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April 27, 2013

Everybody Could Use a Little Self Control, or an App That Does It for You

Too often have I experienced the doubled-edged nature of the internet: it's a great tool, but also a great distraction. We all need to buckle down sometimes and get to work, and the insta-grat (yes) of the internet can be crippling. In comes SelfControl, a free and open-source application that blocks your own access to chosen websites for a designated amount of time. Hit the jump for the details.

It might seem ridiculous, and maybe it is, but the fact stands: we live in a time where self control is easily undermined, to the point that we might actually need a computer program called SelfControl to get it back. But hey, we don't always have that perfect getaway cabin waiting like Paul Thomas Anderson did.

Here's how SelfControl works:

  1. You create a list of websites that you want to block. This is called your blacklist.
  2. You can toggle your blacklist into a Whitelist, which is the reverse function, blocking all other websites that aren't on the approved list.
  3. Set a timer for the length the block should apply (anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours).
  4. Don't try to cheat -- restarting your computer won't lift the block!
  5. Whatever you do, DO NOT block No Film School.com :)

It's that simple. Only do this if you really need to drop off from the face of the planet, which is important for writers. I find that when writing, removing distractions -- or more importantly the ability to be distracted -- is invaluable for getting work done. Strangely enough though, I'm writing this post to procrastinate on the screenplay I'm currently working on. Life is funny that way.

What tools do you use to eliminate distractions? Share your thoughts below about SelfControl or other helpful tools in the comments.

Link: SelfControl App

Your Comment

14 Comments

Ive been using this app for a year or two now. It's a godsend, and I like the whitelist which blocks THE ENTIRE internet for you

April 27, 2013

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john jeffries

I use LeechBlock, but it's to easy to disable. Two-three clicks and all the facebooks, twitters, reddits are available again. It still helps, at least a little bit.

April 27, 2013

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The irony. You do realize that nofilmschool IS my biggest distraction while working? ;)

April 27, 2013

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Kraig

+1

April 27, 2013

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Stu Mannion

Haha, yeah...

April 27, 2013

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avatar
Micah Van Hove
Writer
writer, director, dp

Yeah, it's a problem...

And then the other problem is I *have* to use FB for film work...and of course, that's probably number one on most people's blacklist...

May 3, 2013

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Daniel Mimura

I was using Freedom, but I'll try this.

April 27, 2013

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moebius22

I clicked on whitelist, but it wouldn't work, so I made a blacklist, and then clicked on whitelist. It mostly worked, with the exception of one website that was on my blacklist. Any instructions anywhere on how to use this?

April 28, 2013

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moebius22

Any good option for PC?

April 28, 2013

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Any idea how to block subdomains? Like when I block tumblr, blogs on tumblr (e.g. example.tumblr.com) are still visible. Do I need to manually add them?

April 28, 2013

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vee

Only for mac apparently =(
Procrastination it is then.

April 28, 2013

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In the past writers used to go to islands to write their books away from distractions.

April 28, 2013

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Clark Nikolai

Instead of SelfControl, I find Persistence to be a bit more 2013. http://persistence-app.com

November 7, 2013

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guest

Do you have a good alternative for PC ?

August 21, 2014

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Hadas