We added a browser extension, settings you can change in the YouTube app, app timers, and a few tips based on our usage. If you often spend hours mindlessly watching whatever YouTube algorithm throws at you, read on to the end to learn how you can take control of your YouTube viewing habits and spend less time on the platform.
1. Using the YouTube Rabbit Hole extension
One of the useful Google Chrome extensions I use to reduce distractions on YouTube is YouTube Rabbit Hole. You can Use this browser extension to hide the YouTube homepage, sidebar, comments section, trending section and even subscriptions. There are handy toggles that let you customize the home page to your liking.
Once you enable the features you need, the extension automatically places bunnies instead of video recommendations. This way you can watch what you want to watch instead of watching random YouTube video recommendations. If you want to take control of your YouTube playback habits, I highly recommend trying out this extension.
Download YouTube Rabbit Hole (Free)
2. Use pause and bedtime reminders
In May 2018, YouTube added a pause reminder feature to its mobile apps to help users take breaks. Similarly, last May the company brought bedtime reminders to prompt users to go to bed. However, not all users are aware of this and don’t set up these much-needed features.
To set up a pause reminder, open YouTube and go to Settings> General> Remind me to take a break. The The frequency of the reminder can range from every 5 minutes to every 23 hours and 55 minutes. You can choose the duration that works best for you. If you ask me, I would recommend setting up a reminder every 30 minutes.
If you receive bedtime reminders, you will find the option to set up settings> General> Remind me of bedtime. Here you can Set the start and end time of your sleep hours Or whenever you don’t want to watch videos. You also have the option to be reminded when the current video is finished, which should be effective as long as you don’t play 10-hour extended versions of songs or memes. These features don’t lock you out of YouTube, but you can use them as a sign to close YouTube.
3. Use app timer
If you’re at a point where you need an extra push to disconnect from YouTube, You can rely on one of the app timers to lock you out of YouTube once you reach your daily usage limit. You can use Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature or iPhone’s screen time feature to do this. One third-party app that does this job well is Freedom. For more app timer apps and websites, check out our coverage of the best focus apps.
Open on Android smartphones Settings> Digital Wellbeing& Parental controls, And tap Dashboard. Find and press YouTube in the list of apps. Once you reach the dedicated page for YouTube, select "App Timer" and set the amount of time you want to spend with YouTube in a day.
4. Practical tips without third-party apps
With that said, here are the methods I follow to make sure I don’t waste a lot of time using YouTube. First, review your content consumption habits. A good place to start would be to Unsubscribe from channels you no longer find interesting or valuable enough to spend your time.
Another way to cut down on your YouTube usage is to, Eliminate the triggers. While it may seem like an innocuous notification of a new video from one of the channels you watch, you can end up spending hours on it if you’re not careful. To avoid this, re-evaluate your subscriptions and ask yourself if this particular content deserves your immediate attention. Sure, there will be some channels where you can’t wait to watch the moment a new video is posted, but the goal is to prioritize content that interests you and reduce/stop watching other videos. As an extreme measure You can also completely disable notifications for the YouTube app.
If the platform keeps suggesting videos that don’t interest you and you don’t want to use the YouTube rabbit hole extension, You can click on the "Not interested" or "Do not recommend channel" options both on the PC and on the cell phone. Although this is meant to curate your recommendation feed, you can use it to your advantage by clicking "Not Interested" on addictive content and videos that don’t necessarily add value.
Reduce YouTube usage and stay productive
These are the ways we found to help you not waste time on YouTube. Follow something else not mentioned here? Don’t forget to tell us in the comments. To make the most of the time you spend watching YouTube, read our article on cool YouTube tips and tricks.