ode to a product that works: (total lack of) SelfControl app

for the past week, i’ve used a great app by conceptual artist, Steve Lambert, called SelfControl

the idea is: add sites you want to block to a blacklist, set the timer for how long they should stay off-limits, and get to work.

there’s also a “whitelist” option, which only lets you visits sites on that list.  i haven’t touched it yet because don’t fence me in, right?  i’m a free spirit.

although i would not have selected the skull and crossbones motif, it is powerful.  i can’t decide if it’s a nod to the hardcore nature of voluntarily banning websites from yourself, as in, you’re a SelfControl badass!  

or a threat, like, don’t you dare delete this.  doing so is poisonous and toxic.  you will die.  plus, pirates will come. 

but the app is scary.  our first day together was rough.  i downloaded it and was goofing off, pressing buttons, checking settings.  the interface is shockingly simple.  so simple, in fact, that i slid the timer to 10 hours.  before i knew it, a countdown clock appeared in front of me: 09:59:59, 09:59:58, 09:59:57… what the?

i’d started the timer.  for the next 10 hours, Facebook, Twitter, and the like were verboten.  there’s no way to edit the timer once it starts.  rebooting your computer and deleting the app are equally useless.  you must let the clock run out.

the FAQ section threatens against any attempts to bypass the system, claiming it will mess with your internet connection/computer/the entire world.  i don’t know if this is entirely true but there’s no way i’m testing it.   

on the plus side, while the timer is running, you can add to your blacklisted sites.  meaning if, hypothetically, justcuteanimals.com has become your go-to because buzzfeed.com/animals is blacklisted, you can limit their baby pandas as well. 

sound intense?  it is.  but you wouldn’t find yourself in this situation if your life hadn’t deteriorated so completely, now would you?