Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Ultimate Productivity Tool: StayFocusd

I love sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. because they keep me connected and I  learn  from them on a regular basis. But sometimes these wonderful websites keep me from getting anything done. The battle looks like this: I sit down to get some work done but I stop to see pictures of my friend's new baby or "quickly" comment on a friend's post or retweet an awesome tweet (I have to share the wealth, right?) and before I know it, hours have passed and I haven't gotten much, if anything, done.  Then I discovered StayFocusd for Google Chrome. StayFocusd is an extension that blocks the websites I designate. If you try to access a site once it's been blocked, I see this message:
Here is what StayFocusd can allow you to do:
  • Block parts of websites or entire websites
  • Allow parts of websites so you can still use the ones you need to get work done
  • Set the daily limit for how long you are allowed to use banned websites
  • Choose which days StayFocusd blocks websites
  • Block you from the entire Internet for a set period of time or when you exceed your daily limit
  • Receive reminders at different intervals (ex. 5, 10, 15 mins, etc.) before your allotted time runs out

Cons of StayFocusd:
  • It is difficult to change the settings once you've set them- once you've been blocked from a website, you cannot go back and change your time limit
  • The changes you make don't go into effect for 24 hours
  • If you go to a website and then go to another window or tab, your time continues passing
So far using StayFocusd has helped me to get a lot more work done by not even giving me the option of accessing those sites that drain so much of my time. I would recommend it for Chrome users but I would warn first-time users to be liberal with your settings in the beginning until you get a feel for it.

Not a Google Chrome user? Download the LeechBlock extension for Firefox.

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