I paid about 30 dollars for lifelong access to an app called Freedom recently and I’ve been enjoying it. If you use it, you can block yourself from certain sites and apps on certain days you decide.
For example, you can block yourself from Instagram until your lunch break at 1pm, or until 4pm when you’re off work. When you’re blocked, you see the image above. You can block yourself on all your devices, so try using private mode on your phone or a different browser on your second laptop, nope and nope. Blocked everywhere. If you go into lock mode and also use ‘Disable quit while in sessions’, there’s no way you can get onto the sites or apps you’ve blocked. Deleting the app won’t stop the block, nor will quitting it. You’d have to email the Freedom support team at that point and ask them to please lift your blocking settings.
Why would I bother with this? I love using social media and web surfing in general, but I’ve long since hated how much time I chose to spend on these things. A long time ago I decided to monitor my time on social media and sites like Medium that I spend a ton of time on. The problem is, my day would go something like this:
Me thinking: “Ok. I’m gonna check social media but not until 5pm.”
Me two hours later: “What if I just opened one little tab for one little second?”
Me two hours and two seconds later: “No, I can’t! I promised myself!”
Me two hours and ten seconds later: “What if I just went on Instagram for one little moment?”
Me five hours later: “Wow. I should really get off Instagram now…”
I can’t rely on my willpower to resist checking social media, because it gets depleted throughout my day, like everyone’s does. When social media is just one tab-click away and my brain is addicted to checking notifications, doing this was setting myself up to fail.
Now I can block myself from all social media until certain days or certain times. For all the times I click on my phone or iPad or computer and type “Facebook” or try to open Instagram, I simply can’t. With lock mode and quit disabled, there’s not a quick way to stop the block.
Using Freedom, I don’t feel more free so much as I feel more restricted. I simply cannot access the social media websites that I want to access, and so I don’t. Now I don’t have to rely on will power. I open a new tab or an app on my phone and it simply won’t open, until the times I specified that I’m allowed to check. My past self has set it up so that my weak-in-the-moment-self will just not be able to give in to the temptation. Really enjoying that an app can help me do this.