simple living websites

The software that helps you do less

This week I came across a remarkable sub-genre of software that I wasn’t aware of – programs to help you do less. Or more to the point, to help you do fewer things. Apparently our computers can do too much at once, and our ability to multitask actually means we never focus on one thing. We suffer from ‘continuous partial attention’, and it makes us very inefficient. Whatever we’re working on, those emails pop up on arrival, Skype calls and instant messenger starts clamouring for our attention. News sites have live updates, items are ending soon on Ebay and next thing you know your concentration is split seven ways.

Which means there’s now a market for software that gives you fewer options – limiting access to other programs, clearing menus out of sight, and switching off internet access. It seems strangely circular to think that there are some people in the world developing ever more sophisticated ‘real time’ update web services, and others working to sell us solutions when we find we’re addicted to them and losing control of our attention spans. Kinda sad – all the more so since I think I could do with one of these programs myself.

So there’s Isolator, Leech Block, Menu Eclipse and Turn off the Lights. Or my personal favourite, a web-killer that switches off your internet for an amount of time of your choosing. It’s simply called ‘freedom‘.

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