So I bought Anti Social (http://anti-social.cc). Which was essentially my way of confessing to society as a whole that I have no self control and needed to pay someone $15 to stop me from misbehaving in my own house, at my own computer.
If there was an Anti Social for oreos and tim tams, it would probably be the most valuable thing in my life. As it stands, the computer version has very nearly made me a productive member of society.
For those who don’t know, Anti Social is a little program you can download that blocks certain websites for a certain period of time. You can add or remove any websites you like from the list—the most common ones are twitter, facebook and youtube at the moment. However pintrest, tumblr and sites like cracked are probably sensible additions too.
You can also set the time period and the block remains in place if you restart your computer and is actually quite tricky to get around. Unless you have more than one computer, which I do. It also doesn’t block Banished (http://www.shiningrocksoftware.com/game/) which is a shame, because unlike cookie clicker, I never, ever seem to get bored of Banished.
The thing about most bad habits is they are not things we choose to do. They are things that give us some kind of reassurance or reward, which we seek subconsciously. No one wakes up and thinks: ‘Today I am going to chew my nails to ugly, sore stubs’, yet too many of us do just that. Likewise, the compulsion to open facebook or youtube has become a subconscious motion—a muscle memory that we don’t have to be aware of to complete.
Nearly every time I have to google something for writing, I end up on facebook. I don’t intend to. I don’t think: ‘Oh, I’ll quickly check facebook’. I am already checking facebook before I have made a decision. Anti Social has stopped that dead. And it’s actually funny how hurt and shocked you are for a moment when you are denied access to the page.
Is Anti Social a tool I recommend for writers? Yes. Only if you need to be able to google stuff, but won’t end up researching for three hours instead of writing. If you are one of those, I suggest turning off your internet instead. However there are a lot of times were just being able to block certain sites, while still accessing your email and blog, are very useful.
Like today, while I wrote this blog post.