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I have trouble with personal productivity at home, sometimes, due to overuse of time-wasting applications. I'm trying to work around my poor willpower by locking the application from being uninstalled or used, irreversibly (or rather, such that it would be too much trouble to reverse; for example, such that it would require a full system reformat). Any ideas?

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6 Answers 6

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You shouldn't need to block it irreversibly - instead, lock it down so it is difficult.

There are some applications which you can use to lock a particular program during a certain time period, or to limit your use to a certain amount of time per day etc.

On Windows, as long as you are admin you can always get around it, but you'd need to deliberately change the config in the application to do this.

Alternatively - have a post it note next to your keyboard which just says, "No - do not use program X" and every time you are about to, look at the note and remember not to!

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Hmm. but what applications are they? –  Wolfpack'08 May 4 at 6:30
    
Good answer. I'll try to find programs like that. Useful note. I just put a picture of my wife by my mouse. It helps a lot. –  Wolfpack'08 May 8 at 0:03
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One effective way is to use an application blocker. Set the application blocker to password-protect a program(you can find a handful of them with a simple search).

You may argue that you can type the password and unblock the program. However, there's also a workaround. Ask someone to type half of the password and then type the other half yourself. Now the program can only be unblocked by this combination password and you can't unblock it alone.

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You can investigate internet filter software programs, usually used to block children from going to (types of) websites. These sometimes have the option to block specific local apps as well (or folders), so you can use that feature only.

Or block some internet sites as well, because in your case they could also be time wasters ;-)

These apps also may have time limits (either elapsed time or specific intervals) which apply to these blocks. That can come in handy too.

You then configure them the way you want and let someone else set and keep the master password.

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For web-based applications, StayFocusd works well as a Chrome extension because it lets you set a time limit on how long you've been at certain pages you designate. Otherwise, SelfControl is an application you can install that will block sites for a set amount of time.

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Whatever technical answers are proposed here will soon be obsolete. For example, thirty years ago, one of my classmates, desperate to avoid wasting time on USENET during final exams week, changed his .login file to start with the command logout; a day later, he invented a workaround.

The more enduring (meta-)answer is to ponder what need is being met by the behavior you want to block; how that behavior meets that need imperfectly; and what different behavior could meet it better. This usually involves a face-to-face conversation with a trusted friend, and is usually scary.

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I use an application called RescueTime to monitor where all the time I spend on a computer goes. It has the ability to automatically enable a "focus" mode if I miss a goal that I set for myself (i.e. 1 hour of twitter per day). You can manually enable Focus mode as well.

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