I was able to reduce the time I waste on the internet like this:
Before opening a computer or unlocking a phone, I ask myself: “What am I intending to do?”
The answer can range from “I will check my email” to “I will spend some time browsing reddit”. The only rule is that I have to formulate the answer to the question in my head before I proceed.
It is crazy how often I catch myself unable to answer. One would think that it should be trivial! After all, I picked up the phone for a reason! But no. That’s not how it works.
I picked up the phone because that’s what I conditioned myself to do when I have a moment to spare. By asking myself “What am I intending to do”, I am breaking this instinct. I am forcing my rational mind to take over for a moment and confirm my intentions or to change my mind and put the phone back down. Then, if I am sure, I do what I set out for.
Of course, I will often wander off afterward and end up browsing whatever I am browsing these days. But at least that one moment, when I unlock the screen, I force myself to consciously sign off on my next action.