How to stop screwing around and start writing your dissertation
I admit it: I have certain guilty pleasures that are the result of writing a twenty-first century dissertation. Chief among them, is a habitual, almost ritualistic, reading of facebook. Most days, it is just once after I have been working for a few hours. But sometimes, it seems to be every fifteen minutes. Well, that is no way to write a dissertation, so I decided that I would figure out how to prevent myself from checking web sites as a way of procrastination. I knew I couldn’t cut access off at the router for our house or my husband would kill me; it had to be on my computer, easy to do, and not require any additional software.
Here’s what to do. Disclaimer: your mileage may vary, don’t call us if it doesn’t work.
1. If you are on a PC (at least, with Windows XP or Vista, those are the only ones I’ve tried), open the file C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts with notepad (It will probably warn you that you are editing a system file; don’t worry). If you are on a Mac, open /etc/hosts.
You should see a file that has some stuff up top, and then a few lines that look like this:
2. Directly underneath those lines, add this as a new line for the web site you want to block:
126.96.36.199 [[Name of web site you want to block: i.e., facebook.com]]
You can add as many of these lines as necessary, which would be many, if you have an online shopping addiction.
3. Save and close the file. On a PC, the results should be immediate (i.e., if you try to open facebook.com on any browser, you will go to the handy dandy Amusicology Procrastination Eradication Machine. On a Mac, you may have to reload your netinfo database. Type “terminal” into spotlight, and then enter the following command at the prompt:
sudo niload -v -m hosts . < /etc/hosts
4. If you ever decide you want access back to the web site, just delete the corresponding line (and, on a mac, repeat step 3).
You can thank us in your acknowledgements page when you finish in three weeks and wonder why it had been taking you so long.
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