self-control

the second tip on this mini-productivity list is a bit radical, but if you’re an habitual internet-fueled procrastinator, maybe you’ll appreciate the ruthlessness of the self-control app.

this is the thing: i know there are people who are able to do all the hard things or watch unfazed from a distance as distractions float around them… but i’m definitely not one of them. my mind is a whirlwind of ideas and connections, a place where the instant gratification monkey has both hands firmly on the wheel.

and this is where self-control comes in. the app is really basic: you feed it a blacklist of websites where you don’t want to go, and it blocks them for as long as you’d like. until the timer expires, you won’t be able to access those websites — not even restarting the computer or deleting the app makes it go away. alternatively, you can use it with a whitelist, setting only the websites which you want to be allowed to open for that period of time.

i use it to block all kinds of social media, news sites or search engines where my random thoughts inevitably lead me. i turn it on when it’s still early and i’m filled with good intentions, and set the timer for when i’ll probably need a break. and so in the meantime, whenever a stray thought comes in or i feel an urgent need to know more about the endemic cabbages of kerguelen islands, the browser just refuses the connection and i’m thrown back to work — easy peasy.

it’s a very effective way to “burn your ships” and make sure you don’t have to rely on your own self-control to be focused. the fact that you can’t weasel your way around the restrictions is what makes it work for me — there’s nothing else to do but work, and after a while, it’s easy to get the groove going and forget about the other thoughts.

if you’re easily distracted by all the shiny things online, i heartily recommend it.


2 comments to “self-control”

  • Nathalie says:

    Wow, there is a type of cabbage called Pringles that grow on the MacDonald’s island!!! :D


    …maybe I do need that app you recommend.

  • ana says:

    i know, right?! :D we could be stranded there, and now we know there’s an edible cabbage we could look for to feed ourselves! i wonder how it tastes…

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