Via my sister-in-law Miranda via Boing Boing via Lifehacker, I just learned about an application that I’ve been specifically looking for:
Freedom serves a simple purpose: It disables all wireless and Ethernet networking on your Mac for up to six hours at a time. After the time you specify is up, Freedom re-enables your network adapters and display a confirmation.
The genius part of it is, once you set it up to disable your connection for a certain amount, you cannot restore it without rebooting your computer. So, you decide you want to work without distractions for 2 1/2 hours until lunchtime, and set Freedom to 150 minutes; an hour later you develop an irresistible urge to check email; tough luck, unless you want to go to the trouble of rebooting.
I felt slightly humiliated to find this comment on the Lifehacker site: “Someone who needs this has much larger problems in their life.” I definitely need it. There was a point this spring when I was trying to work at home and my email/web compulsivity got so bad that I hit upon the solution of going down to the basement and turning off the DSL modem. Unfortunately, it turned out that we get DSL from a neighbor, so this didn’t really work. (Btw, starting Moonraking was conceptually related to this web compulsivity issue: I had been thinking of starting a blog, but worried that doing so would be fueling the fire; I eventually decided that blogging would be more constructive than the random emailing and surfing I’d been doing. Maybe that was the false logic of an addict, not sure.)
Seriously, I’m excited about this. It’s true that there may be occasions when I actually do need to check something quickly online, but overall I think it will be really helpful for me to cut myself off semi- irrevocably. Thanks Miranda!