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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