Internet is one of the greatest inventions ever.
You can get access to invaluable information at the click of a button, connect with smart people around the world, and be the harbinger of change.
You can also choose to while away your time, get entertained, have a laugh or two, and check the status of your 121 friends for the 3rd time in the hour.
Even if you are the person with absolute self-control, Internet makes it really easy to get distracted and switch between productivity-heaven to hell with one click.
Fear not my friends. There are other tools that smarter people have built to solve this problem.
Here are 3 great tools that you will find useful. They are completely free and there is no reason for you not to use them starting today.
1. Strict Workflow
This is one of the tools I like the best. Strict Workflow is a Chrome browser extension that sits pretty in the background and blocks non-productive websites for 25 min at one stretch.
Why 25 min? Well, it follows the Pomodoro technique to make you focus on your work for 25 min followed by a 5 min break. You can change the work time and break time as you wish.
You can also specify which sites to block. It does make your life harder if you are working on Facebook apps, but should work just fine for the rest of us.
What more – you cannot change the options once the timer is started. You have to complete the stipulated work time, or disable the extension 🙂
This extension because it follows a strict pattern of work and break phases, and the timer is inbuilt. Having the timer and the block is a big productivity booster. It encourages you to stay focused, bring urgency to the task at hand, and also blocks non-productive tasks.
On the downside, it does not have a counterpart for Firefox.
StayFocusd is another Chrome extension that gets the same job done.
What I like about this extension is the sheer number of options that I can leverage to control my wayward ways.
You can do several useful things using this extension –
- Block/allow specific web sites
- Track your time on work/non-work sites
- Allow the non-productive browsing only during specific times of the day, and for a pre-defined duration
- Set a challenge to disable. You would think twice or thrice before typing away the challenge that disables the preset pattern of blocking websites
- You also have a nuclear option to block all sites except for allowed sites for that intense focus that may save the world
You could use StayFocusd independently, or alongside Strict Workflow.
All these browser extensions are fine, but what if you are technically advanced to browse without a standard browser, or just switch to Miro for the movie trailer that everyone’s seeing.
FocalFilter is the answer to your woes.
It may not be as advanced as the browser extensions, but it does something very simple. The program will run natively on Windows and block specified websites for a predefined time period – on all browsers/programs.
The program has a light footprint and is easy to install and use.
If you find the lack of options here disheartening, you may pay $19 to get Cold Turkey. It has all the bells and whistles that you can hope for.
Again, you can use FocalFilter alone or combine this with the power of other two extensions mentioned here.
Anything goes when you are needed to work for the good of humanity. Rock on!