Adding Friction

Note to my future self…

I tend to write a lot about the little personal experiments that I run. Most of these experiments are about ways to be more productive, effective and/or intentional. In other words, it’s about removing friction in my life to get me to where I want to go.

Today I want to write about doing the opposite. How can I add friction into certain areas in my life to avoid distractions that prevent from getting to where I want to go? Here’s how I thinking about doing this:

  1. Identify the negative behavior: right now I am focusing on distractions that capture a lot of my time (e.g. social,
  2. Apply a constraint to limit the bad behavior (time, money, energy, forcing function)
  3. Revise and adjust accordingly

Here are some specific examples of how I’ve done this:

  1. I realized that I was spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos (negative behavior) so I used a browser extension (forcing function constraint) that removes all the recommended videos from my YouTube homepage.
  2. I realized I was spending a lot of time browsing on my phone at night (negative behavior) so I removed Safari from my phone (forcing function constraint).
  3. I realized that I was spending a lot of time reading tech news (negative behavior) so I limited my screen time for these sites to 30 min per day (time constraint). I realized that this was still a lot so I decreased to 10min at night (revision and adjustment).


The next steps for me is to identify other key behaviors that I should limit. I am particularly excited about figuring out ways to add friction in a way that improves my sleep and eating patterns. I will report back with any updates.

Now back to work…