Solutions for those Afflicted with Technology-Induced Attention Deficit Disorder
Are you one who struggles to maintain your focus while at work on a computer-related task? Someone who struggles with the drone of plowing through a mundane task, especially when there is a breadth of more interesting opportunities a simple mouse click away?
Fifteen, twenty minutes goes by and you perhaps feel the urge to check email or to see what updates are on your Facebook wall. Maybe it’s to check the stock ticker on one of those rare days where your investments are producing positive results or the lure of instant access to determine how your March Madness picks are doing.
As if all that was not bad enough, someone had to create this thing called Twitter.
Whatever your personal draw, the internet age has produced yet another issue for those who suffer from an ability to focus. In fact, the internet has created a new form of ADD, one that is technology-bred and ferociously difficult to control.
External Controls for the Moderately-Afflicted
If you tend to suffer from this terrible affliction, then you may want to try one of these external control mechanisms. Designed specifically for technology-bred or computer-fueled ADD, these control mechanisms take control of your computer and block access to those sites you find so irresistible.
Freedom is one application that will disable your Apple computer’s ability to network for a set period of time (up to eight hours at a shot). This free application may not work well for everyone since it disables your network connection. You are free to write or program but of course once enabled there is no access to the net to download additional relevant materials.
To turn off Freedom before the end of your self-imposed exile, you must fully reboot your computer. That is the only method to circumvent your preset time frame. Since rebooting represents a relatively significant hassle on most machines, Freedom is definitely a way to help keep tech-bred ADD in check.
An option to work on PC-based computers is Leechblock. This option is a Mozilla add on so you must be using Mozilla as your Internet browser.
LeechBlock may serve as a better productivity tool as instead of blocking all networking, you can specify as many as six different sets of sites to block for a specified length of time (see usage examples).
Time options include fixed intervals, say between 8 am and 4 pm, specified time limits, say no more than 10 minutes per hour, or any combination thereof.
An added feature is that LeechBlock also keeps track of the total amount of time you have spent browsing the sites you specified in any block set. More information and the latest version can be found here and the frequently asked questions appear here.
For the Hardened ADD Addicts
Both Freedom and LeechBlock can definitely help the tech-bred ADD culprit be more productive. But LeechBlock is a tad too easy to turn off in a moment of weakness and while Freedom is better, the weak among us still can be easily deterred.
For those with a Mac and the need for a real hard and fast lock out, there is Self Control. This new application from Brooklyn-based developer and artist Steve Lambert is considered ruthless and a match for the most hardened addicts.
As with LeechBlock, with SelfControl you can determine which specific sites you want to block and the time you want to limit any access. But what makes this application so powerful is that you really need to be certain of your decision as once you hit the start button there is no turning back.
Because once the program is initiated the sites are off limits for the specified time. There is simply no way to turn it off, no shut down and reboot, nothing.
No way, that is, unless you are a programmer yourself.
External Controls for You?
Ultimately, if email is a constant distraction or you can’t resist twittering, then you just may need a little assistance to help you with your tech-bred ADD. If you are a Mac user you have more options for now, but there will no doubt be additional packages for the PC as we move forward.
In fact, we are wondering if there is a hidden message in the current Mac Self Control application – could it be that Mac folks are more afflicted by the ADD tech addiction than PC users?