The Firefox Challenge

Firefox Logo

This is a trick I use to minimize distractions, not remove distractions entirely.

I’m a believer in mental associations. The muscle memory that causes us to take actions based on force of habit alone. Like turning on your phone and tapping Facebook, even though there are no updates waiting for you.

In my day-to-day life, I create differentiations and separations so that I can relax when I want to relax, and work when I want to work. And this post is a streamlined version of that idea. The goal is to kill as many birds with one stone as possible. This focuses on time consuming social media apps and privacy concerns. Like I mentioned before, this is not excising Facebook, Twitter, or whatever else you use. All this does is make the primary part of your day the least distracted.

This challenge is also not set-in-stone. You can modulate it to your needs.

For example, my work laptop uses Chrome and Firefox. Chrome for work, since websites are built with Chrome in mind, and Firefox for casual non-business use. My home computer is Vivaldi and Firefox. Vivaldi because it is Chromium based, so it’s essentially Google Chrome, except with all the features I ever wanted from Chrome in the first place. So at home, Firefox for work, Vivaldi to casually watch YouTube videos.

Here’s how:

Step One: Set up Both Browsers

Google Chrome is the most popular browser, so keep it, and stay logged into Facebook, Twitter, Google, and whatever else you choose.

Like mentioned above, other Chromium-based browsers also fill this need. The new Microsoft Edge, Brave, Vivaldi. There are lots to choose from to fit your needs.

As the namesake of this challenge, your second browser will be Firefox. We’ll be using this for several reasons that will be listed below. The big reason is that Firefox Quantum is really good, so there shouldn’t be any difference between browser performance.

Caveat: You can keep this entirely in Firefox, due to Firefox Containers. Simply create a separate container (ex: Google container, Amazon Container, Twitter Container, Facebook container, etc…) and switch around when needed.

Step Two:

Like I said, we won’t be logging into Facebook or Twitter on Firefox, but we still need social media. We’re humans. We crave validation and the social experience. Even social psychologists don’t recommend quitting cold turkey on social media. So we’re going to choose alternatives that release the dopamine in our brains, yet at the same time doesn’t distract us from the things we need to do.

I’ll suggest the less mentally addictive social media websites out there, like Mastodon or something like Pinterest. Those also have very particular communities that are different, so they should lead to more diverse exposure, and hopefully keep you away from interruptions. I used to like Google+ when it still existed, just because there were great art communities sharing work.

Step Three: News

One reason I like Firefox for this challenge is because Pocket is embedded directly into the browser. Simple click on a new tab, and one section of the feed is Pocket, which is giving you a variety of news from different sources.

Apple News is okay. Google News is better. An RSS reader, like inoreader, which I reviewed, I like a lot.

Step Four: Optionality

This next step is how much you want to customize for privacy. Now in Step Two, we removed big privacy risks like Facebook, but not for privacy’s sake.

I like privacy, but I live in reality. The reason why Chrome is the “main” work browser is because the majority of websites are optimized for it. And when it comes to our jobs and livelihoods, we just need things to work.

You can use Bing or DuckDuckGo if you prefer. Personally, I use Bing. I get gift cards. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

So That’s All?

Like I said, Steps One through Three are the easiest to implement, and also give the greatest ROI in terms of productivity.

Step Four is whatever you want it to be. I personally use Bing, because if Microsoft is going to pay me, why not? DuckDuckGo gets used here and there as well. When I research, Bing is generally my go-to, just because every website is doing insane SEO on Google and clogs up the results.

I use this system every day. Chrome and Firefox on my laptop, and only Firefox on my desktop.

I hope this helps you the way its helped me.