Self-management is a precious quality, and only fewer people execute it in their daily life. Due to the intrusion of technology into the human life, people have many distractions in their day-to-day activities. Avoiding those and focusing on the daily tasks are a challenge for everyone. However, people do not have any other choice when they need to perform their responsibilities. While working with computers, most people face distractions from the social media sites, chat applications, notifications from various sites, and more. Avoiding those are not a difficult task if people use some distraction-killing tools.
A number of distraction-killing tools are available in the web ecosystem for the working population. All of them temporarily block the access to websites and applications to ensure quality time for daily tasks. As there are many tools available on the internet, an analysis of some of the best distraction-killing tools would help the users to choose what they want.
Ideal for: Websites
Supporting Devices: PCs
Available as: Browser bookmark
An extremely simple user interface that allows even children to complete the initial setup in few seconds. The users have to select the website they want to restrict and time period for the control. Additionally, people can set the functionality for every day or weekdays. It works in such a way that users have to add each site they want to restrict as a bookmark on the browser. This allows people to get the notification if they visit the site frequently.
Though it offers a simple and user-friendly option, a bookmark works only for one site. This means that whoever wanted a number of websites restricted should complete the bookmarking for all those sites. Also, the functionality is not a site blocker, and it only alerts the users when they cross the time. Additionally, users who access websites by typing the URL in the address bar do not get the alerts. However, it is still useful as it is user-friendly, no registration required, and no downloads to the computer.
Ideal for: Websites, apps
Supporting Devices: PCs, Mac, and iOS devices
Available as: Application, software
Pricing: $6.99 if billed monthly; $2.42 if billed annually
Both the app and website user interfaces are highly user-friendly, and people have more options to customize them. The dashboard has options to start blocking sessions to any interval of time according to the choice of the user. Additionally, people can set custom block-lists and sessions, and options to choose various devices as well. The tool efficiently blocks all the applied sites and applications during the period selected.
Importantly, it has a locked mode that does not allow modifying sessions while it is running. However, the users can add more sites to the list even while lock mode is active. Interestingly, it also has an option to block the entire internet – forces people to focus on the work. Strangely, Freedom does not have a dedicated Android app at the moment but offers free access to Offtime premium services.
Ideal for: Websites, mail servers
Supporting Devices: Mac
Available as: Software
It is an open source software created in the GitHub platform for Mac computers. It has a simple and safe user interface that focuses only on what is wanted, and people cannot expect a colorful dashboard. Importantly, the users can block the websites for up to 24 hours, and the restrictions are not reversible until the stipulated time runs out. People can add websites to the “Edit Blacklist” option and has options to block common distracting sites, publications, and mail. Additionally, the tool allows users to block the entire internet – the best option for a comfortable work environment.
While opting for blocking the entire internet, the tool also offers a whitelisting option for the preferred websites – useful for accessing work-related sites. Regrettably, the tool is only available for Mac platform. However, people can improve the source code, as it is free, and use it for Windows or Linux platform. Sadly, iOS devices cannot use it as its App Store restricts the code of the tool – GPL code.
- Cold Turkey Blocker
Ideal for: Websites, mail servers, applications
Supporting Devices: PCs, Mac, Android
Available as: Software, application
Pricing: Free Basic, Pro ($25 one-time fees), and Bundle plan ($29 one-time fees)
The UI looks very clean, and people would love the way major functionalities listed prominently on the dashboard. The users can block any number of websites with an option to whitelist few according to their job requirements. Users have a customizable schedule option and timer for setting specified time for the work. It also has a “break interval” option that offers setting intervals between the works.
Interestingly, it offers an offline mode, and during the period, the computer locks out and allows people to be away from their work. Users can track the progress of site-blocking, including the number of websites blocked, weekly, monthly, and more. Additionally, people cannot remove any listed websites during the session, though they can add more sites to the list while it is running. Also, it does not work with iOS platforms.
Ideal for: Websites, applications, mail servers
Supporting Devices: Mac
Available as: application
Pricing: One-time charge of $19.99
It has a simple and elegant UI, and users can easily navigate through it find the options. It comes as a menu-bar app in Mac, and people can activate a session by one click. Users have options for scheduling it according to their choice, blacklisting and whitelisting sites, and blocking apps. Blacklisting and whitelisting features for the sites are a perfect choice for working professionals as they can avoid distracting sites by permitting access to the sites that are required for work. There is also an option for lock preferences using “hardcore mode,” and it prevents any editing on it during the session.
Focus is an ideal solution for blocking all the major work-distractions including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, IM, and more. It works with all the browsers including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and more. The users can set total break timings in their work schedule and use it together or by splitting it effectively while working.
Though there are many options available for blocking distractions, it is up to the people to efficiently use their hours. Giving importance to work and making a habit of completing work on-time are critical. Remember the lines of Robert Frost: miles to go before we sleep.