I recently made an attempt to stop wasting my time on social media and things like netflix. Issue is, even though i read often, i find that i’m unable to replace that which i gave up with useful substitutes. Do you have any suggestions?
The ability to intentionally choose to do something useful with your time, instead of doing what is pleasurable, is called executive function. One thing that greatly diminishes our executive function is loneliness. This is why someone who cannot be motivated to study by themselves can be highly motivated if there is a friend around they can study with.
To be more motivated to do useful things with your time, find ways of doing beneficial things socially, with other people, or around other people. If you cannot be motivated to read a book at home alone, go to a coffee shop, or to a friend or relative’s house, and try to read there. Having people around you, even strangers, can greatly help increase motivation. Instead of reading Quran at home, going to the mosque to do it can be far more satisfying and motivating.
Another way of achieving the same is to find good friends with whom you speak multiple times daily. Having meaningful social interactions with people on a daily basis is a great way of increasing motivation.
Once you have this taken care of, the usual common sense advice of writing down goals and making to-do lists can be helpful.
And if one’s executive function is diminished, either through loneliness, depression, iron overload, diabetes, or damage to the prefrontal cortex of the brain, common sense advice will rarely have a benefit.