Welcome to our guide on How to Stop Binge-Watching Netflix. If you find yourself watching Netflix too much then we will show you step-by-step how to get control back.
You’re at home for the evening, and you’re bored to death. You don’t know what to do, so you log in to your Netflix account to find a series to binge. There are thousands to choose from with multiple seasons and episodes including gaming and esports documentaries.
You start watching the first episode of your new series, and you’re immediately drawn to the story and the characters of the show. The episode ends, and you decide to watch another episode and another, and now you realize it’s already 3 AM.
How is it already 3 AM!? You’ve got to wake up in three hours for work or school!
Watching Netflix might seem like a harmless form of entertainment, but binge-watching Netflix is a rapidly rising form of tech addiction. More than 200 million people have a Netflix account worldwide, including 74 million people who regularly watch Netflix in the US and Canada.
“Netflix & Chill” has become a worldwide phenomenon and meme-worthy dating tactic.
Are you looking to stop binge-watching Netflix? Then keep reading; we’ve got effective strategies to help you take control back.
Why People Binge-Watch Netflix
The most common reasons for binge-watching Netflix include:
- Escape from reality. Netflix is a modern method of escapism. You can escape into a new world of your favorite show, series, or movie without having the slightest care about the natural world for just a few hours. Escaping can be a way to relieve stress or boredom.
- Boredom. If you have nothing else to do, watching Netflix becomes your default mode of entertainment. It’s easy to use your computer, laptop, smartphone, TV, or console to open Netflix and start your show. It doesn’t require a lot of effort and can keep you busy for hours.
- It’s seen as a positive thing. Binge-watching is seen as a positive thing by 73% of respondents in a Netflix survey. However, the truth is that the company considers binge-watching as its primary business model. It is designed to get you hooked on a show, so you keep coming back to Netflix time after time to watch again.
- Netflix is addictive. Not many people talk about this (or don’t want to), but binge-watching Netflix can be highly addictive. For example, when an episode ends, Netflix will ‘autoplay’ the next episode in under 15 seconds. Often that 15 seconds will be faster than you can even find the remote on the couch. Thus, when a new episode starts, you may experience FOMO (fear of missing out) and justify watching “one more” because the episode has already begun.
So what can we do to escape from the clutches of binge-watching and Netflix addiction?
Self-Control is the Key
A study conducted by Brevers and Turel from 2019 analyzed strategies to control social media use and their effectiveness against excess.
The study found there are two main ways we can use self-control to stop excess social media use, and the same approach can be highly effective at stopping binge-watching and Netflix addiction:
Reactive methods of self-control are the methods that we can implement at the very moment when an urge is created to watch Netflix. These methods include positive self-talk or straightforward self-control you can implement in a few seconds when an urge occurs.
Proactive methods are long-term approaches to habitual change, such as changing or choosing situations for using social media or Netflix. These methods focus on changing your habits, so urges don’t present themselves as often. Strategies may include finding a new hobby, changing your lifestyle, or creating a schedule for your day.
The study found that the majority of people that try to quit social media use reactive, in-the-moment methods that are considerably more difficult to implement (due to the emotional triggers and cravings) – but this does not mean reactive strategies are not effective. It simply means that proactive methods are considered more effective, although they are also slightly more difficult to implement over a more extended period.
Strategies of Self-Control
There are two types of self-control: reactive and proactive. Within these methods are five specific strategies you can try to implement. We recommend starting with proactive approaches and then use reactive methods if urges are still showing up.
Here is a list of proactive strategies you can implement:
- Turn off non-urgent notifications
- Turn off autoplay
- Block access to apps at specific times or entirely
- Use grayscale on your phone to reduce appeal and stimulation
Here is a list of reactive strategies you can implement at the moment:
- Prioritizing your tasks for the day (work > social media)
- Remind yourself of the importance of tech-life balance
- No checking social media until tasks are complete
The methods you’ll use to stop binge-watching Netflix will depend on what type of person you are, how well you can deal with self-control, and how deep your addiction is.
To summarize, building better long-term habits and being less involved in bad habits will be far more effective than being good at stopping short-term urges.
This will include replacing your binge-watching activity with other activities such as new hobbies. If you watch Netflix in the evening, then you might need to turn off your computer, phone, or internet connection altogether to try and stop your destructive habit of binge-watching.
Even though most people focus on short-term solutions, the best way to stop binge-watching Netflix is to start with long-term, proactive methods and only use reactive methods if needed.
How to Stop Binge-Watching Netflix – Step by Step
Let’s take a look at how you could stop binge-watching Netflix based on the studies and research we’ve gone through above, step by step.
Step 1.1: Delete Your Netflix Account & Apps
The first step you’ll want to take if you’re going to quit Netflix entirely is to delete your Netflix account and all the apps from your phone and other devices.
This is going to be the first step towards stopping binge-watching Netflix completely. Now, if you still want to watch some Netflix shows occasionally, then you might want to skip this step and instead focus on blocking your access during specific times of the day.
You can also try out a 90-day detox, which is highly effective for stopping a gaming addiction and proving to be highly effective for Netflix addiction.
Step 1.2: Disable Internet Access & Notifications
If you’ve decided to skip the first step, then this is where you can start your journey towards stopping binge-watching Netflix.
You might still want to watch some shows, but you want to watch them in more moderation than before. If that’s the case, you’ll need to use reactive self-control methods, but know that this can be more ineffective than using a more proactive approach.
Here are some things that you can try in this step:
- Turn off all Netflix notifications on your phone
- Turn off Netflix autoplay
- Set a daily time limit as to how long you can watch Netflix
- Use an internet or app blocker that will disable your access to Netflix after a certain period
- Consider using airplane mode if you use your phone for watching Netflix
Step 2: Prioritize Other Tasks Over Netflix
If you’ve been binge-watching Netflix for some time now, then you know that Netflix can eat up your valuable time that you’d otherwise use for doing other, more meaningful tasks.
A good form of self-control is to prioritize other tasks instead of watching Netflix. Then, once you have finished your tasks, you can watch Netflix without so much stress. Be sure to set a limit of how long you will watch for and stick to it.
It is essential that you keep a good balance between life and tech, so making sure that you complete your work or other tasks before watching Netflix is crucial.
Once you start watching Netflix, you fall into your comfort zone where you start to accept you’re going to binge-watch and that you’ll complete your tasks tomorrow/after. It’s best not to go down that already beaten path again because you know it’s not good for you!
Step 3: Find Out Why You Binge-Watch Netflix & Find Replacement Activities
You’ll want to find out why you watch Netflix so much, and then you’ll want to find activities that address those needs and do them instead of watching Netflix.
The most common reasons for binge-watching Netflix include:
- Fear of missing out (FOMO)
You should aim to replace binge-watching Netflix with other activities that address the exact needs.
If you need a form of entertainment before you go to sleep, for example, you could try reading a book instead of binge-watching Netflix.
If you’re looking for escapism, try a new hobby like writing, painting, listening to podcasts, or learning a new language. The possibilities are endless.
The key to overcoming your Netflix addiction is in creating long-term, better habits.
You can still use in-the-moment methods to your binges, but these are not always going to be sustainable long-term. For long-term solutions, then you will need to build better habits and a more sustainable lifestyle.
If you still feel like you’re stuck with binge-watching Netflix, then we can help you out. Here at Game Quitters, we have many great resources that you can check out if you feel like you’re not making any progress: