The web’s great, but it’s pretty distracting. Between glancing at incoming email, news feeds, Twitter updates and so on it’s a wonder there’s time for work at all. It’s hard to be disciplined enough to not check these things every few minutes, but it’s not a very efficient way of working. It’s rare to find something totally urgent, after all.
Freedom is a neat little app for Macs that allows you to set a time, e.g. an hour, and from then on your network access will be cut. Harsh, but I tried it and it certainly does the trick! The first few minutes may get a little anxious as you worry about all the emergency humorous tweets you’re missing, but once the cold turkey is over it’s surprisingly liberating. Great for anyone writing (after web research is done!), as it’s really easy to concentrate when all your desktop distractions have gone*.
You can set Freedom to cut your net from ten minutes to eight hours – can you imagine eight hours without the web – and as your productivity during that time will be greater, you’ll have made more time to update Facebook for the rest of the day! It really is a win-win application.
Impressively, there seems to be no way of stopping Freedom unless you actually reboot your system – I tried force quit, but apparently still had no web access! Mac users can download Freedom here.
*Smart phone users are doomed, I’m afraid.