Do the Opposite #82

How I Got My Instagram Habit Under Control, New DTO Website, Darknet Diaries: The LinkedIn Incident

Good News Everyone!

Welcome to the newest issue of the Do the Opposite newsletter, sent every other week!

If you enjoy it, share it to help it grow:

Share Do the Opposite Newsletter

Subscribe to the free version of this newsletter and start getting a letter every other week. If you want to support the effort that goes into writing Do the Opposite, you can subscribe to the paid version.

If you want to share any resources (articles, books or anything else) with the community, please reply to this email with your recommendations or DM me on Twitter!

Hey, I’m back from a little hiatus. Hope you missed DTO! Let’s get into it!

New Website!

I’ve been working on building the new website for Do the Opposite. UI/UX design was done by my friend Anastasia. I am very happy with how it turned out, however there are many more pages coming.

The version you see now is MVP, the least possible amount I could build to make it useful and functional. There’s more coming.

In an effort to make supporting the newsletter more affordable, I’ve decided to lower the price from $50 per year to $36 per year. I wanted to make it $3 monthly, but, unfortunately, Substack platform doesn’t allow to set it lower than $5 per month. The only way for me to do that is to set the yearly subscription to $36 year / 12 mo = $3 mo.

Huge thanks to all my paid supporters, you make Do the Opposite possible! ✨

Check out the new website!

How I Got My Instagram Habit Under Control

Until very recently I’ve been wasting a lot of time daily on Instagram and Reddit apps on my phone. They are so good at capturing attention: I would often open the app to do something specific, like send a photo to someone and then find myself 15 minutes later, scrolling and not quite sure why I opened the app in the first place.

I wanted to do something about it. From my experience in changing habits, I knew that quitting cold turkey will not work. After all, Instagram is the last place left where I am connected to friends from back home, from high school, college, etc, so I didn’t want to lose these connections permanently. I just wanted to get my usage of the apps under control.

Sorry Mark Z., it’s not you, it’s me. I need some space.

Since 2019 I’ve been logging the books I’ve read in Instagram highlights - I have one for 2019, 2020 and 2021. So I made a deal with myself: I would only log in to Instagram once I’ve read a book and have to log that into the highlights. At the same time, I would read all the messages I’ve received in the interim and respond to everyone. I’ve also updated my bio to say that I am rarely on IG these days and posted some ways to contact me if needed. After I have posted the book log story and responded to everyone -> I log out and delete the app from my phone. It has to be like that to make the barrier of logging back in higher. Now I have to “earn the privilege” to log in to Instagram.

And to my surprise, it worked!

It’s been more than a month now and the system works like clockwork. I don’t waste time on Instagram every day but I still maintain all the benefits it offers: connecting with the people I know. It works out really well on the schedule: it takes me on average 1-3 weeks to read a book, depending on its length and whether it’s technical.

I know that this approach might seem silly, but it works. If you think: “Oh I don’t need to limit my social apps, I am OK!”, I invite you to see the usage statistics that your phone keeps. Sometimes they can be eye-opening.

If you like this idea, try it out and let me know how it goes!

P.S. A fun exercise: scroll through any feed: Facebook, Instagram posts, Instagram stories, Twitter, and count how often do you see an ad or a promoted post? My latest check was: every 4th story on Instagram was an ad, and every 5th post was an ad also.


“Creating Impact When You’re Overwhelmed” by Leo Babauta

Aren’t we always overwhelmed, especially in the past year? I know I feel that way very often. Despite this, we somehow need to do our work if we want to make an impact on other people and the world. How? Leo shares some good tips.

“100 (Short) Rules for a Better Life” by Ryan Holiday

Such an awesome collection of little rules to adopt. The best way is to skim the article and take note of the rules that stand out to you.

“How to Fight Back Against the ‘Laziness Lie’ ” by Devon Price

Modern mass culture loves to shame people for being lazy. The time management prophets are all in our ears about the benefit of never having a spare minute. Could this be wrong? You bet.


7 Things I've Learned from 7 Years of Minimalism | Simply by Christine

I find that minimalist lifestyle is not something we can adopt overnight, even if we go through an extreme purge and get rid of everything but 30 or 100 items. Our minds take time to get used to the ideas and to accept them on a deeper level. It’s an evolution. In that spirit, here’s a great video by Christine on what she’s learnt in 7 years of minimalism.

Eliud Kipchoge — 1:59:40 | IIIWheels

What can we learn from the first man to run a sub-2 hour marathon? If we want to achieve anything worthwhile in life, we need to develop outstanding self-discipline.

The Lava Lamps That Help Keep The Internet Secure | Tom Scott

These days, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything that computers have trouble doing. However, generating random numbers does not come easy to them. Watch this cool video to learn how Cloudflare works around this issue.


Ep 86: The LinkedIn Incident | Darknet Diaries

If you’re into tech and/or like detective stories, you’ll love this podcast. I’ve been binge-listening to it ever since I’ve discovered it via Reddit.

This episode is a great way to get the feel for whether you’ll enjoy the podcast. It is mind-blowing in many ways, fun to listen to and at the same time, a good way to find out whether your web security practices are up to snuff.

If you get a kick out of this episode, I recommend listening from the very beginning: Episode 1 and up. That’s what I am doing.

Featured Tweet



“It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when they have lost their way.”
— Rollo May

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
— Henry David Thoreau

“There are two kinds of suffering: the suffering that leads to more suffering and the suffering that leads to the end of suffering. If you are not willing to face the second kind of suffering, you will surely continue to experience the first.”
— Jack Kornfield


I’m building an app called ZERNO to help you build & stick to habits ― if you join the waitlist, you’ll be in the limited few to get early access to the app!

Join the Waitlist


Check out the DTO YouTube channel with new videos coming out every week on the same themes that are covered in this newsletter. Take a look at the channel here and let the ideas influence you into an improved and happier life!

Watch DTO on YouTube


Do the Opposite has a public Telegram channel. The content there is a little different than in the newsletter: faster to consume, a bit more random ― basically anything weird or interesting that catches my eye: articles, tweets, videos, images, etc. Hope to see you there as well! :)

Join Our Telegram Channel!


If you find this newsletter helpful, you can help it grow by spreading the word!

Share Do the Opposite Newsletter

Subscribe to the free version of this newsletter and start getting a letter every other week. If you want to support the effort that goes into writing Do the Opposite, you can subscribe to the paid version.

Keep doing the opposite,
Alex Kallaway