Have you or a family member ever succumbed to the buzz or ping of a mobile device during a scheduled study session? Have you ever found yourself feeling entirely unproductive at the end of an eight-hour work day because you placed all your efforts in checking social media or secretly planning your winter ski trip on your firm’s private browser? If you responded yes to either of these questions, chances are you’re a human being that’s breathing. In this burgeoning age of technology we’ve all fallen victim to online distractions. The buzz or ping of our mobile devices have essentially become a soundtrack to our lives. This soundtrack of constant contact can certainly boost our ego, but if you’re in the process of preparing for the bar exam, this soundtrack can prove to be a detrimental distraction.
How can you fix this you ask? Well, there’s an app for that. The Freedom App is an application and website blocker that aims to block distractions so that you can simply focus, get more work done and ultimately be more productive. Freedom can block distractions across all of your devices. Therefore, you can block distractions altogether on your laptop, desktop, tablet and mobile phone. As an individual who is highly susceptible to online distractions I decided to give this app a try. Here’s what I thought:
Freedom is Very Affordable
If you’re committed to using Freedom to block distractions, you don’t have to worry about your pockets hurting too much because this app is very affordable. Freedom offers monthly, yearly and forever subscription plans. The monthly subscription runs $6.99 a month but the yearly subscription will only cost you $2.42 a month. However, if you want to make a lifetime commitment you can get unlimited forever access for $129. Now if you ask me, the lifetime commitment seems a bit daunting. But if you want to commit, the yearly option seems to be the best bang for your buck. Also, if you’re looking to save some more coins, Freedom is currently offering a 40% off special, so catch that deal before it runs out. However, if you’re just looking to dip your toes in the water they do offer a free trial that gives you seven free blocking sessions. So, there’s no excuse to not at least give it a try!
Freedom is Easy to Use But There Are a Few Limitations
Freedom is definitely an intuitive app, so it’s fairly easy to use, but I did run into a few roadblocks during my experience. After signing up for the free trial, I simply downloaded the app on my phone and set out to get my first block session started. I was surprised to see how straightforward it was for me to do so. I simply went into the app, set up a blocklist and started a session.
- What’s a Blocklist?
A blocklist is the core feature of this app. It allows you to set up which websites or applications you would like to block during a block session. There are already some popular websites and apps pre-loaded into this list, however, you can personalize this list by including your biggest distraction sites via a URL. You also have the option of blocking all apps and websites. This essentially blocks the internet for you. Now that is certainly an anxiety inducing step to take, but if you’re studying for the bar this may be the best option for you.
- The Blocklist Has A few Limitations but There is a Workaround
During my first block session, I quickly noticed that the blocklist did an excellent job at blocking my distraction websites, however, it failed to block my biggest distraction apps. Therefore, during my block session I still received Instagram and Facebook notifications. Now if you know me you would know that these apps are my biggest vices. Therefore, I quickly scoured the Freedom support page to see if I did something wrong. I noticed that Freedom recognized that while its blocker can block the Facebook and Instagram website, it is unable to block the Facebook and Instagram applications due to special technology that these apps utilize.
But there is a workaround! If you’re serious about your block sessions, they recommend deleting these apps and blocking the IOS App store which will prevent you from downloading the app again during your session. I think this workaround is a bit extreme, but this workaround may be ideal during bar prep! The average preparation time for bar prep is roughly ten weeks, therefore implementing this workaround for that specific period may actually benefit you.
Freedom Has Great Features
Below are two of my favorite features from the app:
- Schedule Block Sessions – One of my favorite features about this app is the schedule feature. This app gives you the opportunity to schedule block sessions in advance so that your sessions will begin automatically at scheduled times. I definitely recommend utilizing this feature especially to set up block sessions during your class times. This will certainly curb the urge to go online shopping while your professor is talking.
- Locked Mode – The app also has a locked mode feature that prevents you from signing out of a session while it is active. This feature aims to develop positive habits as you will be locked into focus mode when you start a session as opposed to signing out every time you get the itch to check your email account then sign back in once you’re done.
The Freedom App won’t set you free from all online distractions, but I do think this is a good app for blocking websites and most applications. It would be perfect if it could block the Facebook and Instagram apps but hopefully that feature will be available soon. Nevertheless, I think this is a great tool to use during bar prep.