As it’s the beginning of January you can guarantee that everyone is thinking about, talking about and trying to stick to their resolutions for the new year. So, over the next few days we’ll be looking into gadgets, apps and online services that help you stick to those resolutions, you just need the will power to actually make them work in the long run, because there’s unfortunately not really an app for that…
Although you can guarantee eating healthily and getting fit are a few of the top resolutions, a big one in the Shiny Media office is to stop procrastinating online, whether you find yourself reading too many blogs, stalking Facebook photos, being brainwashed by celebrity gossip stories or aimlessly scrolling through tweets, just think about how much time you’d have spare to do actual work if you could really reign in your online browsing.
Well luckily a few developers have realised just how much we procrastinate on the web and there are a number of solutions to limit your time on certain websites, warn you when you go somewhere you shouldn’t or even block certain sites altogether.
StayFocusd is an extension for Google Chrome, which aims to limit your time on certain websites.
You add a list of blocked sites and then specify how much time you can spend on them throughout the day. You can then only browse for that amount of time on all of the sites combined before the extension blocks your access.
If you’re worried you’ll log in and just change the settings or amend the time then there’s a ‘Require Challenge’ that you can enable, which means if you try to change anything you have to complete a challenge first, which will presumably put a lot of people off and kick them back into gear.
You can specify the days and times the restrictions will be in place and there’s also a ‘Nuclear Option’ which completely restricts your access to a list of block sites for a certain period of time.
As StayFocusd only works with Google Chrome you can obviously open a new browser and stalk, tweet and procrastinate away your day, but maybe as you open up a new browser you hate you’d realise just how silly you’re being. Hopefully.
Tea and Kittens is a very simple extension for Firefox, Chrome and Safari which completely blocks your access to the Daily Mail and Daily Express websites.
Not all of us will openly admit it, but the Daily Mail’s over-the-top celebrity gossip stories can be pretty addictive. On certain days it gets so bad that we can reel off the names of the celebrities that have recently split up, had surgery or worn a tight dress but yet can’t name one thing we’ve done in the past hour. How sad.
If you download Tea and Kittens your access to the Daily Mail will be completely blocked and replaced with pictures of (you guessed it) tea and kittens, to calm you down and keep you away from distracting, sensationalist and mind dumbing celebrity gossip.
Another Google Chrome extension, which is really comprehensive and allows you to block sites, block groups of sites and even track your time.
You can block websites at certain times of the day, which is useful if you want some time to let your mind wander over lunch time but then ensure you’re productive for the rest of the day.
You can also block big sets of websites too, so you can create lists based on which are the most disruptive to your day.
If you’re a sucker for a particular topic or person, let’s say kittens, then you can also block websites that contain lots of “kitten” mentions too.
The extension also has a statistics page and it allows you to track how much time you spend on certain sites, which could be a bit of an eye-opener and possibly more useful in the long run than just blocking everything.
LeechBlock is an add-on for Firefox and although it isn’t particularly pretty, it’s very popular and does the job, allowing you to specify when you want to block time wasting websites.
It’s a good choice for Firefox lovers who need a simple solution and have the will power to leave the settings alone as all you require is a password to change them.