Get ‘Er Done: 7 Tools to Keep You Focused & Off the Web
By: Jess Estrada

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Normally I’d sing the praises of social media and how it can help you spread the good word about your beautiful blog. But let’s be real, social media is one of the most distracting activities at work, school, on the road, and life in general. How can you focus on creating and editing your next post when there are tweets to read, things to Pin and Instagrams to like?

It’s hard not to let a few minutes or hours slip away on social media while most of us find ourselves staring at a computer screen or have a smartphone in hand all day. Luckily, there are a few inventive minds out there who’ve designed software programs to help you stay off the internet and focused on the task at hand. If you’re looking for a little forced peace and quiet from social media, here are some of the front-runners:

 

Freedom

Freedom is far and away the most popular tool to help you stay productive. Simply set your “timer” for up to 8 hours a time, and it’ll block your internet on your computer. The downside is that there isn’t a mobile option (unfortunately, there isn’t any kind of blocking option for mobile internet), and it blocks you from the entire internet, which can be a hassle if you need the web to do research. Freedom works for Windows and Mac, and costs $10 to use.

 

Anti-Social

anti-social

Anti-Social is the sister tool to Freedom, made by the same developer and working pretty much in the exact same manner, except that it only blocks distracting social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. You can also give Anti-Social a list of other distracting sites to block you from. If you’re on Windows, however, you’ll have to sit tight – Anti-Social is currently Mac-only while its Windows counterpart is under development.

 

Rescue Time

rescuetime

Rescue Time is a free app that acts more as a productivity tracker than internet blocker. Download the app onto your computer, then fill out a short online questionnaire to help the app determine what sites are distractions for you and which are not. It’ll spit out a weekly report that gives you a rundown of how you’ve spent your time online. Rescue Time is great if you don’t want to commit to a blocker, and plan to be more proactive in controlling how you spend your time online.

 

Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey is a Windows-only blocker app that allows you to stay off the internet anywhere from ten minutes to a whole month. You can choose from a list of popular sites to block, or provide your own list. Cold Turkey has a “pay what you can” system, and part of the proceeds benefit charity. Help yourself and help others too!

 

SelfControl

SelfControl is the Mac cousin of Cold Turkey that’s free and simple to use. Some say the downside to this is that you can’t stop the timer once it’s going – but chances are, you could use that time off the internet anyway! I also appreciate SelfControl’s FAQ/Help forum, which addresses a ton of common concerns and questions.

 

FocusMe

FocusMe came up in search results but to be honest, I have not seen many reviews or other news about the Windows-only app, compared to many (fairly positive) reviews about the four I’ve already listed. Looks like FocusMe gives you the option of blocking just some or all of the internet for a period of time.

 

Firefox & Chrome Plug-insLeechblock

LeechBlockStayFocusd and Nanny for Chrome are all great options for you to plug into your favorite browser (assuming it’s either Firefox or Chrome.) They allow you to block certain websites within a specific time period, or to set a specific number of allotted hours for a site (i.e. 2 hours max on Facebook.)

 

Have you used any of these apps or other methods to control your time on social media? Let us know in a comment!

Comments

  1. Maggie says:

    These are fantastic resources! I’m definitely going to try them out!

  2. Avatar of Nadya Helena
    Nadya Helena says:

    Finally! Some help from self inflicted injuries! Thanks! Hopefully fix the problem with procrastination

    Nadya
    eyeshadow illustrator

  3. Avatar of Lauren Hochman

    Wow! These recourses sound very useful! I spend way too much time on the internet (even I know that). I’m going to try Rescue Time and others to get me back on track! Thank you for this article!
    Lauren Hochman
    http://www.theteenrunway.com/

  4. Rebeca says:

    Wow! I do not had idea that these exist!! good article :)

    http://www.urbanikamoda.blogspot.com

  5. Avatar of Andra Dorolti

    This is great! I never tried anything like this..but sometimes can be really helpful.. great post!

    http://www.andradorolti.com/

  6. Avatar of Sigita
    Sigita says:

    Well, I never have huge problems on focusing. I use my blog calendar when to plan and when to edit my posts, and I spend time on the internet only in the evening. I have made myself rules – when I take computer in tthe evening, I spend about hour in evernote, where my posts are made and edited, and onlye then I open browser. It works awesome, but those programs are good in winter, when it is harder to focus because of learning. Thank you for this great post, it will help me to balance my blog, social media and school .

    http://whiteisnewblack.blogspot.com

  7. Avatar of Sarah Loves
    Sarah Loves says:

    I find it really hard to concentrate and social media can be awful when I’m trying to focus, especially as I’ll be curious and would check my phone every 5 mins!

    For blocking social media on my phone I just turn off mobile data. It completely stops 3G, wifi, you name it! I also have notifications switched off on Facebook, Twitter, Emails etc anyway as I always get things popping up all the time and can never focus on anything.

    Sarah x
    sarahloves.co.uk

  8. Avatar of Petya
    Petya says:

    I think this is exactly what I need. I’ve never used anything like this, they all seem very interesting and helpful.

What do you think?