Thoughts on ‘Freedom’

I’m not talking about the concept of freedom, just by the by. I’m talking about time management software called ‘Freedom’. Glad we’ve cleared that up. Don’t want to be starting a revolution over here.

Freedom is a very small but very handy piece of software available for both Windows and OSX. The software has a single purpose, and that is to turn off your Internet for a specified period of time, thus freeing you up to do more important things. It’s FREEDOM, get it?!

To give you an indication of why I personally needed this software, here’s how my time management goes at present:

09:00 – So let’s turn on the computer. I’m going to do SO FREAKING MUCH writing today.

09:02 – I’ll just check Twitter really quick, see if anyone @replied to any of my witty banter from last night. No replies. But a retweet. And a favourite! Must thank them. Ohh, look, a new post from my favourite writer friend! I’ll just go read that. Ohh, look! Google Reader has new posts from more writer types. I’ll just check those out. Won’t take a minute. Oh hey, a new video from my favourite TGWTG contributor is up! Ohh, what’s that post about the state of publishing in the advent of eReaders? I’d better read that. Could be important. Oh, what a charming picture of a dog wearing a party hat on Facebook. Must share that! Wait, is that a new trailer for that film I really want to see?! I must watch this right now. It can’t wait. Hey, look, new videos from my favourite YouTubers. Go on then, I’ll just watch a couple. Oh look, something that I’ve already seen a million times is now available on NetFlix! I’m really in the mood for a specific brand of comedic adventures right now. Mustn’t forget to check my e-mails: might have some beta reader responses. No responses, but look! New listed items on eBay! Oh hey, Tumblr! Look at that animated gif! That’s the most clever and witty animated gif I’ve ever seen in my entire online life. I must reblog it.

15:00 – Shit.

You could turn around and say:

Hey, here’s an idea. Why don’t you just unplug your Ethernet cable for an hour instead?

To which I’d say:

Hey, here’s a retort. You try crawling around under a desk that’s got a weeks’ worth of post under it, plus a pair of fingerless gloves you bought yourself on impulse before realising how ridiculous they are.

I could always unplug it from the top, cut it off at the source, you may be thinking. Well…

That's it, behind the AMALGAMATION OF SHIT.

Besides, if you’re living in a household where the Internet is shared, unplugging anything could plunge the whole house into darkness, and that, well that would just be chaos, and nobody wants that.

Enough of your life story. Nobody cares. What does Freedom actually DO?


In a nutshell, you tell Freedom how long you would like to work distraction-free, put in your minutes (up to 8 hours), click OK, and you’re done.

Your PC/Mac loses all its networking facilities for the amount of time you specified.

There is no way to undo this decision, short of restarting your machine.

The intention is that you will take the opportunity of “freedom” from the big, bad, alluring Internet to work.

Why not just do it manually?

Granted, it is a relatively simple task to manually turn off your Internet (particularly on the Mac – you click, Turn AirPort Off, and BOOM, gone), turning it back on when you’re done with your creative genius. The problem with this is that you are still the one in control of your Internet access. There’s no point turning off your Internet with the very best of intentions, only to turn around 3 minutes later and turn it back on “just to check for one e-mail”, thus starting the cycle all over again.

Freedom takes away the chance to relapse.

You tell it what you want to. It stops you from deviating from it.

Any downsides?

This isn’t so much a downside, more of a warning: The software is only useful if you are aware of its purpose.

An example of what I mean by that:

I have a PC, a Mac, an iPhone and an iPad. I have purchased a Freedom licence for both PC and Mac, meaning that – should I feel it necessary – I could run it on both computers simultaneously, thus taking out any chance of turning to the Internet on those. However, it wouldn’t take that much effort to lean over and pick up my phone, and then I’ll be off on the Information Superhighway faster than you can blink.

You need to remind yourself that there’s a reason you can’t get onto the Internet right now. The software is only as strong as your self control.

Also, I have a personal issue with this program, considering I can’t even think about the word “Freedom” without getting this is my head:

...or something to that effect.

Yeah. But that aside, Freedom is a great, simple little app that does exactly what it says on the tin.

There really isn’t much else to say other than it works.

I mean, it’s nothing spectacular, but then it doesn’t have to be. It has a purpose to serve, and it serves it perfectly.


You can buy Freedom from the developer’s web site, including free trial versions for both PC and Mac versions, enable 5 free uses before deciding whether to hand over your heard earned dolla.

(I’ve written this post as a means of procrastination so as not to have to work on my current WIP. The irony is not lost on me. Freedom is going on as soon as I’ve posted. Promise!)