Freedom!

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Freedom!

freedom128No, I’m not talking about the indentured servitude contract Chris Richman and I agreed to when we booked passage here from the Old Country. We’re still in thrall to our master and doing dishes to earn our room and board. Rather, I’m talking about a little piece of shareware called Freedom. It forcibly stops users from accessing the internet. (That little clock to the right is its desktop icon.)

FreedomscreenIf you’re anything like me, then you find it hard to stop yourself from checking things throughout the day. Your four email accounts, your Twitter feed, internet messenger windows, that time-suck called Facebook, Goodreads, this blog, and a bazillion other inveigling things worm their way into your serene office and distract you from the Work That Must Be Done. Some of you have self control and practice “restraint.” (What is that?)

Well, bully for you. Me, I got no self control. Instead, I use Freedom. I turn it on, enter the number of minutes I want to work undisturbed, and then get down to business. The only way to turn off Freedom once it is activated is by shutting down and rebooting the computer. Kind of a drastic measure, some might say, but I don’t know: I’ll sign on for drastic measures if it helps me get my work done.

But how do you disconnect from the welter of the outside world? How do you unplug? Or am I the only one with this ridiculous little problem?

(Freedom is for Mac OSX; all of you PC people will have to go the simpler route of just turning off your WiFi and exercising some self-restraint already.)

  1. Besides being a funny post, what a useful idea. I also am easily distracted. One of my goals for 2010 is not to check email or twitter before noon–oops, it’s 8:29. Guess I need to find one of these for Windows. Thanks for the post.

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  2. You’re not the only one with that problem! When I’m writing, I turn my phone off and when I moved in October I made a choice not to get internet & cable in my apt. I don’t even own a tv now. I’ve been able to focus all those wasteless hours on the net & tv into writing. Yes, I miss some tv but it’s nothing I can’t buy a season pass for on iTunes and watch as a reward for reaching my writing or workout goals.

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  3. There was an article in the NYT magazine a few months back where the writer confessed that she had considered removing the wifi card from her computer and overnight-ing it to herself so she could be free from the alluring demon internet for twenty-four hours.

    I turn it off and exercise self-restrain already. Except when I don’t.

    Remember Frog and Toad and the very wonderful cookies? “But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad.

    It’s like that.

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  4. . . . The world is too much with us . . . .

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  5. Write or Die baby 🙂 It’s pretty much the coolest software on the planet.

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  6. That’s brilliant! I have the same problem. I’m definitely going to get this program. Thanks for making it known to me.

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  7. This is so amazing. Hulu has severally hampered my ability to get as many things accomplished as I should. Downloading it right now!

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  8. I love Mac Freedom! There are some mornings when I absolutely wouldn’t get my word count in without it.

    For me, this formula usually works:

    Mac Freedom + full-screen Scrivener + butt in chair = daily word count goal

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  9. I have a handy switch on my wireless internet router that I occasionally flip off when I need to shut off the distractions.

    I wanted to write a long response to this, but my fingers are too wrinkled from washing dishes. Oh crap, there’s more of them dirty. Coming, master!

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  10. Scrivener is awesome! Mac Freedom sounds good too. 🙂

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  11. This must be a flaw of the highly-creative, don’t you think?

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  12. I have two modes…
    My day job is so fragmented I find it easy to check the circuit of brilliant blogs… mine especially, and upstart, and shatzkin, and, and…. But once the weekend comes and I actually go write, the rest of the world can go to hell. Well, not you folks of course… insert cheerful emoticon.

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  13. Oh snap! I got all excited and then read that Freedom is for Mac users only. How cruel. Grrr… It’s okay. I can do this. I’ll shut off the internet in a minute…

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  14. Only networking, right? It won’t disable my iTunes library, will it? Because nothing kills my writing time more than NOT having access to my mood music.

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  15. I write on a junky laptop that has no Internet. It’s like living in the early nineties.

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  16. I heard about this recently on another blog. Looks like I’m going to have to hunt down a PC friendly version. This is definitely something I need.

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  17. In summer it’s so much easier to unplug because I love to be outside but in winter, it’s so easy to let the electronics suck up my time. I told myself I wouldn’t blog and now I have three. I decided I won’t tweet and I never got into Facebook… I hope that’s a good thing. I insist I got a cell phone again only because I’m a beekeeper and there could be an emergency… but I bought the full package with the email and internet access….

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  18. A blond, curly-haired little person is my “freedom.”

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  19. I’ve been using Mac Freedom for a while, and I love it! I set it for an hour or two and then give myself 10 mins to check e-mail before resetting it for another hour or two.

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