Be Hyper-Focused with 'Block All Except,' Freedom's Whitelisting Feature

Be Hyper-Focused with 'Block All Except,' Freedom's Whitelisting Feature

Just about everyone works or studies at a computer. But with an unlimited world of content a click away, work or study efforts are often undermined by distractions. A quick break for Instagram turns into thirty minutes of scrolling, a glance at the news leads to a provocative Twitter thread, an innocent puppy video ends up with 45 minutes on YouTube… So much for that focused work or study session.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

On average, it takes 23 minutes to get back on track once distracted. Eventually, our “focus muscle” gets weak, and we have a hard time achieving the state, sometimes called flow, where we can truly hone in on deep work or studying.  

And it’s not always distractions like social media or videos. We also have a tendency to multitask in our work – bouncing around between tasks and projects, ultimately achieving suboptimal results across the board. Multitasking can decrease productivity by 40% and some studies show it may even lead to a reduction in IQ!

The bottom line: the most effective way to study or do deep work is to focus on one thing at a time.

The most effective way to study or do deep work is to focus on one thing at a time.

Singular Focus and Freedom

We built Freedom to help you break the distraction cycle and help you focus on one thing at a time – whether it’s work, studying, or engaging with friendly faces in the non-digital world. The most familiar way of using Freedom is to create “blocklists” –  lists of websites and apps that you find you’re most vulnerable to and cause you to waste time or lose focus.

Sometimes however, you know exactly what you need to focus on and know that anything else is a distraction. In those cases, you can bypass blocklist setup and use the feature called Block All Except to achieve instant and complete focus.

Commonly known as whitelisting, this feature on Freedom for Mac (and Windows soon) allows you to create virtual “blinders” around whatever app or website you’re using for work or study. Everything else is blocked.

For example, if you’re studying for an exam by using an online learning platform like Khan Academy, you’ll simply enable Block All Except and add Khan Academy to your Website Exceptions list.  

With your Freedom session running, you’ll be focused only on Khan. Try to access a distracting site, and Freedom will block you from doing so. The distracting content doesn’t have a chance to break your focus, and you’re back to work for the remainder of your Freedom session.

How to Set Up and Use ‘Block All Except’

Here’s a setup video that walks you through the easy steps:

STEP 1:

Click the Freedom butterfly in your top nav on your Mac, select Enable Website Exceptions

To enable whitelisting, select 'Enable Website Exceptions'

STEP 2:

Open Manage Website Exceptions, enter and Add the URL of the site you want as an exception:

Add websites to your exception list or white list and click Add

STEP 3:

Under Options > Advanced select Block Everything

STEP 4:

Schedule or run your Freedom session!  Afterward, go check out that puppy video.

CONCLUSION

Whether you need to focus on a Google doc, a Salesforce dashboard, or your online classes, Freedom’s Block All Except is a powerful tool to ensure you’ll stay focused and on the single task at hand.

Don’t have Freedom yet? Get it here:

Try Freedom for Free

Block All Except is currently only available on Freedom for Mac, however the Windows version will be available soon!