SelfControl Blocks Internet Distractions With Brute Force

SelfControl Blocks Internet Distractions With Brute Force

Mac OS X only: Feel like you waste too much time on Facebook, Twitter, or some other internet time sink? Free application SelfControl is serious about blocking those distractions when you need to focus.

The app is dead simple to use. Just add any domain to the blacklist (like, use the slider to set the time you need to block those distractions (from one minute to twelve hours), and click Start. SelfControl’s timer counts down the time until you can get your next distraction fix, and in the meantime, all attempts to access that site will result in a dead page. SelfControl works in conjunction with any application on your Mac, too, so you can’t just switch browsers and expect to get your fix elsewhere.

Thanks Johnny!

SelfControl [Steve Lambert]


  • I am using this to block facebook, since it is an ever-tempting distraction from unpleasant tasks. It seems to be just what i need. Like not having ice cream in the freezer prevents me from eating ice cream, though work-arounds are obvious enough.

    *But* one disappointment is that when i shut down my computer, then started it up again, I was able to get into FB via a link in an email notification. Can self-control prevent that or must I reset my FB prefs so i get no email notification?

    • i am replying to myself. dear amy, change your preferences in facebook so you get no email notifications from facebook. they were never critical anyway, just an excuse to go into facebook. also, just to be on the safe side, log out of FB before setting self-control. this seems to work just fine for me. a real blessing. thank you for giving me back 1-2 hours of my life per day!

  • Love love love this app! I’ve been using it almost a year now.

    As a design nerd, the transparent black dock icon bugs me – esp because it is almost lost against a dark background.

    I downloaded a replacement, but it doesn’t work when timer is set. Screenshot:

    Steve, Would you consider making a replacement icon w/ an opaque spade? A light gray or off-white Jolly Roger seems fitting.


  • I highly recommend this app. I use it everytime I have exams. I block every website I find myself procrastinating on, leaving me no choice but to do my work! A very valuable productivity tool.

  • This was a great app, until I figured out how to go around it. All it does is change your host files so that when you go to a specific URL, it loops back to your computer, and so it doesn’t come up. This can be easily reversed in mac terminal, which sucks. I want something that I can’t change 🙁

  • I set the time on my daughter’s laptop each evening to block all social sites on school days for 24 hours at a time. She can access the sites on weekends or holidays. She or her friends may figure out a way to hack around it but so far so good.

    • I’m sure you have a very loving family… That’s not the right way to get your kid to focus on school, because when she gets to older or goes to college she wont have these protective measures used against her and probably wont use them on herself after being brought up like that.

Log in to comment on this story!