Staying Focused by Alice Hastings

posted Mar 7, 2017, 9:52 AM by Writing Center
If you’re anything like me, you get distracted easily. I open the internet to get to Webcampus, and suddenly it’s an hour later and I’m on Youtube watching live Cher videos. And so I close the internet, open Word to start that essay, and suddenly I’m on Facebook, years deep into my old high school lab partner’s tagged photos.

The internet is the enemy of productivity. I wanted to share some of the free tools I use to help me stay focused, be productive, and get that essay done on time.

  1. StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that limits the amount of time you can spend on websites of your choosing. The app has options for days of the week, active times, restricted time, and more. For instance, you can limit your Facebook time to 20 minutes on weekdays, but have unlimited browsing time on the weekend. This app is a good, easy choice for daily distraction control.

  2. LeechBlock is a Firefox extension similar to StayFocused, but unlike StayFocused, it also allows you to block websites for designated time periods. For instance, you could block Twitter from 9-5 on weekdays, but allow yourself 50 minutes on the weekend.

  3. SelfControl is a Mac app that allows you to block websites of your choosing for up to 24 hours. You can delete the app, restart your computer, or throw your laptop out the window—no matter what you do, it won’t allow you to access your blocked sites until your time is up. Great for dedicated procrastinators!

  4. FocusWriter is available for Mac, Linux, and Windows. It blocks everything on your computer screen except what you’re writing, and allows you to set goals for yourself. For instance, you can set a goal to write for 30 minutes, and the app will alert you when you reach it. This is very similar to WriteRoom for Macs or Dark Room for Windows.

These are some of the most popular apps available now, but depending on your OS and specific needs, there are many other options to choose from. Pick one that works for you and start writing!

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