SelfControl: App of the Week

Self Control App Logo

Last week, we covered Cold Turkey, as helpful time management app that allows you to schedule time when certain websites are blocked. Unfortunately, Cold Turkey is a Windows-only app, so we looked for an equivalent Mac app for all of our Apple fans. While it has different features from Cold Turkey, SelfControl is the predominant distraction-blocking app for Mac.

Once you install SelfControl, you create a “whitelist” or a “blacklist”. If you choose whitelists, you can only view the websites on the list. You could use this to block everything except for HuskyCT or other course material. If you choose a blacklist, you can only view websites not on the list. You could use this to block social media or gaming sites. Once you make a list, you choose an amount of time and click start. Once the app has started blocking, there is no way around the block until the timer is up. It will block the designated websites in all browsers, even if you restart your computer. This makes it impossible to

The most common problem people had with this app was mixing up whitelists and blacklists. If you try to block all social media sites, but accidentally put them in whitelist, you will only be able to view social media sites for the designated time period. It’s pretty easy to tell which is which, but it could be mistaken if you’re going quickly. Another helpful tip from a lot of users is to test your lists for around 15 min before you set a longer time period. Because this program works based on IP address rather than web address, certain websites with shared IP addresses will block eachother. For example, since both Gmail and YouTube are owned by Google, if you block YouTube, you might also block Gmail.

Get SelfControl here.

You can also try these distraction-blocking mobile apps: AppDetox for Android or BreakFree for iOS or Android. You can also try Productivity Owl as a Google Chrome extension, although that won’t block any other browsers.