Posted Mar. 18, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.

Find 'Freedom' from online distraction with Durham-made app

Published: 2017-03-18 09:00:00
Updated: 2017-03-18 09:00:00


Do you struggle to stay focused online?

There's an app for that, and its designers hope it can help social media addicts be more productive.

Fred Stutzman said he came up with the idea for {{a href="external_link-16511798"}}Freedom{{/a}} while in graduate school.

"There's always information coming at you, information that could gab your attention," he said of the distracting nature of the internet. "But the reality is, we need to get work done."

Freedom allows users to select sites and apps they want to block and for how long. When users attempt to open them, they'll get a quick reminder that they could be doing other things.

Durham-based Freedom now has about 350,000 users around the world, and the service is growing.

To those who scoff at the idea of needing an app to control the urges to check social media, Stutzman says it's not that easy.

Big tech companies are hard at work designing better ways to get website users hooked.

"It's really not a fair battle, for you to expect to turn on and turn off when you want," he said. "It just doesn't work that way."

Raleigh-based productivity expert Marcey Rader teaches clients – both individuals and businesses – how to de-clutter their mind, body and inbox, one bad habit at a time.

Online time wasting is just one of the habits she battles against each day.

"And I don't even like social media, but it gets you sucked in," Rader said.

Rader recommends site-blocking options to her clients and she believes taking time to eliminate distractions can pay off.

"Having something like that, like Freedom, sets you up for success," Rader said. "It saves you from yourself."

Freedom starts at about $2 per month, and it works on computers, tablets and smartphones.

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