Are you easily distracted by emails, social media, the temptation of doing a quick ‘surf’ for the latest cheap flights and holiday deals or whatever else you feel an urgent need to check out? If so, you are not alone. For many writers the distraction of the internet is one of the most common reasons for failing to complete writing tasks and so I have selected some productivity tools for writers which may help you to stay more focused.
Productivity tools for writers which block out distractions
Anti-Social is an application for Macs that turns off the social parts of the internet. When Anti-Social is running, you’re locked away from hundreds of distracting social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. With Anti-Social, you’ll be amazed how much work you get done when you turn off your friends. You simply choose how long you want block out all of these distractions so as you can get on with some real work.
SelfControl is a free application – once again for the Mac only. It lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the internet. Just set a period of time for blocking, add sites to your blacklist and then click Start. Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
StayFocusd is a free Google Chrome app that will help you increase your productivity by limiting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites, social media and games. For example, you can choose how much time you want to spend on your social media sites during the day and once that allocated time is up, StayFocusd will block you from social media for the rest of the day.
TimeWarp is also a free Google Chrome app. It reminds you not to procrastinate when you need to get things done. If you simply can’t stop checking emails, Facebook, Youtube or whatever, TimeWarp gives you the option to display a timer which tells you just how long you have spent on a particular site. You can also choose to display a motivational quote or specify a more productive site which TimeWarp redirects you to when you a feel procrastination creeping up on you.
Leechblock is a an extension for the Firefox web browser designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them. You can specify up to six sets of sites to block, with different times and days for each set.
Productivity tools for writers which help you to stay focused
If you find it hard to concentrate for long periods of time then the following productivity tools might help. The Pomodoro Technnique is a method of time management developed by Francseco Cirillo in the 1980s which recommends choosing a task, setting a timer for 25 minutes and then immersing yourself in that one task until the timer goes off.
Tomighty is a free desktop timer specifically designed for the pomodoro technique. It is available for the Mac and Windows.
If you are working away from your own computer then try out TomatoTimer – a web-based timer.
The focus booster desktop app for the Mac and Windows enables you to use the pomodoro technique without the need to have your browser open so you can’t be distracted. All of your sessions are recorded and so you have a complete record of where all your time goes – you can even create reports and invoices from it.
SnapTimer is a simple, free, portable countdown timer for Windows which enables you to use a timer to do mini-sprints of work à la the pomodoro technique.