I recently started using a Google chrome extension called StayFocusd.

This application has a feature that allows you to limit the total amount of time you spend on time-wasting sites (though I hear the upcoming update allows you to allocate on an individual basis). You set the time (default of 15 minutes), and it counts down the time whenever you load that site. Once time runs out, anytime you reload that site, it simply displays a message in large text: "Shouldn't you be working?"

Other features include:
  • Specific days (i.e. you can disable it for the weekend, though I haven't)
  • Active hours (defaults to all day; you can adjust it to a specific portion)
  • Daily reset time (defaults to midnight; I set it to 5:00 PM)
  • Blocked sites (block all of a site or specific pages)
  • Allowed sites (if you prefer to work with an "accept list" only)
  • Nuclear option (blocks all websites for an independent, specified duration)
  • Challenge (a difficult typing challenge to change settings once expired)
Some other built-in features, in case you were wondering:
  • If you increase the allowable time, it make you feel guilty about it (using dialog boxes)
  • Any changes apply to the next day, so you cannot give yourself more time right then
  • Once the time expires, you cannot modify the time settings
  • The challenge, though not impossible, doesn't allow backspace, making it rather difficult
  • As with any extension, you can allow it to run in icognito mode (by default, it doesn't)
  • It's free (of course), though they do ask for a donation
As someone who instinctively loads up my browser in my downtime and check on my RSS aggregator, the latest Geekologie posts, popular YouTube videos, or Facebook news, I've found myself easily sucked into the hundreds of fascinating (but ultimately irrelevant) articles that eat up my free time.

Maybe now I can buckle down even more and prepare for the challenges ahead (seeing as how I've subdued my primary time-waster).

Whenever you load a blocked site, StayFocusd loads it for exactly one second before switching to a blank white screen with plain black text and that infamous question (above). Despite the tease, I think it's a rather effective approach to making you feel guilty. I've already encountered it a number of times, and the response of "Swee--aw!" clearly elicits the desired effect.

No comments:

Post a Comment