Avoid website distractions while you work on your Mac

7 November 2015, 05:00

It might surprise you but there’s little if any profit to be had in messing around on Facebook. This is particularly the case if you should be working and especially the case if you’re up against a deadline.

College kids, this one is for you. SelfControl is a nice little free app that will block websites you tell it about, for a time period you set.

Drag the app to your Applications list to install it, and then when it starts click the Edit Blacklist button to add sites you DON’T want to visit while undertaking your work sprint (cough Facebook.com cough twitter.com).

Then drag the slider to set a time period, such as 60 minutes. Click Start, and watch the relentless timer appear. Watch as it slowly ticks down.

Try accessing any site you decided to block. On every browser you’ll see something like, “This webpage is not available.”

Instead, try opening your word processor. And working.

If there’s another verboten site you want to add, just click the Add to Blacklist button on the timer panel.

The absolutely brilliant thing about SelfControl is that even if you quit it, the sites are STILL blocked! You just have to wait until the timer is up. And seriously, don’t try to hack it. Apparently that way you can break things and have to spend even more time trying to regain access to your sites.

More technical readers might be interested to know that ports can also be blocked, and you can block BitTorrent downloads too. See SelfControl’s FAQ.

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