I constantly struggle with what I consider to be “distractions” or “time-wasters” but, no matter how hard I try to control them - I fail. I frequently check for messages, Instagram, HN, Reddit, local news websites and more.
Here are some (but not a complete list of) tools that I used to limit distractions and improve productivity: SelfControl, Qbserve. For the mobile, I use “Downtimes” and block access to frequently visited websites.
Even with such limitations I quickly adjust my behavior to bypass blocked content or come up with new time-wasters. I fail and that failure makes me feel miserable.
I gave up and lost control until recently I started working on an interesting side project which consumed my free time and in fact, it consumed most of my distraction time too! I was not interrupting my work by picking up the phone (that often) and I was not wondering on the web to amuse myself. That felt good.
So, I come to the conclusion that restrictions do not work and if you are like me, finding something worthwhile which does not necessarily have to be “productive work”, something you enjoy more than distractions will eventually solve your problem.