The amount of distractions we face on a day-to-day basis can be extremely difficult to live with, and of all the different potential distractions, our phones and laptops are probably the worst offenders. Many of us need to access a device for work, but after a period of time, you can often find yourself drifting away from the tasks you need to get done. Whether it’s cute baby videos on YouTube videos or memes on Reddit, everyone seems to have their vice. And that’s where an app like Freedom can step in to help.
Essentially, Freedom is a distraction blocker that is designed to make your day at little easier by getting rid of any unnecessary distractions. But just how good is it in comparison to other options available? I purchased a year subscription to try it out and see how it affected my workflow.
Freedom App Review
I’ve been a user of a similar tool StayFocusd for many years, and I’ve always been extremely happy with it. It allows you to block addictive websites that may distract you from working, but the limitation with it is that it only works for Chrome (it’s a Chrome extension). But if you go to the StayFocusd homepage then you’ll actually see that they recommend you check out Freedom if you want more control over your distraction blocker.
- The ability to block out Safari is something that most free blockers don’t offer, and it’s one of the main selling points of the Freedom app.
- You can set Freedom up to work across all of your devices, so if you’re distracted y your phone, tablet or laptop, Freedom can probably help.
- In terms of pricing, there are usually offers that you can take advantage of with Freedom that can give you anywhere between 30% and 50% off your purchase, making the cost pretty reasonable.
- There are some free alternatives to Freedom that will probably be enough for most people. That way, you won’t have to worry about a subscription or fee at all.
- Freedom can’t block a whole app, it simply blocks your connection to it. There are times where you may still get a Whatsapp message or similar even though blocking is set up.
Of all the distraction apps put there, Freedom is probably the most advanced, giving you the ability to pause, limit and gain more insight into your browsing behaviours too. Let’s look at how exactly the app works and what you can do with it.
What can I block with Freedom?
The reason why Freedom is probably the best choice out of all the options available is its easy integration with both Android and iOS devices. You can pretty easily find a free Chrome extension blocker, but what if you want to make that step further and block out apps on your laptop? Or even more difficult, you want to restrict your phone’s apps and access to the internet?
Both Android and iOS make it pretty difficult to block out internet access – especially Safari, as although you can put restrictions in place, you can easily ignore them – I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s hit “Ignore time limit” and continued to waste 45 minutes scrolling through YouTube videos I’m not even that interested in. And this is exactly where Freedom steps in.
With Freedom, you can block both browser and app pretty easily, and you have even more coverage by blocking out specific websites too. In the Freedom app you can do this is a couple of ways – they break it down by category, so you can block all social networks (e.g. Facebook and Twitter), or you can block out specific platforms that they’ve added already, which covers all the big ones. You can also manually add in your own websites too, so if there’s a less known site that’s taking up too much of your time, then you can easily block this out too.
Session lengths and limits
Once you’ve decided on the apps and websites that you want to block, you can then go on and put the times in that you want them to be restricted. This can be as basic as a few hours in the future – if you have something big to get done, like a paper or something for work, then this works great.
However for most you’ll probably want to set up certain times that your apps and websites are blocked every day, and it’s quite easy to build up a rhythm and get used to the times you’re able to access your apps. For example, what I like to do is block all of my social network apps outside of a few hours in the evening. That way, I can get my work done throughout the daytime with no distractions, and come 8pm, I can browse social media and do anything else I need to there.
Though there are other alternatives out there to Freedom, I can’t think of many that are as comprehensive as this app. One of the best things about it is that you can use it on unlimited devices too, which gives you the opportunity to use it on all of the devices in your household and sync them together – it can be a great way to get kids to do their homework too. The Locked Mode feature works great for this too, as you can ensure that there’s no way to easily cancel Freedom and the restrictions. You can easily switch this on and off in the menu.
So, it’s definitely a pretty simple app to use, and even though it has a whole load more capabilities, there actually isn’t that much more to know about the app itself. It makes it easy for you to block out websites and apps on ALL of your devices, which is something that most other competitors don’t offer.
If you’ve never used an app like Freedom before, then be prepared to be surprised (and potentially even a little frustrated!). The first few days of using the app you’ll find yourself scrolling to Facebook, Twitter and whatever other networks you may typically go on to break up the day. It’s interesting to count the amount of times you subconsciously end up trying to access these websites – on my first day using Freedom, I stopped counting when I got to 20 efforts to access my socials.
But after setting everything up properly and understanding how Freedom works, it’s definitely helped to increase my productivity. At the moment I’m still only using it as mentioned – I block everything for most of the time, and give myself a few hours in the evening to do whatever I wish. This approach definitely isn’y going to suit everyone though.
And with a little more effort setting up the timings on your Freedom app, you can easily test out various different productivity techniques. One of the most popular is the Pomodoro technique, which traditionally is just 25 minutes of work followed by a short 5 minute break repeated. This can be easily set up with Freedom if you wish to without much hassle, and there are various other timings that you may want to look at and play around with to find out what makes you the most productive you can be.
Common questions about Freedom Blocker
How much does Freedom cost?
The price of Freedom has changed over the years, but at the time of writing there are three different options you can go for. You can opt to pay on a monthly basis, which costs quite a bit at $6.99 per month. For most people though the best option will be to go for the annual Freedom package, which is $29 per year, so around $2.45 per month. However, if you use a discount code that’s often available by scrolling the page, then you can get 30% off, bringing the cost down to around $20 per year. You can also look at buying the permanent package at $129, but personally I’d only do this when it’s on sale (I’ve seen it as much as 50% off, so approximately $65 for the Forever plan.
What are the best free alternatives to Freedom?
I’ve tried quite a few different distraction blockers over the years, with StayFocusd and WasteNoTime being amongst the best free alternatives. StayFocusd is great if you’re just looking to block Google Chrome, as they have a free extension that you can use to do pretty much all the things that Freedom can do for Chrome. WasteNoTime used to be for Safari users only, but they now have a Chrome and Safari version of the browser extension too.
Is Freedom safe?
One question that users have about Freedom is whether it’s safe to use on your phone and whether it accesses your personal files. Like many apps and softwares, they can collect some of your data and use it to their advantages – this is pretty standard nowadays, and many companies do it (like Google). Another concern is the VPN setup feature, though with Freedom you’re not actually being connected to a VPN – instead they actually use a local VPN to trick your server into thinking you’re offline, and it then won’t load.
Does Freedom offer a free trial?
If you’re not entirely convinced by Freedom, then you can by all means go ahead and give it a try without committing to any contract or large payment. With this, you’ll get to set up 7 free sessions with Freedom to see whether it has all of the capabilities you need from a distraction app.
Overall, Freedom is still the best distraction blocker on the market when it comes to both usability and comprehensive design. It’s one of the only apps that allows you to easily block both Chrome and Safari, but as well as this, it has the ability to block apps both on your phone (Android and iOS) or on your Macbook too.
As much as I love apps, there’s definitely a need to block out some time if you want to get some work done, and Freedom is the perfect option for that. Just bear in mind that it can struggle with certain apps sometimes (like Facebook), as it is limited in what it can do to restrict them.