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Auto-SelfControl

Small utility to schedule start and stop times of SelfControl.

What is it for?

Auto-SelfControl helps you to create a weekly schedule for SelfControl. You can plan for every weekday if and when SelfControl should start and stop.

Installation

With Homebrew

The easiest way to install Auto-SelfControl is with Homebrew. Install Auto-SelfControl by running the following command in the Terminal:

brew tap andreasgrill/utils
brew install auto-selfcontrol

If you already have SelfControl, start it and backup your blacklist as it might get overridden by Auto-SelfControl.

If you do not have SelfControl already installed on your system, you can install it with Homebrew Cask:

brew install --cask selfcontrol

Manual installation

Download this repository to a directory on your system (e.g., ~/auto-selfcontrol/).

chmod +x auto-selfcontrol

Run from this specific repository

./auto-selfcontrol <config|activate|help>

Optionally create a symlink in your /usr/local/bin folder to access it from anywhere:

sudo ln -s ./auto-selfcontrol /usr/local/bin/auto-selfcontrol 

Usage

Edit the time configuration (see Configuration) first:

auto-selfcontrol config

When your block-schedule in config.json is ready, activate it by running:

auto-selfcontrol activate

Important: If you change config.json later, you have to call the auto-selfcontrol activate command again or Auto-SelfControl will not take the modifications into account!

Uninstall

To remove the application (if installed with Homebrew):

brew uninstall auto-selfcontrol

Or, manually, by removing the directory where you installed the files.

sudo unlink /usr/local/bin/auto-selfcontrol
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/etc/auto-selfcontrol
rm -rf ~/auto-selfcontrol

You also need to remove the automatic schedule by executing the following command in the Terminal:

sudo rm /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.parrot-bytes.auto-selfcontrol.plist

Configuration

The following listing shows an example config.json file that blocks every Monday from 9am to 5.30pm and on every Tuesday from 10am to 4pm:

    {
        "username": "MY_USERNAME",
        "selfcontrol-path": "/Applications/SelfControl.app",
        "host-blacklist": [
            "twitter.com",
            "reddit.com"
        ],
        "block-schedules":[
            {
                "weekday": 1,
                "start-hour": 9,
                "start-minute": 0,
                "end-hour": 17,
                "end-minute": 30
            },
            {
                "weekday": 2,
                "start-hour": 10,
                "start-minute": 0,
                "end-hour": 16,
                "end-minute": 0
            }
        ]
    }
  • username should be the macOS username.

  • selfcontrol-path is the absolute path to SelfControl.

  • host-blacklist contains the list of sites that should get blacklisted as a string array. Please note that the blacklist in SelfControl might get overridden and should be backed up before using Auto-SelfControl.

  • block-schedules contains a list of schedules when SelfControl should be started.

    • The weekday settings specifies the day of the week when SelfControl should get started. Possible values are from 1 (Monday) to 7 (Sunday). If the setting is null or omitted the blocking will be scheduled for all week days.
    • start-hour and start-minute denote the time of the day when the blocking should start, while end-hour and end-minute specify the time it should end. The hours must be defined in the 24 hour digit format. If the ending time is before the start time, the block will last until the next day (see example below).

    Please note that it is possible to create multiple schedules on the same day, as long as they are not overlapping. Have a look at the example below.

The following listing shows another example that blocks twitter and reddit every Sunday from 11pm til Monday 5am, Monday from 9am until 7pm and Monday from 10pm to 11pm:

    {
        "username": "MY_USERNAME",
        "selfcontrol-path": "/Applications/SelfControl.app",
        "host-blacklist":[
            "twitter.com",
            "reddit.com"
        ],
        "block-schedules":[
            {
                "weekday": 7,
                "start-hour": 23,
                "start-minute": 0,
                "end-hour": 5,
                "end-minute": 0
            },
            {
                "weekday": 1,
                "start-hour": 9,
                "start-minute": 0,
                "end-hour": 19,
                "end-minute": 0
            },
            {
                "weekday": 1,
                "start-hour": 22,
                "start-minute": 0,
                "end-hour": 23,
                "end-minute": 0
            }
        ]
    }

Troubleshooting

ImportError: No module named Foundation

If you've installed another version of Python (e.g., using Homebrew), you'll need to run Auto-SelfControl with the original Python installation from macOS:

sudo /usr/bin/python auto-selfcontrol.py

There are also other options, including installing pyobjc on your own Python version (pip install pyobjc). See this thread for alternative solutions.

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Small utility to schedule start and stop times of SelfControl

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