time, and I fell in its time wasting trap again. I glanced at the screaming recommendations, with their capital titles and eye-catching visuals. And that was it. I was gone. Video after video, I started wasting my time away. It took me a good 30 minutes to get a hold of myself. I closed my browser, shut down my laptop, and decided to go for a walk.

My time was mine again

We all have been in this situation before. Some of us are better at fighting the urge or at stopping, but it is always hard. Youtube falls into the same category as Facebook, Netflix, Instagram and smoking. Once you’ve started, it’s really hard to stop. Here is a little compilation of the best ways to track, manage and reduce your Youtube consumption.

Log out

Prevent cookies

Create custom styles

Unless you consider this something worth your time to read, you won’t want to take the risk to be dragged into the Youtube comment world. Let’s make your Youtube experience a blank page experience, with only the content you are asking for.

To do so, we can use a browser extension to add custom style rules for specific websites you visit. We can tell this extension to please stop displaying the things I don’t want to see on Youtube. I use Stylish for Firefox. There other options. Again, Google is your friend (hopefully not the only one).

Create a custom style sheet for Youtube.com, and paste your code into it. This is the code I use:

Depending on a lot of factors, your Youtube version might be different than mine, and you might need to tweak this code to hide all the unnecessary content. For me, this hides everything but the search bar, the search results, and the video player:

My Youtube homepage

Time your consumption

The extreme solution

Time wasters are everywhere, screaming for unnecessary attention. They’re hard to fight against, and only those who win the battle get more out of their life. In the online war for our attention, be part of the winning team, the one that doesn’t surrender. Take action.


Thanks so much for reading! If you want to take control of your time, stop wasting your energy, and prioritise the right things, my free tool The 168 Hours Spreadsheet will help!

The Joseph Mavericks Blog

Articles on living a better life through happiness…

Joseph Mavericks

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Learning to live with a purpose and improve myself is changing my life. I write about the journey — josephmavericks.com/subscribe

The Joseph Mavericks Blog

Articles on living a better life through happiness, productivity, technology.

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