Discovering if new distraction blocking application is useful

Junior Kailyn Pedersen reflects on her experience using the new Cold Turkey application for BSM computers, which claims to reduce distractions.

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Discovering if new distraction blocking application is useful

With all the distractions posed by technology, BSM looks for ways to minimize the impact. 

Photo Illustration by William Krane

With all the distractions posed by technology, BSM looks for ways to minimize the impact. Photo Illustration by William Krane

Lauren Beh

With all the distractions posed by technology, BSM looks for ways to minimize the impact. Photo Illustration by William Krane

Lauren Beh

Lauren Beh

With all the distractions posed by technology, BSM looks for ways to minimize the impact. Photo Illustration by William Krane

Kailyn Pedersen, A&E Editor

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In an era of internet and technology, the world is always at our fingertips. One click of a button on a laptop or tablet can open up a world of information, connection, and, most prominently, distractions.

I have, time and time again, found myself victim to the massive number of distractions the Internet has to offer. Every day, I tell myself I am going to finish all of my homework in a couple of hours, without letting a notification or tempting Buzzfeed article sway my focus, and every day, the vast abyss of the internet foils my plans of focus, order, and an early bedtime.

After years of letting my social media addiction and habitual refreshing of my email sidetrack my goals of finishing my homework before midnight, I figured I was long overdue for a change. And that change came in the form of Cold Turkey.”

— Kailyn Pedersen

While one minute I may be intent on quickly pounding out my math homework, the flash of a text message across my screen has the ability to keep me off task for hours. As the vicious cycle continues throughout the week, my lack of sleep weighs on my motivation, only leaving me more prone to distractions that deter my focus. After years of letting my social media addiction and habitual refreshing of my email sidetrack my goals of finishing my homework before midnight, I figured I was long overdue for a change. And that change came in the form of Cold Turkey.

Cold Turkey, which members of the Knight Errant had the opportunity to try, is an application that has the ability to block any applications or websites that could be distracting for a chosen amount of time; this allows the user to work, in theory, distraction free. While some rolled their eyes at the school-sponsored application, I figured I might as well give it a try. My level of focus had reached an all time low, so maybe temporarily blocking Twitter, as painful as it would be, would be a viable solution.

As soon as Cold Turkey was available to use, I excitedly decided to test its focusing power. I was determined to be productive for a solid couple of hours, and if it meant blocking my favorite applications and websites, so be it. That first day went relatively well. I finished more homework in the span of two hours than I had ever been able to complete in a similar amount of time, and I felt pretty accomplished. This new application seemed like it would be the key to my success; maybe BSM really had helped me solve a problem that mattered.

However, after a couple uses, I realized that Cold Turkey’s influence was quickly waning. Once I could no longer freely browse on my favorite websites on my laptop, I saw a whole new world of distractions blossom before my eyes. Just because I couldn’t browse social media on my laptop didn’t mean that I couldn’t respond to my Snapchat streaks on my phone, watch Netflix on my TV at home, and FaceTime my friends, all while I tricked my Cold Turkey application into thinking I was being productive.

Unfortunately, while I wanted to believe this new, awesome application was going to magically evaporate all of my distracted tendencies, I was wrong; I still had to put effort into staying on task. In the end, Cold Turkey was just one resource that could aid the effort to keep me on task, but it wouldn’t do my homework for me (to my dismay).

Cold Turkey and programs like it are an effective way to put yourself into the mindset of being productive. Just clicking the button to block your notifications can be a successful way to remind your brain that it is time to focus on the tasks at hand. All the same, it is equally important to eliminate other distractions around you and become disciplined in the art of focusing; because in the end, that is what will help students truly succeed.

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