I’ve discovered, despite my desires to act to the contrary, that I simply can’t read articles about politics or the economy without sending myself into an anxiety tailspin. I’ve actually reached this conclusion more than once in the past but once the period of anxiety passes I find myself slowly starting to read all of those websites again thinking that somehow this time I’ll be able to handle it. I woke up at 3AM this morning coming out of what was turning into a nightmare with my heart racing. The part of the dream that was starting I’ve had in the past and every time I’ve had it it’s scared the living hell out of me. It’s been years since I’ve had it and I’m glad I woke up when I did. I have no desire to have that dream again. It really comes as no surprise to me given that over the last several days I’ve been reading so much about our current political and economic woes. The thing about these articles is that they really have nothing of value to add to the conversation. They’ve all been doom-and-gloom and “I told you so!”. Between that stuff and work I’m not surprised that I had problems sleeping last night.
So now I know I can’t rely on myself to police what stuff I’m reading. I also know that there are web browser extensions out there to block a list of websites. As a (currently anyhow) Safari user I found two that seemed to fit my needs: Waste No Time and Mindful Browsing. Waste No Time allows you to browse the list of blocked sites a certain about of time during the day. You can also maintain a list of sites that are never blocked. Mindful Browsing is a bit simpler in that you are simply just blocking sites. You can also set the days and times that sites in the list will be blocked. You can also set a timer if you want that still allows you to get to the site after a preset amount of time (5 seconds, 15 minutes, etc).
I’ve decided to give Waste No Time a spin first and see how it works. I like the fact that it’s more configurable than Mindful Browsing. For instance, Waste No Time gives you the ability to either block websites while browsing or create a list through a preferences page. When you hit a page you’ve blocked with Mindful Browsing the option is there to unblock it but you can never see a full list of what you’ve already blocked.
We’ll see what happens. Obviously it’s easy to change lists of blocked websites. But the speed bump of seeing a page telling me that I shouldn’t be viewing that site should be a gentle nudge to keep me on my path.