A few months ago I started using an extension for Google Chrome named StayFocusd that allows you to set a limit on the amount of time that you spend on the websites that you specify. So if you find yourself spending too much time on sites like Facebook or Twitter and are not being as productive as you should be, this app can be used to limit how much time you waste. It is very simple to setup and every time you visit one of the sites that you have added to your list, then the time goes down until it runs out at which time all of those sites are blocked for the remainder of the day. Even if you use all of your time by 9am, then the Chrome browser will block those sites until midnight. I used to just block a website if I was using it too much, but that is all or nothing and more time consuming to change in those times when the sites are needed.
There are tricks you can play with the app to adjust the time as you see it winding down, but that really defeats the purpose. If you find yourself adjusting the time, you should either do an analysis of if you set your time too low or there are still adjustments to your behavior that need to be made. Stay Focusd has done a great job of adding small barriers into the application that should help to deter you from adding more time like small pop-ups about “telling your mom” and such. Very clever.
This extension has helped to keep me on task rather than hopping from screen to screen and constantly checking those sites that don’t update nearly as often as I check them or that are not urgent and should not interfere with productive work. I am always searching for ways to get a little bit better than I was the day before and this app has been helpful in doing that.
Do you have any techniques to improve your productivity that you have found to be effective?