“Anti-Social” Web Blocking Software: Tech Tool Tuesday For Salespeople

Is the Internet a giant time suck for you? From a time management perspective, the Internet may simultaneously be the best tool and the the worst thief of time ever invented.

On the good side, you can find out information in minutes that would have taken hours, days, or weeks to uncover in the pre-online days.

On the other side of the coin, you can go to a television station website for purely business reasons…

  • …notice a link for “10 Startlingly Dangerous Cars”…
  • …read about dangerous cars…
  • …click on another link for ”Ten Screen Characters You Never Realized Were Based on Real People”…
  • read that article…

Before you know it, you’re watching a video of the monkey riding a motorscooter, 90 minutes has gone by and you have accomplished nothing. This exact scenario happened to, um, someone I know a while back.

For most salespeople, this is the deal: if it shows up in our peripheral vision and it’s cute, we’ll chase it.

Luckily, there are companies who recognize that people like me represent a terrific market. Those companies make web blocking software – programs that can block specific websites, or sometimes online access entirely. I use two of them, both sold by 80Pct Solutions, and available for Mac and Windows:

Anti-Social is very useful when you need some web access to get work done, but you need to stay the heck away from rabbit holes. You choose the specific websites you want to block, (I’ve got nearly 20 sites on my list), and how long you want to block them – anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire day. Once you start the program, you can’t turn it off. At this writing it costs $15, and it saves me hours every day.

Here’s a quick video of how I use Anti-Social to block websites.

The same company offers Freedom. Freedom represents “the nuclear option” — the idea is that once you engage it, you cannot get online for anything. No websites, no email. You are completely blocked off. You choose the amount of time you need to be cut off from the outside world, and that’s it.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing Freedom is not working properly. I have it on two different computers, and in both cases some websites — including Facebook — are accessible even with the software engaged. I have reached out to the company’s tech support department, and will update this post if and when I hear back.

What about mobile devices? To the best of my knowledge, there is no web blocking software that works on iPhones or iPads — the IOS operating system will not allow it. I don’t have any firsthand knowledge about Android — Android users, please enlighten us by leaving a comment below.

My solution to this is decidedly low-tech: my office is on the second floor, and when I need to get work done I stash my phone and tablet in the basement.

Question: What tools do you use to minimize distractions when you HAVE to get your work done? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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