If youâ€™re like me, you often find yourself browsing to other websites when youâ€™re really supposed to be getting something done. Sometimes it takes hours to get back on track. For years Iâ€™ve been looking for a simple way to block myself from going to certain sites during work hours, or after work while Iâ€™m trying to get some writing done.
Last week, Aaron Parecki told me about an app called SelfControl, and it immediately solved my problems. SelfControl provides a visual interface and a simple countdown timer, which is the kind of feedback that works well for my brain.
SelfControl is a free and open-source application for Mac OS X (10.5 or above) that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click "Start." Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites — even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
After you download the SelfControl App, you can set how long youâ€™d like to be blocked from sites and then press start.
Youâ€™ll get a little SelfControl App dialog with a timer and a Blacklist button.
Simply add sites to the blacklist by typing them in.
When everything is set, youâ€™ll get a little timer on the icon in your doc. Remember that even if you turn off the app youâ€™ll still be beholden to the timer! I just shut off Gmail access for 12 hours and am not getting it back!