It’s depressing to think about how much time is wasted every day visiting “fluff” websites. If TMZ, Gawker & Espn were all shut down, productivity would probably skyrocket to unheard of levels in the United States alone. Since that’s not happening anytime soon, here are some programs as well as some tricks for blocking productivity-sapping websites on your Mac.
Mac Apps to Prevent Procrastination / Task Avoidance / Mindless Web Surfing
- GetConcentrating.com/. To use Concentrate for mac, create a new activity and then customize the actions that will run every time you start that activity in your Concentrate pallete. All your actions will run and a timer will appear to keep you on task. These actions can include launching apps (and quitting apps), opening websites (and blocking websites you don’t want to tempt you) as well as run custom scripts.
- Use StayFocused for Google Chrome. This browser extension sets a daily limit on the amount of time you can spend on certain websites that you want to limit every day. Once your allotted time for each site has been used up, they will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.
- Use the Freedom app: MacFreedom.com. This app allows you to set a timer and until that timer is up, you can’t connect to the Internet. This program is rather strict: you will need to do a full restart if you want to connect to the Internet again. Most people won’t want the hassle of restarting just to get internet-access, so this is quite effective for people who need limited Internet access. For example, give yourself an hour at the beginning of every day to do all your Internet related tasks. Freedom app will block your Internet access for the rest of the day until you shut down your computer at the end of the day and restart it the next morning.
- RescueTime.com measures how much time you spend on each task by measuring which sites you visit and what applications you’re using the most. This app, which has Windows and Mac versions, is most useful for people who want to measure their productivity in different contexts. When you need to get to work, you can have it temporarily block the websites that are your biggest distractions.
More Drastic Measures to Curb Internet Addiction
- Pull out your Ethernet cord from the back of your computer.
- If you use Wireless instead of a wired Ethernet connection, toggle your wireless to off. You can even go as far as deleting the wireless credentials so that you would have to enter them back in order to get Internet access. Note that you should have the credentials written down somewhere before hand.
- If you have a home computer for work and play, disable fast user switching and set up separate accounts for work and play. It’s easier to avoid temptation if your “fun” bookmarks are out of sight.