blog Removing Distractions with DNS

Many sites are designed to snare your attention and keep you scrolling for as long as possible. This is often not particularly compatible with taking just a short break. Because so many sites are designed with patterns to hijack your brain, often we need to be proactive about not letting them get the initial hook.

For a while now, I’ve been using DNS to help me out. A few months ago, I started using NextDNS to help me with that. With my heavy internet usage (and possibly a misconfiguration on my side) I exceeded their free tier a bit each month,but I was happy enough with their service that I became a subscriber. (They have an affiliate program though I doubt I would get much traffic from my link.)

Having a quick way to add the normal social media distractions is nice, but also blocking a lot of the ads and “chumbox “es that have infested many news sites is a nice bonus.

For my work computer where I can’t control the DNS server as easily, I fall back to /etc/hosts. Here I put the minimal requirements of some social media sites, though perhaps it would also be worth while to import a list for some of the chumboxes. SelfControl is another app that I have sometimes used in the past, which uses /etc/hosts and the firewall rules to do a similar thing.

Now that I’m using DNS to help reshape my behavior, I’m less likely to default to losing time to social media. There’s enough default friction now, that I have to make a much more active choice when I decide to check something.