I know that Diamler briefly spoke about this at the beginning of the year and yes, I will admit to stealing his idea, but I thought since finals are around the corner you guys would appreciate this. So, the biannual worst-two-weeks-of-your-life are upon us and if you’re anything like me, the more work you realize you have, the harder it is to do anything. This time of year you can find almost anything to successfully distract you with the internet, most often, being the winner. It’s even less helpful that the majority of work these days is on the computer making it so your work and the biggest distraction on the planet is just a click away.
I know many people who find it helpful to delete their facebook during finals, but now you don’t need to. If you really want to delete it, go ahead, I won’t stop you but is that really necessary? I know for some of the serious Facebookers, they will disable then re-enable it multiple times in a day, thinking they’re doing anything for themselves. Not to mention, the enabling process can take a while and just cause on overall higher level of stress. But here’s a brilliant idea: SelfControl.
SelfControl is a free application for Mac (and maybe Windows, I’m not sure) that allows you to set up, what they call, a ‘blacklist’ of your major distractions. You then set a timer that will not allow you to access those blacklisted websites until the timer is done. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Closing out of the app won’t do it. Even restarting your computer won’t do it. So now you have to do your work. How unfortunate, huh?
And that, above, is all the app is. It’s very simple. And very helpful. I tried it out myself and when I tried to access the page, it gave me the old “Unable to Connect” screen. And while the timer is going, it counts down by the seconds in your four-finger-down-swipe all-windows screen, and on your dock. Another aspect the application offers, is as opposed to the ‘blacklist’ that disables websites, there is something called a ‘whitelist’. What the ‘whitelist’ does is when you enter a website, say, www.thechive.com, and start the timer you won’t be able to use any website other than the one that’s been whitelisted. It may be an interesting concept for ensuring the security of online test taking but that’s another subject.
So the next time feel like you’re being punched in the face by the internet, just open up your new SelfControl application and blacklist those websites. It may be painful at first but if you can do it, I think you’ll find the results very beneficial. If you want to download the application, here’s a quick link to the website (for Mac, sorry Windows-users). It only takes a second: