Internet is an information superhighway. There is always something new to read, explore or share. If you find yourself wasting a lot of time on secondary activities, restricting yourself with help of certain apps or extensions can be a good approach.
As a blogger I find this to be a huge challenge. There are other blogs to read, research to be done, RSS feeds to be checked and stories to be shared on the social media sites.
All these activities eat into the time that should be used for writing new articles. But there is a way to be more productive.
If Google Chrome is your preferred browser, you would find the extensions listed below which are useful in keeping focus on the work at hand and keeping the distracting activities at bay.
Keep distracting websites at bay with these extensions:
It’s very easy to find yourself spending time on social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter or browsing through news aggregators like Digg or Reddit, when you are supposed to be working. These Chrome extensions can help anyone focus as well as track how they spent their time.
1) Chrome Nanny:
Chrome Nanny is an extension which can keep your browsing habits in check. It allows you to block URLs at certain times in a day or limit to certain number of minutes or both .
So you can block Facebook from 9AM – 5PM or to a maximum of 60 minutes a day or both. You can also group URLs to be blocked into block sets.
If you just want to find how much time you spend on some site, Chrome Nanny can do it too ! Just add the domain in the White Listed URL. Such URLs are not blocked but tracked.
Chrome Nanny also has the concept of “Tags” which allows you to group URLs based on your own classification. There is also a “Statistics” page which can chart how you spent your time.
2) Stay Focused:
Stay Focused 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 and it is quite similar to the Chrome Nanny extension above.
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, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).
It has an interesting option called The Nuclear Option. Activating this option will block sites for the number of hours you indicate, independent of your Active Days or Active Hours. There is no way to cancel this once you activate it.
It has a great looking user interface and a number of other options are also present which make it highly customizable.
3) Strict Pomodoro:
Strict Pomodoro: A technique to be used, when self-control just won’t cut it.
The Pomodoro Technique is simple:
1. Click the button to start a 25-minute work timer.
2. Once it runs out, click to start a 5-minute break timer.
3. Rinse, repeat. Take a longer break every four rounds.
4. Once you’re all done, just let the break timer expire.
With a break on the way, those 25 minutes should be even more productive. However, I find that, when I’m up against very intimidating work, I sometimes end up taking breaks even during the work timer. That’s bad.
Therefore, in the options panel, it’s quite easy to set a list of domain names to block during work sessions. This extension comes pre-loaded with some popular sites like Facebook and Twitter, just for good measure.
In keeping with the strictness theme, a work timer cannot be stopped, and the list of blocked sites cannot be changed during a work session. Focus is key, and it sometimes takes sacrifice.
4) Rescue Time Chrome Productivity Meter:
Get an instant and easy understanding of how you spend your time online and compare yourself to the rest of the world. Unlike the above extensions, this one doe not block any websites, but tracks your browsing details.
This way you can understand, how you are spending your time while you are surfing the net.
RescueTime sits in the background and measures which site is in focus and for how long. It automatically stops measuring if your mouse and keyboard aren’t used for 2 minutes or more. It also allows you to manually stop measuring via a “pause” button.
It shows you your total Chrome time, what percent of your browsing is “productive”, and how your browsing productivity compared to hundreds of thousands of users across the world.
You can check out detailed browsing stats to see how much time you spend on individual web sites and apps, which days your most productive on, and more.
Your data does get pushed up and aggregated on their servers so they can use it to compare. But it is sent anonymously, so it’s pretty challenging to associate it data with a person.
You also have the power to delete any or all of your data at any time.
5) Focus Ring:
The simplest of all the extensions mentioned above. The main aim of Focus Ring is help you focus and relax. This extension allows you to do stuff at your own pace.
Just write down your activities and start integrated kitchen timer to maintain your focus and balance work/rest periods.
Update: The above extension is discontinued, here is the alternative for the same.
Conclusion – Which Extension Is Right For You?
Choose the extension that suits your style. If you want someone to keep a strict watch and not let you get distracted, you can use any of the 1st three extensions.
For guys who just want to track their productivity, Rescuetime is an excellent option. And for people who want a gentle nudge towards staying focused on work Focus Ring should do the job.