Deano’s answer to: “How can I quit Quora?”

Cold turkey, or "quitting", is a very high bar to meet. It's like cutting out your caffeine intake, or losing a specific amount of weight – measured in the face of an absolute end state, anything that moves you away from the goal is instantly regarded as failure.

Instead of asking "how can I quit Quora", I would instead ask the following:

  • How much time do I spend on Quora each day on average?
  • How much does my Quora time directly take away from other important things, that I would actually do? If you're futzing on Quora instead of getting to that quilting project that never seems to get off the ground, well… No big. But if it's interfering with sleep, cooking, keeping the house tidy, making out with your loved ones, etc… That's worth looking at.
  • What other factors around my Quora experience upset me? Am I making too many new friends too quickly? Am I feeling pressure to perform? Does my pursuit of a good reputation in an online community freak out the part of me that wants the same thing in real life? Am I falling in love with other peoples' words, and then having weird sex dreams combining internet porn bodies with the unmoving headshots of the Quoran Elites?

Once you have a better idea of exactly what's bothering you, you can then identify the actual outcome you want to achieve… Perhaps you simply want Quora to be something you can "play with for an hour" without becoming obsessed. Perhaps you want better signal to noise – a few great answers, instead of a plethora of alright ones. Perhaps you want to stop comparing yourself to other people (some of whom are paid to write all day, or earn money directly in topics you share in common), and just enjoy reading and writing for your own benefit. Perhaps you just want me to change my headshot to one with a more obvious "O Face".

Then, look at a good next step towards achieving your end goal – if it's really to leave Quora entirely, then plan a good "methoduora" program, cutting your intake by, say, 30-60 minutes a day for a few weeks. When you remove time from Quora, remember to put it somewhere else, and to know what that is in advance. Set a hard deadline for climbing into bed (without that iPhone! Keep that late night finger-tapping to your relevant genetalia, or those of your bedmate(s)). Or, if you're sleeping okay, make that "de-Quora hour" the time you spend on cooking something pretty sophisticated, or doing some laundry. Hit the gym, and vent that mental stress by forcing your focus from your brain to your body. Stop thinking, and start being.

Once you're solid on that plan for a few weeks, try doubling it. Whatever your first step was, work out the next one. Try to simplify and "take back" those other parts of your life that have been languishing. If you need the mental stimulation, force yourself to read a printed book – preferably a longer narrative like a novel. Set an egg timer next to the book, and read for a set period each day, and resist the urge to get to "just the next page/chapter". What we're trying to control is most likely impulsivity, so just try to hang with it, and "let the program do the thinking".

Eventually, you may find an equilibrium point – a place where you feel okay/good, and you've still not extinguished your Quora participation completely. Feel free to stay there, and see what happens. Most of all, observe and report – just jot down a quick Quora post each day about how you feel, whether it's fear of backsliding, or fear that you really do need to quit because you're just too addicted to my headshot. Again, this is a lot like "Weight Watchers for Your Curiosity Gene" – if you're keeping an eye on yourself, simply knowing that will help you moderate and find your "happy place" – and a lot of the time, that place exists outside the path/program you initially draw out.

So, you know, just be open to the idea that there may be a place for Quora in your life, that being happy and healthy need not require the exclusion of an addictive substance, merely control over it. Unless it's sex dreams about me – that stuff is unstoppable if left to its own devices. CUT. IT. OUT. It's making the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

To sum up: All(*) good things in moderation. Track it to control it. And don't beat yourself up if it's a struggle to get where you want to be. Don't look for a way out of Quora – that just leaves you many other pits to fall into. Instead, look for a way to be the best possible you, and then model your behaviors on that person.

(* Okay, almost all. Seriously, get it out of your mind. Never gonna happen. Unless you have Indecent Proposal dollahs. In which case, call me.)

How can I quit Quora?

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