Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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The Best Apps for Staying on Task

Posted on April 18, 2014

Though most collegiate assignments mandate access to at least a computer—if not also the Internet—laptops can frequently inhibit workflow rather than encourage it. The choice between procrastination (Facebook, Netflix, Tumblr…) and productivity (JSTOR, OnCourse, Google Docs…) is hardly a fair one, since Frank Underwood supersedes final exam prep almost every time, and no one can resist checking smartphone notifications. Thankfully, programmers all over the world feel our pain, and have developed these three apps to enforce efficient work habits on MacBooks and PCs alike.


1.Self Control

The Self-Control app is a free, open-sourced program for apple operating systems that blocks email servers and websites for an allotted period of time. Even if the app has been deleted, of if your computer has been restarted, Self Control will continue to restrict access to any websites placed on your blacklist until the timer has run out!

2. SelfRestraint


Based on Self-Control, SelfRestraint works on Windows and Linux operating systems instead of apple’s iOS. Though the app remains in beta mode, its creator has left it open-source and totally free to users. There’s even a section on the website for known bugs and fixes, in addition to available Python code where anyone with coding experience can fiddle and customize.


image courtesy of: https://dlvfa1owjktk.cloudfront.net/antisocial/web/076697dcc5f47e3a63a43eaaf45c7fe6/images/site/antisocial_windows2.png

This one isn’t complimentary—$15 for user access—but it works across the board and has been hailed everywhere from AppStorm to the New York Times. They offer excellent customer service and support, access to the Freedom app (which blocks the web entirely), as well as a 60-day money-back guarantee. Great for those who want the whole package and easy access to experts.


-- Julie Bogen '14

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