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We live in an increasingly connected world, and while the advantages are many, the constant interruptions are a real challenge. A ‘ping’ here, a ‘buzz’ there, and suddenly, your entire workflow is off the rails.
In my quest to overcome this issue and become consistently more productive, I tested a lot of focus apps and website blockers, and the Freedom app is the one that proved one of the most effective tools.
In fact, I liked it so much that I purchased a Premium yearly plan!
This is my complete Freedom app review that should answer all your questions about this distraction-blocking tool and give you an inside look into all the premium features.
(Use code JULIETY30 for 30% off)
Quick summary of my experience with Freedom
Having incorporated Freedom into my daily routine, I’ve found it to be an effective antidote to the digital noise! Spending most of my awake hours in front of the screen, I know all my distraction sources very well, so I loved the option to set up a custom blocklist with my favorite but most time-consuming sites.
Working in focus sessions allows me to concentrate on the task I need to get done, and successfully protects me from distracting myself.
Sometimes I don’t even realize when my mind starts wandering and automatically reaching for a particular website – and seeing Freedom’s green wall saying “You are free” immediately brings me back on track.
I 100% recommend trying the Freedom app, especially if you struggle to stay focused or get things done due to digital distractions.(No credit card required – Use code JULIETY30 for 30% off)
What is Freedom?
Freedom is a simple yet effective productivity tool that is designed with one major purpose in mind – to help you break free from the chains of digital distractions.
The app operates by letting you control access to the parts of the digital world that you find most distracting. This could be a social media website, a news platform, certain apps on your laptop or smartphone, or even the entire internet.
With Freedom, you decide what to block and when to block it, creating a customized productivity environment that makes it easy to focus and get work done.
Research shows that 99% of people are getting constantly interrupted when they work. Apps like Freedom aim to minimize the impact of distractions and ensure that you fit at least a few focus sessions in every workday.
Who needs the Freedom app?
With over 2.5 million users, a better question might be: who doesn’t?
Numerous studies tell us that willpower depletion is the real deal, and every consecutive “good choice” you make during the day is more difficult than the previous one.
At some point, you may experience what’s called “mental fatigue” and find it really hard to stop yourself from sliding into mindless scrolling.
Freedom and other types of procrastination apps are created to lift that weight and shield you from digital distractions so you don’t have to rely on your willpower alone.
If you have a phone addiction, have ADHD, tend to multitask too much, or just find it hard to focus on one thing long enough to get it finished, you will likely benefit from adding the Freedom app to your productivity toolkit.
According to Freedom, their user base is diverse as they serve professionals and students alike. I would say it’s most commonly used among writers, software developers, learners of all kinds, and entrepreneurs who need deep focus in order to grow their businesses.
Freedom app features
1. Block websites & apps during focus sessions
The main, and most important feature of Freedom app is to block certain websites.
They have many predefined lists with commonly known distractions, and you can check or uncheck the websites according to your preferences.
For example, you might need access to Linkedin or Facebook for your work – in this case, you block other social media platforms and don’t block these.
If you have to use social platforms as part of your work but get easily distracted by scrolling feeds, you are not alone! See my favorite social feed blocker tools that can turn off the most annoying parts of the websites.
Freedom also has options to block certain categories, such as Socials, Gaming or Shopping websites, and more, helping you battle all kinds of addictions.
When you are done setting up your lists (you only need to do it once), you just start a focus session whenever you are ready to work.
Just choose the duration, your preferred blocklist, and which devices to block, and click Start.
That’s it! Time to get to work. If you try to access one of the blocked platforms, you will see a nice message from Freedom instead telling you that you are free.
2. Block the whole Internet
One of the coolest features Freedom has is blocking the entire internet for you.
Personally, I don’t use it as literally all my work is on the Internet, but I can see how it can be incredibly useful for some people. For example, for offline studying or writing in desktop apps like Microsoft Word or Scrivener.
It’s easy to waste hours on the internet without a purpose, but it’s really hard to waste as much time without the internet these days.
This feature is especially effective when you have a deadline coming up and want to block ALL possible distractions and get straight to work.
3. Use the locked mode when willpower is low
As I mentioned earlier, willpower is a limited resource, and Freedom makes it easier to stay focused and avoid bad digital habits.
If you are someone who tends to give up and cheat the tools, for example by lifting the restrictions or turning off the extension, the Locked mode in Freedom is designed for you.
Turn it on before starting a new session, and it will prevent you from quitting. You will not be able to change the list of blocked websites or end the session until the time is out. It will give you no choice but to start working!
Of course, you can not turn off the locked mode when you have an active session – don’t try to outsmart the tool that is designed to outsmart your bad intentions 🙂
4. Schedule recurring sessions
Freedom allows you to schedule a recurring session. This is useful when you block the time in your calendar for a specific activity every day, or on specific days.
For example, I have an hour-long window in the afternoon on workdays to deal with emails, and I don’t have to set it up every time in Freedom.
During most of my other focus sessions, I block emails too.
As I described in more detail in my list of email management tips, I only check emails during specific time windows. Emails are one of the biggest sources of distraction, and constantly checking your inbox brings you more harm than good performance-wise.
If you have a big goal, a good practice is to dedicate a specific time window every day to working towards it. It may be one 20-minute focused session, or two 2-hour sessions if you are writing a book, for instance, and can benefit from a deep flow state.
Freedom will automatically block everything distracting during this time so you can focus on your goal and make measurable progress every day.
5. Sync across devices
Many people use browser extensions instead of apps for website blocking – and they can be effective, too. For example, it works when I leave my phone in another room for the whole day and it doesn’t distract me anyway.
However, not many people do this. It’s common to just react to a random notification on your phone and somehow lose yourself scrolling something for half an hour.
What’s cool about Freedom is that you can install it on all your devices – and it will sync your sessions. So, when you are in the middle of a session, it will not only block Instagram on your computer, but also Instagram app on your phone, and on your tablet, if you have one.
Freedom supports Mac and Windows on desktop as well as Android and iOS on mobile. For Linux and Chromebook users, there is no app but there is a browser extension with similar functionality.
You can choose which devices to block every time you start or schedule a new session.
6. Create custom blocklists
For many people, simply creating one blocklist with all the distracting websites and use it all the time will be enough.
However, to make the most of Freedom, you can create separate blocklists for different situations.
As I mentioned in the “recurring sessions” section above, I block my access to emails during usual sessions, but I don’t block it (obviously) when my task is related to emails. This means I need at least two blocklists.
Freedom also makes it easier to get rid of a bad habit, such as gambling or shopping addiction, by grouping all known related websites – so you can restrict them in one click.
If you hover over a particular group, you’ll see a list of included websites. As you can see in the pic, the Time Wasters group includes sites like Quora, Reddit, and more, which are very typical distractors.
7. See your focus session history
Freedom app has a Session History view which lets you see all your previous sessions. You can even add a note to each of the finished sessions about what you accomplished during that focused time.
This is helpful as it allows you to look back and see all the hard work you’ve been putting into your project. And the notes help you remember your progress because it’s really easy to forget or undervalue your achievements.
The app also tells you how much time in total you saved over the last week in an encouraging way.
8. Listen to background sounds for better focus
I usually recommend listening to something like Brain.fm when you want to reach that deep-focused state, as it’s science-backed music specifically designed for concentration.
But since I started using the Freedom app, I find myself using their background sounds much more often, especially after I tried them all and identified the ones that actually help me focus.
Freedom offers quite a few background sounds so everyone can find something they enjoy:
- Nature sounds: water, fire, rain, birds, and more;
- Coffee shops: whether you prefer the vibe of New York, Brussels, London, or Stockholm, these sounds will make it feel like you are there;
- Offices: if it’s easier for you to get into a work mode when other people are working around you, listening to the office sounds might just give you the right atmosphere (body doubling apps can also help with that);
- Music: a bunch of pleasant non-intrusive melodies, all instrumental music;
- Music from Brain.fm: Freedom seems to have some kind of integration with Brain.fm as they offer a couple of their sounds, too;
- Pomodoro: several 25-minute soundtracks, perfect for a Pomodoro session.
My personal favorites are Predictions from the Brain.fm sounds and Gloucester Garden from the Nature category.
If you prefer something more energizing, try Apex Amplitude.
The best thing is that the sounds are not tied to focus sessions in any way – you can just have them on the whole day as long as you keep the Freedom tab open.
Extra perks for premium Freedom users
Freedom app comes with a bunch of nice perks for premium users. I won’t list them all here, but some of the interesting ones are:
- 25% off any Brain.fm subscription (background music for concentration)
- 3 premium months of Todoist for free (online planning app)
- 35% off Flown membership (online coworking sessions)
- 30% off Sudowrite (one of the best AI book writing tools)
- $25 off any Sanebox subscription (a great AI email assistant)
- 2 free months of learning with Skillshare (my favorite online course platform)
Freedom app pricing
Freedom is a subscription-based app that costs $8.99 per month. However, if you go with a yearly plan like I did, it’s only $3.33 per month!
Freedom has a free trial that is not time limited and gives you access to 7 focus sessions. It doesn’t require a credit card and allows you to try Freedom on all your devices before you make a decision.
There is also a Lifetime plan available for $199.
I noticed that they regularly have some kind of a deal with a sweet price, either for the Forever plan or for the Yearly plan, so keep an eye on that if you can’t afford the full price. (Although to be honest, I think everyone can invest 3 dollars a month to get closer to their goals.)
How to use Freedom app
To get started with the Freedom app:
- Go to the Freedom website and sign up with an email.
- Open the Download page and download the Freedom app to each of your devices (computer, phone, etc) by following the instructions depending on your operating system.
- This is what your dashboard will look like when you log in. (If you are on a free trial, instead of saying “Premium” at the top, it will just say “Freedom” and let you know how many sessions you have left.)
To start your first focus session with Freedom:
- Customize which websites you want to block in the My Blocklists session.
- Go to the Start Now tab.
- Choose the desired duration for the session (I recommend 25 minutes).
- Choose one of the blocklists you set up in Step 1 or All Websites if you are ready to block the whole Internet.
- Choose which devices you want to block distractions on for this session.
- Press Start.
That’s it! Freedom will block all the distracting websites and start the countdown.
Enjoy your focus time for working without interruptions!
What I don’t like
After trying out this tool for a few weeks, I noticed a couple of areas for improvement. These aren’t dealbreakers but “nice to have” suggestions I’d love to see in the app.
Best Freedom alternatives
Final verdict: use the Freedom app or not?
Based on my observations from using Freedom for a couple of months now, I think this is a great tool for keeping distractions away. If you know your biggest sources of digital distraction, you can block them strategically when you need to work on your goal.
I also find it useful to schedule regular focus sessions to ensure you get at least some work done toward your goals every day.
Overall, Freedom is like a gentle but strict guard who protects you from procrastination and helps you focus on important tasks.
(Use code JULIETY30 for 30% off any plan)
Frequently asked questions
Freedom app is worth considering if you want to minimize digital distractions and boost your productivity. For someone with a tendency to procrastinate, a phone addiction, or ADHD, Freedom might be the perfect solution to stay focused and on task long enough to finish the job.
Freedom app is not free. It uses the subscription-based payment model, but it offers 7 free focus sessions to see if it’s the right tool for you.
Freedom doesn’t store your browsing information. All the website blocking is happening in real time. They answer the most common concerns on this FAQ page.