Get SelfControl

Twitter and Facebook have always held sway over me. Oh, I’ve known that they are both huge time bleeds, but it’s become a habit.

A habit that I am finally starting to break, thanks in large part to SelfControl, a free, open-source app for the Mac.

SelfControl is a barebones app that lets you block your own access to distracting websites. Pick the amount of time you want to block your time-wasters and hit the “Start” button. A timer will then appear, showing you how much remaining time is left before you can access your distractions again.

Until that time elapses, there is nothing you can do to access the site. Quitting the SelfControl app won’t work. Rebooting won’t either. You are locked in to maintaining self-control, and that’s the beauty of this app. It would be nice if there was simple way to auto-run Self-Control on a fixed schedule, but that’s my only nitpick.

For what it does, and for the price, SelfControl is an excellent app to reclaim your productivity.


These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • Ben Rosenthal
    January 12, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    SelfControl looks like a great start toward a platform agnostic competitor to WasteNoTime (, a browser plugin that offers this feature and some of those you might wish for. Even WNT isn’t perfect, particularly its interface, but it’s served one of my clients well for the last few years.

    • Krishna
      January 12, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Great suggestion. Thanks, Ben.

  • qka
    January 15, 2018 at 10:25 am

    W A R N I N G

    The following involves a bit of Unix geek-fu. Proceed accordingly.

    Using SelfControl requires Administrator access. If your everyday user account is not Administrator privileged (which is a good security practice), then you will need to enter an Administrator account and password before blocking can occur. So SelfControl won’t work on a locked down Mac, or if you otherwise don’t have Administrator access.

    SelfControl works by creating a backup your current hosts file, and then creating a modified version that routes the blocked domains to, ie nowhere.. When the timer expires, the original hosts file is restored from the backup.

    If you absolutely, positively, need to get to those domains before SelfControl times out, you can manually edit the hosts and remove the appropriate lines. When the time expires, the original hosts files is restored; all will be as it was.

    But that doesn’t show much self control.