3. August 2007

Fighting Procrastination with Firewalls


Computers and Addiction

The Internet is the perfect tool for procrastination. It is way too easy to get lost in the endless flow of information. You can virtually surf the net forever and you will always find some interesting new thing. Abstaining from the net is hard, but many of us already have a handy tool installed which can help: Personal Firewalls.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to control your internet usage once you’ve developed an “addiction”. I used to enjoy periods with no internet at all, but nowadays I need it for work. Hard detox is not an option for many of us. The medium has become too common, too involved in our daily life. There are e-mails waiting to be answered. The internet is also a great source of information which many users cannot afford to loose.

So how can you just reduce your internet usage, without stopping it completely? Due to the linked nature of the internet it is very easy to get distracted while using it for legitimate reasons. This is what makes the net so evil™.

Everybody has one or more places on the Internet, with which he (or she) wastes a lot of time. For one it is a webblog, for others a news site. Often, one could afford to abstain from these places completely, but doesn’t manage to.

That is where personal firewalls can help.

Personal firewalls were originally created to prevent evil hackers from attacking your computer. To do that, they limit the connections from other computers to yours. They can also be used to limit connections from your computer to the outside world.

To get rid of your time wasting websites, you can just add their addresses to the black list of your firewall. Basically, you just forbid yourself to access those sites. In contrast to your mind, a firewall is not as easy to overcome.

Admittedly, you can just turn your firewall off so that you can access your drug again. The difference is that this is another barrier. It becomes more difficult to give in to ones addictions. It is no longer sufficient to simply enter an URL into your browser, you have to specifically disarm your protection system – which is a much harder step.

So this little helper can often be enough to give oneself that little bit of self-control that was missing.

HowTo

Please refer to the manual of your firewall if you don’t know how to block specific sites. It works slightly different for each firewall. Unfortunately, there are also firewalls which don’t support this at all.

More Support Agains Procrastination

The handy Firefox extension MeeTimer can help you find out which websites kill most of your time. It also can warn you when you are about to enter one of those sites (if you didn’t kill it with your firewall already).
» learn more!

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