I have been using YouTube extensively for the past 8+ years and I am 14. I have spent a lot of time on YouTube and I am not guilty of it. It is a great tool to learn new skills, have some fun and enjoy in general but there is a problem with it.

The Problem

Platforms and apps like YouTube are designed in a way to make you spend more of your valuable time on them. Whenever you finish a video, there will always be another one just a click away and if you have auto play on, you won't even have to do anything. If you are like me, and like to spend your time doing meaningful things that add value to your life, you will like to take action. But it isn't so easy.

Why not to get rid of it completely

I agree that it is a big time crater for a lot of us but we don't want to get rid of it completely. That would be ridiculous for a lot of us as it has such a vast library of good nay great content creators such as Ali Abdaal(He is my inspiration for starting this page), Thomas Frank, All of the LMG(Linus Media Group) channels just to name a few. So we would like to have a intermediate solution that would help us consume content on YouTube intentionally rather than on autopilot.

The Difficulty

The difficulty in optimising YouTube usage is that it baked right into the OS if you use android. You simply can't uninstall it (unless you root your phone of course). Sure, you can block the app but it just takes 5 seconds to go to settings and search for the YouTube app and unblock it. Even if you don't unblock the app, there is the website just waiting for you with more cat videos. if you manage to block the website, there are more websites that YouTube uses to stream the videos.

The Solution

The best solution(for my use case) is to use a combination of OpenDns to block the websites as you don't want to be watching YouTube on your work PC, Setting up Macrodroid to stop the YouTube app, Using Feedly to view only the videos of the channels that you have subscribed to.

The steps that you need to take

1. Setting up Macrodroid

  1. Download the Macrodroid app from the Google Play Store. The app has In-app-purchases, but the free part is good enough. Here is the link -MacroDroid - Automation - Apps on Google Play
  2. After setting up Macrodroid by the trigger being the YouTube app being launched and the action being launching some other app, Disable the YouTube app. When the Macrodroid app is running, it will show a notification in the notification panel. If that annoys you, you can go to settings>notifications>Macrodroid and hit minimise notifications or disable them altogether. If you disable the notification you will have to open the app in order to pause Macrodroid.
  3. After this you can disable the YouTube app.

2. Setting up feedly

  1. First, you will need to sign up on Feedly.
  2. After signing up you have to visit theYouTube Subscription Manager.
  3. When you are at that page, you will have to scroll to the bottom and hit the Export Subscriptions button.
  4. After that you have to import that file to feedly.

3. Setting up OpenDns

  1. You can find the details on how to setup OpenDns by googling about it for your router.
  2. If your router doesn't support OpenDns, you can go to the parental controls settings on your router to block the specific websites.
  3. Here is the list of the Domains that you will need to block.

The Shortcomings of this method

  1. It isn't a permanent method. It is meant to add friction for you to not waste your time.
  2. It is dependent on the channels you subscribe to as, if you subscribe to channels that waste your time but do not add value to your life, then this cannot help you.


Channels that you should subscribe to

  1. Ali Abdaal
  2. Thomas Frank
  3. Matt D'Avella
  4. CGP Grey
  5. Don't Memorise
  6. Khan Academy
  7. MinutePhysics
  8. Tech With Tim
  9. 3Blue1Brown
  10. OverSimplified