Experience: A week without series or Youtube

Nandipha Dilla 

Every week Perdeby sends their journalists to experience something out of their comfort zones. This week Nandipha Dilla tried to live without series of Youtube for a week in order to prepare for the upcoming exam season.


When I received this assignment, I thought it would be easy. I only follow a small selection of series and this was the weekend before one of my semester tests so this actually came at the right time because I would be forced to study for lack of visual entertainment. I also elected to add YouTube to the list because I am an avid YouTube fan and spend a lot of time on it, and it would make more sense to restrict it. The first day went well. I had many things to do and only thought briefly of watching something before brushing it off and chasing my deadlines.


The second day was another boring day. Although I was busy,  I remembered podcasts existed and as a personal finance and budgeting enthusiast, I found a podcast that gave advice in the South African context and had many topics ranging from investment vehicles to retirement annuities. I still had work to do but it was nice background noise at the time.


By the third day I was starting to miss YouTube a bit. I use YouTube to stream my music because I’m a cheapskate I had already cancelled my Apple Music subscription after the three month free trial ended. So, I started doing research on a free music streaming service and found one that worked well. I was starting to have withdrawals as each YouTube email notification for a new video made me want to click on the link immediately. The week was getting harder than I expected, even with the amount of work I had to do. I needed something to take the edge off. But, I was able to stay away from my screen.

The fourth day was the day I broke, I really couldn’t do it anymore. While I didn’t necessarily start watching any movies, YouTube or series, I no longer actively tried to dodge tweets with videos that were trending that day or responding with a gif. I was bored, it was the weekend and I had just finished most of what I had to complete for my assignment. I binged on Twitter until the next day and didn’t even open a podcast episode.


On day five, after my out of control binge from the day before, I discovered another podcast service by Oprah and a few celebrity guests that truly spoke to my soul. Disgusted at myself for breaking so quickly, I tried once again to study and actively stay true to the experience, but it was once again a very difficult task. My mind kept wondering to the last few episodes of Black Mirror and I yearned to watch the ending. The email notifications were driving me crazy because I couldn’t click on the clickbait without admitting defeat, it was truly a mess. With my little self-control, I turned back to Twitter to fill that gap.


Day six is the day I truly broke. I couldn’t resist a makeup tutorial by one of my favourite YouTubers, but my excuse is that it was 02:30 and my willpower was at an all-time low. I didn’t even sleep until after my classes that day when I crashed at 14:00.


I tried to redeem myself on the last day. I listened only to podcasts and music while I studied for my test on Wednesday and tried to prepare for my presentation. I was too busy to give in to any cravings this time and I set a limit for myself even with the podcasts. I tried to find new ones but none really caught my attention.


In the end, I am definitely disappointed that I couldn’t stick to something for a mere seven days. This experience made me realize just how little self-discipline I have and how much of our lives are filled up with TV and YouTube. Although I did discover really good podcasts which I can use instead of watching my screen. Nonetheless, this was a very eye-opening and interesting experience.


Image: Marizanne Linde

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