Tristan Harris, a former product manager at Google, has called out big platforms like Apple, Google, Facebook and other social media outlets for precious time we probably don’t want to give by sucking us into their products.
If you find yourself constantly procrastinating because of the distracting websites and online platforms that lead you down the rabbit hole, here are some methods you can use to block these websites and focus on the work at hand.
Methods of Blocking Distracting Websites
- Use the work-only browser.
- Get a work-only profile.
- Activate airplane mode.
- Use a browser app / extension.
- Use a PC, or mobile app.
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Use a work-only browser
The internet is full of useful information, but having access to it can also end in hours of wasted productivity. What started as a quick look at your favorite website or social media feed ends up adding pressure on you as you struggle to do everything you planned for that day.
While the internet can help you find great tips and tricks to work more efficiently, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up with dozens of open tabs, and unfinished business.
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One of the ways to deal with this is to get a work-only browser that is blocking social media or other intrusive websites from your computer and phone. Having separate browsers for your work or study time, saves you the trouble of constantly blocking and unblocking distracting websites.
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You can choose one browser to use for your work or study, and a different one for regular daily use. You can add them to any website restrictions on your work / study browser while regular or daily use browser is links restricted.
Get a work-only profile
A work-only profile helps you limit your use to work or study by blocking out distracting websites and programs. You can create a new user profile if you already have one on your computer and add any restrictions you want so that you can use it for work or study.
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Activate airplane mode
This isn’t a direct way to block distracting websites, but it’s a great way to get notifications tricking you into opening such websites, plus it blocks internet access.
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If you use a mobile device, work or study, you can activate airplane (flight) mode by swiping up and down and finding the airplane icon, then tapping on it to activate it.
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For computers, you can turn off your WiFi or internet connection to disable notifications of sliding and internet access.
Use a browser app / extension
You can blacklist distracting websites with browser extensions on Chrome, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, Safari and Firefox browsers. They’re easy to use and unobtrusive so you can focus on what’s important when you’re not blocking the entire internet.
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Some browser extensions that you can use to block distracting websites so you can focus on your work or study assignments include StayFocusd or LeechBlock.
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StayFocusd is a free Chrome browser extension that restricts the time you spend on distracting websites so you can’t access the websites once the deadline has passed, so you can focus on your work or study all day .
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It offers a nuclear option that lets you choose how you’d like to block distractions like entire websites, specific pages, subdomains, or specific types of content. You can also set the number of minutes or hours you want to spend on the websites and StayFocusd kick you off when you reach them, limiting your time without adding to the time.
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This includes setting the time, the restrictions on those sites during the day and certain hours that you want you to concentrate more on your tasks than visiting such sites.
LeechBlock is another free browser extension, but it works with Chrome and Firefox, and you can block certain websites for a period of time that you set. It has a timer that you can set the time you want to spend surfing or visiting certain websites, and after the limit is up, it locks you in for the day.
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A password option or random access code is also available to help slow you down when trying to visit the intrusive pages.
Use a PC, or mobile app
If you want to block access to distracting websites from your computer or mobile device, you can do so for a period of time by installing apps like Cold Turkey for Windows or Hocus Focus for macOS.
These pc apps you can use to even lock your computer or view windows at the same time and keep yourself from procrastinating after wasting time on distracting websites.
Cold Turkey blocker works with Windows and macOS platforms and is available for free, though there’s a Pro option for which you pay a one-time fee of $ 25.
It lets you focus on your important tasks from choosing the websites and apps that you want to lock down when you need them to get around your work.
The frozen turkey setting found that in Pro-plan and lock you for a set period of time. It’s useful when you can’t shut down your devices before bed, or when you spend too much time on your computer instead of socializing with other people.
Mac users can try the free Hokus Focus app, which helps you focus on your work by clearing out your screen and allowing you to only view one window at a time.
It minimizes inactive windows so you can work on the currently active app, so if you are prone to switching apps, Hocus’ focus will help you stay on the job at hand.
You can hide your apps after a period of inactivity, or when not in use, create and save profiles for various tasks like editing, research and others. For mobile devices there are apps that block distracting websites or anything that loads procrastinate like Off the Net or Moment.
Off-Grid is an Android-only app that helps you stay off your phone by blocking it for a set period of time and if you want to start by the end of your session, it’ll charge you $ 1 per session.
For iOS users, Moment app keeps track of the time you spend with your device and notifies you when you go over the deadline you have set for each day.
Get Back On Track
With a little practice and effort, you can set yourself up for success by focusing on the important task, using the tips we shared.
It gets easier as you go along, but you can also strengthen your willpower by using visual reminders, delayed reward with the reward at the end, getting away from your work area and taking short walks or doing puzzles. Once your mind is refreshed, you can get back to work, which really matters.
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