Clean Dopamine – Part 5: Avoiding Entertainment Media

After having been able to reduce my consumption of unhealthy food and establish a sports routine, I am convinced that cold withdrawal, hard penalties and awesome rewards are good methods to banish bad habits from my life. With this attitude, I am declaring war on the entertainment media.

My Greatest Enemy: Entertainment Media

At the start of the Clean Dopamine series, I already mentioned that I´ve slipped into the media addiction fast and almost unnoticed. To recap it briefly: Today I need entertainment media such as series or YouTube videos during each meal. However, I rarely stop after the meal because, since I´m already sitting in front of the flicker box, it´s not all that hard to run the next episode, after all. At least, it is easier than getting my fat butt in gear and doing something productive and indeed every evening ends exactly like that.

I gain next to nothing from entertainment media. Every now and then a grin, a tear, a small shock or a small adrenaline rush. And all that at the cost of my precious and limited lifespan. I sit or lay there and let it wash over me, sometimes for hours. I could have used precisely that time to work on my goals and would be closer to these today by a long margin, and it´s a safe bet that I would have met some of them already.

How wonderful is the mental image of lying on the beach with a non-alcoholic piña colada and living in wealth, compared to still watching series and YouTube videos and pursuing a 9-5 job, which rather is an 8-6 job. When pondering it, the image of the beach is not even that far-fetched.

But it often happens as well that I am watching documentaries, justifying it with the fact that I learned something. But what exactly did I learn? Do I need that knowledge to achieve my goals, for my profession, for anything? Probably not…

The time has come to clear out my biggest addiction, and FOR GOOD!

No Entertainment Media for 3 Weeks

During the following 21 days, I may not consume entertainment media from Monday to Friday, however, with productive exemptions. But when you forbid yourself something, you need to know exactly what it is that you are forbidding yourself? I don´t want to turn into a shyster again like during the last 3-week-challenge and map out legal loopholes, so I´m defining as exactly as possible what entertainment media are and lay down rules, penalties and rewards.

Entertainment media:
- series, movies and documentaries
- YouTube, Netflix and similar video platforms
- music, audio books, podcasts and the like
- books, comics, fanfiction, etc.
- video games of all kinds
- funny and entertaining websites
- social networks

- You may not consume entertainment media from Monday to Friday
- Anything goes on Saturdays and Sundays
- You may use media for school, studies, presentation, further training and to achieve your goals
- Music, audio books, podcasts and the like are only allowed while being productive, for example, while doing chores
- Social media are only allowed for communication purposes and only for 20 minutes per day (10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening)

- Only eating bread and drinking water for 1 day

- A professional massage

Together with a few friends, I tried to define what actually entertainment media are and what not. Here is our attempt:
- You need to be active and cannot let it wash over you like when you are watching a series
- You need to focus. When the brain is challenged, it is not entertainment
- It is an entertainment medium if you do not have to reproduce the information (e.g. for a presentation)
- If you produce something, it is not consumption of entertainment, like e.g. making music
- If you consume, however, it is entertainment

With these definitions, I already have a good idea of what I need to avoid and what I can do as an alternative. But some doubts arose in us, as the definitions were not fitting everywhere. Are, for example, board games entertainment media? For this challenge, I do not want to count board games as entertainment media, since the social contact is paramount when it comes to board games and this is primarily about not wasting your time and finding alternatives.

Will you join me in this challenge? Then I wish you much success over the next weeks. I am convinced that we will gain mind-blowing realizations and will save so much time in future that we will meet on the beach face-to-face soon.

Here is Clean Dopamine – Part 6: Escape from Entertainment Media