A few days ago, I mentioned that I would go on a “social media hiatus” due to the amount of time it ate up. However, I’m sure you’ve seen me posting to social media since that time anyway, although not as frequently. Surely, this must be some lapse in discipline — just another tough talker on the internet not following through, right?
Wrong. It’s because I found a much better way to control my internet usage: anti-distraction apps.
I primarily browse the web and use social media on my Android tablet, so blocking that device was a major priority. For that, I use the Offtime app. It allows me to decide which apps to block, then set the blocking period for up to 11 hours and 55 minutes per session (though I usually run it for eight hours or so.) I use it to restrict my browsers, social media apps, and media players, and I put it in “Enforced Mode” to prevent myself from uninstalling it while it is running. It really does work to keep me on task; I used to feel like I never had time for anything, now I feel like I have way too much time.
For my iPhone, it was a bit trickier — due to iOS’s closed-in nature, app blockers are largely ineffective. Fortunately, I found a good solution: I deleted all my social media apps and extra browsers, then restricted Safari and the App Store with a passcode that I hid away and didn’t bother to remember. It helps that I didn’t like browsing the web on my iPhone anyway since the screen is so small. As of now, the phone is only good for making calls, sending texts, and taking pictures and video, though there are a few other apps on there that don’t distract me.
For my PC, I use FocusMe. Like Offtime, it blocks selected programs, allowing me to concentrate on whatever I need to get done. Not even the application’s creator could get around it, from what I heard. I haven’t explored this program as much as I have Offtime since I use my tablet more often, but it’s a very useful program nonetheless.
When it comes to avoiding distraction, willpower is good, but sometimes, you need a technological solution to your problem. The things above worked wonders for me.