I do most of my self-assigned writing—as opposed to client work—at coffee shops, where I can focus on fiction or the occasional poem without the distraction of everything that isn’t getting done around the house.
The strategy usually pays off, but there are times when I say to myself, “Self, let’s just check our email before we open the document and—SQUIRREL!!!!”
Twenty-five minutes later I’m still replying to emails that could just as easily wait two hours or two days, and my chai is gone besides.
A really disciplined person would Just Say No to cyber-distractions, but I admit to having a squirrel day now and then. I’m not 100% certain-sure about this, but I might not be the only writer out there with this particular weakness.
So when I read a post in Lisa Yee‘s blog about a program named Freedom that will disable your internet access upon command, for anywhere from 10 minutes to 8 hours, I gave it all of 10 nanoseconds thought before I looked it up in VersionTracker to make sure it was legit, then downloaded the app from the developer’s website, http://macfreedom.com/.
Freedom and I have been a couple for two weeks now. I’m happy to report that setting it to keep me offline for 90 minutes has done wonders for my Work in Progress. If there’s something I need more information on, I just highlight it and plow ahead rather than chasing down the information right away—and inevitably getting sidetracked by squirrels, Wikipedia, etc.
Freedom is free, but there’s an optional $10 registration fee payable through PayPal. The fee helps Fred Stutzman, the doctoral candidate who developed the program, keep the program updated in any spare moments he has while working on his dissertation, teaching, and apparently, changing diapers. I’m happy with Freedom—and the results—so I gladly sent him my $10.
Here’s a suggestion for other Mac users who find the enforced discipline Freedom offers to be helpful: If you’ve either coped with a newborn, or ever been a newborn yourself, ante up the registration fee and help Fred keep Freedom alive and functioning for many generations of OS X to come.
© 2010 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go