Gone are the days when if you were asked to picture a lazy person, you would imagine someone sleeping under a cool shade with a large bottle of refrigerated water beside them; nowadays the typical lazy person is more accurately pictured as someone who spends excessively large amounts of time idly staring at one type of screen or another when it’s not part of their job description. Unfortunately, that picture also happens to accurately describe many of us on more occasions than we would care to admit.
Mobile phones and personal computers are two of the biggest culprits when it comes to eating away at our time. Most of the popular apps and websites are specifically designed to be addictive. Unfortunately for an increasing number of people, these devices are also becoming essential to their work and sources livelihood. So how do you get any work done or even stay at your most productive when temptation is, by design, just a click away? The following tools should help you regain control of how you spend your precious time if you feel like your digital habits are getting out of hand.
Freedom is available as applications for Windows, Android, Mac and iOS. It is also available as browser add-ons/extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. It is one of the most comprehensive tools for dealing with the distractions on both your phone and computer. Freedom, like most of the applications to follow in this list, enables you to block any apps and websites which you deem to be too distracting.
Freedom also offers you the ability to sync settings across several of your devices. This means that if you block Youtube on your phone, it also gets blocked on your home computer, your work computer and your other phone if you have one. The application also allows you to schedule such blocking which would be very handy for someone who wants to, say, work on something during a certain period of the day without getting sidetracked by the latest Enzo Ishall music video. Freedom is not free beyond a brief trial period but it also happens to be one of the best tools on the market.
Block Site does exactly what its name says. It is available for Chrome, Firefox and Android. The application can block any website which you select. You can either block sites permanently or only during specific times. It also comes with a built-in Pomodoro timer which is a tool based on the Pomodoro technique of breaking down long stretches of work into small chunks of periods (usually twenty-five minutes each) with breaks in-between. This is yet another tool to rescue you from the time-sucking abysses which some of your favourite websites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook can be.
Stay Focused is available as an extension for Chrome, one of the most popular web browsers. It allows you to set time limits on how long you can spend on certain (preselected) distracting websites before you are locked out. You can either completely block the sites or just limit how much you access them.
Take a Five
People who use personal computers to surf the web know-how rapidly the number of open tabs on your browser can multiply. You start by visiting one site which you only want to “briefly check out” and end up with a dozen tabs open, most of which you will end up having to briefly go through. Take A Five lets you create self-destructing browser tabs. So instead of tab upon tab of every story related to the latest corruption scandal quietly waiting its turn to outrage you, each tab will just close itself after a preset amount of time.
Solutions for smartphone distractions
Mobile phone addiction is a real problem in the modern world. To begin with, the simple act of not checking their phones requires massive amounts of willpower for many. These devices were not designed to be ignored. Unfortunately, too much smartphone usage does not only drain the device’s battery but also its owner’s time and productivity. Someone once said that we have devices which can avail the entirety of human knowledge onto our palms but we mainly use them to argue with strangers. If you want to limit the usage of your phone to only its most useful and least distracting features, you can check out the following two apps.
App Block sets time limits for the usage of specific apps on your phone. Among other things, you can use it to choose specific locations where you want to block apps and disable notifications. You can use this app to limit your use and access to popular time drains like Whatsapp, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram. App Block is available for Android but many other similar apps exist (for both Android and iOS).
So what if your entire phone is a distraction? Digital Detox answers that question by blocking access to your phone for a specific amount of time. This means that you can use it to eliminate the temptation to halt your work and check out your phone every time your mobile network operator decides to send you a promotional text.