Can A New App Called “Freedom” Increase Productivity?Claude Harrington 06.29.2016
We all want to increase productivity, right? But it isn’t so easy. Especially nowadays, when our primary tools for productivity—our computers, phones and tablets—are also the sources of our greatest distractions. Surely, in this age of rampant technological marvels, there must be some solution out there? A way to help get us on track; to swerve us away from the things we want to be doing and focused instead on what we need to be doing. Well, now there is such a solution. It’s an app called Freedom.
Before we talk about what Freedom is and how it might be able to help your business, let’s first briefly discuss how Freedom came to be. Freedom was founded in Durham, NC by current-CEO Fred Stutzman, who wanted to create a platform that could enable people to be more productive by managing digital distractions. Prior to Freedom, Stutzman had previously co-founded ClaimID.com (one of the first social-web identity management services) and served as a faculty member at a pair of prestigious universities (Carnegie Mellon and UNC-Chapel Hill).
Freedom has been in the works for five years and currently has over 150,000 users. As such it has become the leading internet, social media, and app blocker. Freedom works on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac and Windows computers.
This is not so much a feature as it is further insight into why Freedom might be a useful tool. On the Freedom website, they list a couple of details from recent studies that–at the least–make a compelling case for us to at least think more critically about the ripples of distraction.
- Time Lost: Studies show that every time you check email, a social feed, or respond to a notification, your mind requires 23 minutes of re-focus time to get back on task.
- The Myth of Multitasking: While we may feel incredibly productive jumping around putting out a lot of fires, we’re actually 40% less productive when multitasking.
A Buffet of Bloackability
When I first heard about Freedom, I figured that it would tailored in such a way that users would only be able to block the most likely distracting apps and services (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Fortunately, it’s much more expansive than that. Organized, instead, through a dashboard feature:
Through the dashboard, users are able to block out entire lists (i.e. Chat Apps, Google Searches) for a desired amount of time, or they can manually add specific websites/platforms that they want to add to their block list. And, of course, there’s the option to simply block everything.
Through the dashboard, users can also select which devices they want their personally customized settings applied to. This works as a particularly helpful way to avoid “cheating” (by simply circumventing your self-imposed restrictions on another device) or, conversely, provides a way to more judiciously optimize you distractions (by potentially minimizing your usage on less efficient devices). Regardless of your preference, the upshot is that Freedom factors in the reality that most of us use multiple devices and gives you the option to prepare accordingly.
The Price of Freedom
If you’re like me, this was probably your first question. And the answer is there are three answers. Freedom offer three different pricing plans:
- Monthly: $6.99 per month.
- Yearly: $29 per year.
- Forever: $119.99 for unlimited access to Freedom forever.
Even if Freedom doesn’t seem likely to suit your needs, the mission behind the app (and also the opening sentence of this post) is something we can all get behind: We all want to increase productivity, right? To help foster this notion, Freedom has a blog where about once a week they post articles about the art of increasing productivity. Recent examples include How Becoming Unavailable Makes You More Valuable and Why You Should Save Your Time Like You Save Your Money. Definitely worth checking out!
If you’re interested in learning more about Freedom, you can sign up for a free trial by clicking here.