What I Use: Freedom and Focus

Working in front of a computer is strange. On the one hand it allows us to do incredible things. Steve Jobs compared the computer to a bicycle for the brain:

"…I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometre. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So, that didn’t look so good. But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.

And that’s what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”

So on the one hand, we have this amazing tool that allows us to communicate around the globe instantly and have access to unheard of amounts of information with simple searches. On the other hand, I spend way too much time on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a million other distracting websites. Often I need to concentrate, but the world is just a click away.

Enter ‘Freedom’. It’s an app that will cut off your internet access for a set amount of time. It’s very simple. When you run the app it will ask you how long you want to be cut off from the internet for. You type in the amount of minutes you want, and then that’s it. It would require a restart if you want to cut out early.

If that’s too harsh, or if you still need the net to access information, you can try Focus. Focus will only cut off sites that are on it’s list. Focus is Mac only, while Freedom runs on Mac, PC, Linux and Android. Focus is free while Freedom costs $10.

I have both and they work as advertised. There are times when you need to work on the computer but you want the world to just shut up for a while. Or at least remove the temptation of you wasting time. These apps help you do this.