Freedom From Distractions

Good morning SEers, Joan here. Happy first day of Spring! I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the longer days of summer, especially those summer evenings. But I digress.

Are you a disciplined writer? I admit to being easily distracted, and it often interferes with my writing time. Here’s what an ideal writing day might look like for me.

I have the entire day to myself. I’m on vacation from my job. I don’t have any chores to do, errands to run, and I’m not expecting any visitors. My husband is at work, the cats are asleep, and I plan to write.

So, I sit down at my computer, open Scrivener, and get busy. An hour has passed, and I’ve written 2500 words.

Feeling energized, I take a short bathroom break and grab something cold from the refrigerator. The words are flowing, and I feel as if I can easily get in another 2500 before lunch. By early afternoon, I will have easily attained my 6000K word goal or maybe even more.

In a perfect world, this would be my day. But instead, a more typical one goes more like this.

First, I check my email. I’m OCD about having a clean inbox. I feel I must read, delete, or if necessary, answer emails. Depending on the number of emails, this could take anywhere from fifteen minutes to half an hour or more.

Then there is social media. “Just a quick peek at Facebook,” I tell myself. Then I get involved in a group or page discussion and before I realize it an hour has passed.

My other daily habit is to play Microsoft’s daily solitaire challenge on Zone.com. What could be better than five ways to play solitaire? Klondike, Spider, Pyramid, Tri-Peaks, and Free Cell. I can usually whiz through the easy and medium levels, but often the hard or expert levels stump me, and I keep playing until I win. Then another hour is gone.

My latest thing is YouTube videos. Again, I deceive myself into thinking I’ll only take a quick look and then move on. But it doesn’t turn out that way. Before I know it, lunchtime has arrived.

Okay – break time, then I’ll get some writing done. But afternoon comes, and I repeat my morning routine. If I’m not careful, the entire day has passed, and I may have written 500 words. If I’m lucky.

I can, and I must discipline myself. What I’m really doing is deluding myself. I’m not ashamed to admit I need help. “Just do it” doesn’t work for me. However, I found an answer, and it’s called Freedom. It’s changed my life and helped me to become more productive.

Freedom is an app you can download for PC or Mac. Once you’ve created your free account and downloaded the software, you can create block lists.

I have three block lists. One for general sites, another for games, and another for social media. I can set a block session for all my lists, or if I just want to block social media, I’ll check that one.

There are some sites you can add by checking the + sign beside the name. Also, the default block time is 25 minutes, but you can set it for 60, 120, or however long you desire. (I usually don’t set a session for longer than one hour.)

After you begin a session, you won’t be able to access the sites you’ve blocked. If you try, you’ll get a message saying the site is blocked or the connection failed. Here are a couple of screenshots for Zone.com and YouTube.

There is also an option to block all websites, but I don’t use that feature when writing. I may want to refer to a dictionary or thesaurus or use the internet for research.

If you need to end the block session early, you can do so by rebooting your computer. For instance, you may have accidentally set an eight-hour block for Facebook and need to get to the site.

And the best part about Freedom? It’s free! There is a paid version that allows you to install and run on multiple devices, but I’ve found the free version to be suitable for my needs. I can put my iPhone on airplane mode or leave it in another room if it distracts me.

If social media and other sites take away from your writing time, check out Freedom by clicking this link.  (Of note, this is not an affiliate link. I wanted to share because I’ve found the app to be useful.)

Update: Thanks to one reader, I learned that Freedom no longer offers the forever free account. I was confused because I just downloaded the software on my new PC and once I deleted the old PC off my profile was able to continue. Freedom now offers a 7-day free trial, then you can choose to upgrade. My account was probably “grandfathered in” so that’s the reason I was able to continue. I apologize for any confusion, but I would still pay for Freedom because it’s worth the small price.

Joan Hall

 

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44 thoughts on “Freedom From Distractions

  1. Pingback: The Write Place | Story Empire

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  3. I so need this! Thank you, I am a sucker for not getting any writing done and recently I’ve been inspired. I spent this morning with two cups of tea and completing 7 levels of Bubble Witch Saga. This will come in handy, Have a good one and thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may be right – something that’s recently changed. I created an account some time back and I have unlimited access on one device. I recently purchased a new desktop and had to remove the software from my laptop before I could install on the new PC. However, they are always offering discounts – sometimes up to 50% off. Thank you for pointing this out, I should have checked for changes before I posted.

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  4. I’ve heard about these types of apps, and I think they’re wonderful. For me, I tend to be very disciplined, almost to a fault. I’ve missed blog posts, numerous messages on Facebook and Twitter, and even missed my own crime chat when I’ve been immersed in writing. Let’s not even discuss the steaks I’ve turned to dust on the grill. LOL Whoops!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, I guess we can lean too far either way, but I applaud your discipline. (Darn it about those steaks!) 🙂 Once I get “in the zone” I can crank out the words. At times my husband has asked me questions and I’m aware he’s talking to me, but I might take ten or more minutes for his words to register in my brain and for me to respond.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my gosh, this fits me to a T, and probably a lot of other writers. When I first started reading your post and got to the 2500 words, I was like–JEALOUS. How ideal that would be, just sit down, shut out the world, and flow. I had not heard of this software. How interesting! I can see how it would be useful. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flossie, 2500 words in an hour? In my dreams! LOL. I think the most I’ve done is around 900. But Freedom has been a help on those days when I allow the distractions to overcome me. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve been blog-hopping from Teri Polen to Mae Clair and onwards to you Joan, so maybe sometimes distractions are good for a few things ;). I must admit I experienced a bit of green tinge (in a very supportive way!) at the 2,500-word figure, then at 6K I began to think… hang on a minute. Stranger than fiction!

        I came across Freedom a few weeks ago and my first thought was – I wish I’d invented that! It’s a great idea. Cheers for the post.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the blog post Joan. I’m so easily distracted that I set word count targets or I wouldn’t get anything done. I haven’t heard of the programme you mentioned, but it sounds like it’s worth looking into. I also find that I have to set a certain time to work on social media, otherwise whole days go missing!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Thanks for sharing this, Joan. I’ve never heard of the Freedom app. So far, I’ve relied on sheer discipline, lols! I clear my emails each morning and evening, and do the same with catching up on Facebook and Twitter. When I’m writing, I go into ‘compose’ mode in Scrivener, and this stops any email or other notifications from coming in. My biggest hurdle is finding the time to write outside of work time. I need to knuckle down and either set writing time each day (which is what I used to do), or do as Mae does and have a set writing day (love that idea!). As well as the Freedom app, I could use one that gives me an electric shock each time I fail to write for at least half an hour per day, lmao! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pingback: Avoiding Distractions When Writing | Freedom App

  9. Joan, I’d never heard of the Freedom app, but I can definitely see how it would come in handy. It’s so easy to get sucked into all the other things, besides writing, that need our attention when we sit down in front of the computer. My pitfall is usually email, which of course leads to Twitter, which of course leads to….LOL.

    I do, however, make it a practice not to check my email or any social sites on my writing day (Sunday) until after I’ve finished composing for the day. For the most part, I stick with that. Even so, it’s nice to know there’s an app that can help should I succumb to weakness 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Unfortunately, those distractions outside the computer are harder to deal with. (Like my cats who think they need to “help” by walking on the keyboard and demanding attention.) It’s all a part of disciplining ourselves, but at the same time allowing some flexibility for those unforeseen interruptions that invariably happen. Thanks for stopping by, Charles.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That’s a really cool program. I’ll admit that I break once an hour to clear Twitter notifications, but most of my distractions are outside of the computer. Anyway, the program sounds like a fun way to set up a reward system for work. Opening up the websites would definitely get me moving.

    Liked by 4 people

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