When I first read about Freedom, “an application that disables networking on an Apple computer for up to eight hours at a time,” on Salon.com, I had to ask myself if I was looking at yet another early April Fool’s Day prank.
But the more I thought about it, the more Freedom made sense to me. The concept is simple: There are so many online distractions from doing real work these days — email, instant messaging, social networking, information and news, casual gaming, and on and on — that it’s a pretty snappy idea to have an app that locks out the alluring siren song for a set period of time so that you can get some work done. As the web site for Freedom explains, “Freedom will free you from the distractions of the Internet, allowing you time to code, write, or create. At the end of your selected offline period, Freedom re-enables your network, restoring everything as normal.”
Ah, Freedom. At present Freedom is only available for Mac (through OS X version 10.5.6) but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it released for PC soon. As Rebecca Traister on Salon.com notes, “I have downloaded the program so that I may be liberated from all the other programs I have downloaded.”
Freedom is free, but the developer is asking for a donation of $10 to “fund future development efforts.”
Of course, we don’t actually “need” Freedom; we already have it. We’re all perfectly able to simply shut down our web browsers, desktop apps and other communications systems on our computers so that we can get work done. The problem is that we don’t want to. We believe that we can keep the proverbial floodgates open, while getting work done and being maximally productive at the same time. So perhaps Freedom will give us that extra little push so that we can help ourselves.
Do you think that Freedom would help you to concentrate?