Last semester as Vania Beltran tried to focus on her finals, she found herself spending hours scrolling through Tumblr, wasting away precious study time.
“I am the biggest procrastinator on Earth, so I deliberately look for ways to do everything but study when I’m supposed to be studying,” said Beltran, a student at San Diego State University.
While a study last year found that Facebook does not directly harm students’ GPAs, many students feel they lack the will power to use social media in moderation.
Margot Walrod, a senior at George Washington University, gave away her Facebook password to her friends during finals. Her friends changed her password until tests were over, ensuring that she focused.
But that’s not enough for Holly Williams, a senior at Kansas State University. Williams temporarily deactivated her account until her tests were taken.
Beltran’s solution? The appropriately named software called Self Control. Created by Steve Lambert, an artist and writer, the free OS X application can block predetermined websites using a timer. For example, a user could set Twitter to be completely inaccessible for 90 minutes.
According to Lambert on his website, he created the software because he needed it, too.
“I am an artist, and as anyone who creates things knows; the time you can block out to get focused work done is invaluable,” he wrote. “Hopefully this will help you focus on whatever you need to do, from creating that project, writing your novel, studying for your exams, or whatever you want to do. Good luck.”
But Self Control is not for the indecisive. Once the timer starts blocking an ascribed website, nothing can undo the temporary block — even restarting one’s computer.
If you are looking for a surefire way to stay focused and avoid inevitability lurking on a stranger’s vacation pictures, here are a few other applications and websites that can help you:
1. Rescue Time
Rescue Time saves the average user three hours and 54 minutes each week that they would have otherwise spent on social media, according to their website. This software helps track how much time is spent on a specific website, which could be a sobering discovery for Facebook fanatics.
This windows-only free download can block Facebook or YouTube for specific durations or a daily basis.
This Google Chrome app allows users a certain amount of time on social media sites per day. After the time runs out, the site is blocked. This application can block specific things such as certain webpages, paths and images.
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