Concentration is a finite resource, we all know that. As much our minds start to wander from that document or essay we need to type up, the first place we go to tends to be the most conveniently located area of procrastination, the wonders of the web which at the worst of times, can be a black hole for productivity.
So, to help deal with this growing and widespread problem weâ€˜ve searched far and wide and found a number of tools and programs designed to curb your procrastinating habits and make you a more productive person. Of course if you have a serious procrastination problem, scrolling down the page as well as downloading and installing any of these tools may be tough but dig deep and make the effort as it'll be worth it. All link can be accessed by clicking on each title heading.
For: Any web browser
For those who need encouragement to write up that document or essay, write or die is just the thing for you. Pick a time limit, a word count aim and your â€˜grace period' (the time limit before your punishment is activated) and start working. How gentle or evil your punishment is depends on what mode you pick.
Gentle mode will give you a pop up box reminding you to continue writing, Normal mode will play unpleasant sounds such as a baby crying, a poorly played violin and the Hanson's song â€˜Mmm Bop' But if you're feeling masochistic, you can set it up for Kamikaze mode where it will begin to delete your work if you're not working fast enough.
For: Windows and Mac
Ever feel that you'd actually get some work done if you just didn't have the distraction of the internet and its numerous hilarious videos featuring cats playing various musical instruments. If so, consider installing freedom which allows you to locks you away from the internet for a time period ranging from 45 minutes to eight hours.
Once your time is set, the only way you can deactivate it is either wait until the timer ends and actually do some work until then or reboot your computer which the makers hope you'll feel isn't worth the hassle. The program costs $10 but you can download a free trial just to see what life would be like if you didn't checking your twitter feed every two minutes.
Alternatively for Mac users you can use Selfcontrol which has the same basic function but is free.
Feel you spend far too much time browsing and surfing on Facebook and Youtube but still need the internet to do actual research. StopDistractions allows you to block or limit access to certain websites for a specific period of time while allowing you to work on other sites. Therefore you could block sites such as Twitter and Facebook but still allow yourself to work on Wordpress.
For: Mac and Windows respectively
Do you work on MS Word but keep checking your browser and breaking your train of thought. WriteRoom and Darkroom takes up the entire screen allowing you to focus solely on what you have to write and nothing else. Since WriteRoom is a Mac exclusive program, a developer decided to recreate it for Windows with Darkroom.
For: Mozilla Firefox Browser
Working the same way as StopDistractions, LeechBlock is a plugin for Firefox which allows you to block you from accessing websites either for a set period of time, during a set time frame (9am to 5pm on weekdays) or a combination of both. To stop you from deactivating the program if you get annoyed, you can set a password or random access code to make it more difficult to reset it.
If you have the willpower to not check the internet every second you get but work better with bursts of concentration, than you can install Instant Boss which helps program work periods and break periods throughout your day.
You have the choice of setting the amount of time you want to work for, the time for your break period and how many times you want these sessions to repeat. Through popups, you'll be notified as to when you can take a break or get back to work which you can heed or extend your time doing either activity that little bit more.
(Warning: this app does assume that you're in some way disciplined and that you have the willpower to see it through.)
For: Mozilla Firefox Browser
MeeTimer is different from the other programs listed above as instead of blocking sites, it monitors the amount of time you spend on sites when on the internet. After compiling the info gathered, it gives you statistics about your surfing habits including the percentage of time you could have spent working to guilt you into lessening your procrastinating habits and to use your time better.
Going one step further than the other blocking tools, Temptation Blocker blocks you from specific programs and applications instead of sites for a specific amount of time. The only way you can deactivate it is to enter a 32 character string which is designed to discourage you from deactivating it. Other than that you can be sporting and be productive until the timer counts down to 0, it's your call.
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