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Eliminating distraction is a constant concern for the at-home worker, being mentally “present” and focused on the task at hand really does matter – quite a lot, in fact. With a tidal wave of information coming at us daily, focus is rapidly becoming the scarcest commodity of the 21st century.
With this in mind, I’ve rounded up a handful of the best apps for fighting back against the constant distractions of our digital lives.
For more productive apps please read > The Best Apps to Help You Boost Concentration
StayFocusd increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.
It is highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, and even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc.).
It simply sits in the background and measures your productivity. RescueTime measures every minute you’re on the computer, and it knows how much time you spend in each application, and on each website.
LeechBlock lets you block a number of specific domain names, and even save separate block lists if you need to. It lets you specify when to start blocking, even letting you set a timer so that it automatically blocks access to a page after the time limit is up. It lets you block on specific days of the week. And it lets you customize where it redirects to when you try to view a blocked page.
This application for Mac OS X lets you decide what to block, such as mail servers or addictive websites. Set a period of time to block your distractions; add the sites to the blacklist and dive into your work. Even if you finish your work early, restarting your computer or deleting the application won’t reset that timer.
Strict Workflow extension can help keep you motivated. Strict Workflow employs the Pomodoro technique: Focus for 25 minutes, then rewards yourself with a sanity-saving five-minute break. A simple click on the tiny tomato starts the timer, which sits unobtrusively in the corner of your screen. You can also blacklist and whitelist specific sites during sessions.The websites are unblocked during the break time. This extension can also be used for students, help them to focus on their projects with a visible timer and a promise of a break.
It’s an app for Google Chrome. Productivity Owl eliminates your time wasting habits on the Internet. Instead of just blacklisting certain websites, the productivity owl is present on every page. He allows a certain amount of time to get the info you need, and then get out. This creates a system where you learn to find what you need fast. If you don’t go fast to beat the owl’s timer, the owl will close the page’s tab for you. When you are not being productive he swoops across the page and closes your tabs. You will learn to find the information you need, and get back to work.
This app allows you to quickly set multiple timers to help you organize your life. It was developed to be very easy and fast to use. It can be used as an egg timer, as a kitchen or alarm clock, or just as your friendly reminder. You can also pick your favorite color to customize this timer.
Finding Zen at the Desktop
OmmWriter is a great place to clear mind and just write. Is an innovative word processor designed to help you concentrate on your writing. With a beautiful Zen-like mood and soothing music, it offers an ideal environment to focus on the actual task of writing. It is a great choice for writers, editors, bloggers, and anyone who needs to write without distractions.
CreaWriter is a Windows program designed to boost your productivity and creativity, is a minimalistic word processor that helps users focus on getting the work done without having distractions from other applications that are open on the computer. The program works in full screen mode so that users won’t have access to the other programs. It provides a calming interface that can help with the user’s productivity. The application’s interface is customizable and different settings can be changed according to the user’s preferences, like sound, background, break timer and text area.
Everyone likes a good soundtrack when they’re working. Instead of locking you into one type of sound, the web app lets you choose recordings that fit right into your flow and help you to relax. Soundrown sports higher quality recordings and more sound options, including a cafe, simple white noise, the sounds of a moving train, a park fountain, a gentle rainstorm and kids playing. Each audio track is about a half-hour long.
How do you prevent wasting away hours online? Which of these apps helped improve your focus? Share with us in the comments below.