Caitlin's Browser History: Two Apps to Help You Get Work Done When All You Want to Do Is Argue About the Election

Or is that just me?
Publish date:
October 10, 2016
time management, there's an app for that, 2016 Election

I know the debate just happened, and I know it was absolutely bananas (how Trump's thought process can go from Russia to balance sheets to post offices or from sexual assault to ISIS truly boggles the mind), but I'm trying to pull myself away from all the pre-election time-wasting stuff I've been doing. Most of it is an exercise in futility anyway — why am I reading three different articles about who "won" the debate? Why am I getting into an argument on Facebook with my friend's mother's ceramics classmate about immigration? Why am I spending half an hour in an otherwise relaxing morning swatting Twitter trolls? And, honestly, it's draining. Watching Trump defend rape culture over and over again is like poking at a sore tooth. I don't know why I keep doing it, but it's not pleasant.

If you're like me and secretly all you want to do is mainline election coverage and argue despite an ever-growing list of things you have to do, I have two apps that will (hopefully) help snap you out of it.

WriteRoom is probably the ugliest app I've ever used, and it's what I'm typing this article into right now. The last time I talked about apps I mentioned that I think good design is really important, but apparently I do not care at all when it comes to "distraction-free writing." Or maybe I just like that the green-on-black text makes me feel like I'm in the Matrix. It's a full-screen word processing app that hides anything else happening on your computer (as well as any formatting options).

SelfControl goes one step further in turning your computer into a sensory deprivation chamber. I like this for when I'm writing or doing something where I'll need to be able to research things but don't want to end up scrolling through Twitter for 15 minutes (how does that even happen, anyway?). You can build a list of sites (including mail servers) that you want to block your access to, set a timer, and get to work. Even if you delete the application or restart your computer, you still won't be able to access those sites. Scary, right? This is why I only set the timer for about an hour at a time.

If you've got any anti-distraction tips, let me know in the comments! (Also, we can totally just hug it out in the comments because THAT DEBATE WAS A WHITE-HOT MESS and I think I'm still recovering.)