Last Wednesday, I mentioned that one of my goals this year is to stay focused and spend less unproductive time on Facebook and Twitter. I also mentioned that I have plenty of productivity tools and, therefore, need to spend less time searching for new ones. Well, there’s something I’ve recently started using that brings all these resolutions together very nicely: a free Google Chrome plug-in aptly named “StayFocusd.”
I first read about StayFocusd on Lifehacker quite some time ago. What motivated me to download it is the innovative way in which StayFocusd keeps you honest:
StayFocusd asks for a total amount of time you want to let yourself spend on all your non-productive sites. Kind of a clever restriction to have, because you just know you’d be heading right over to Twitter once your Facebook timer ran out, and vice-versa.
The idea here is that some time on social media sites is okay, but unlimited time is a big problem. So, I’ve set up StayFocusd to allow me 15 minutes total on Facebook and Twitter during the work day–plenty of time to check in with friends and answer client questions, but restrictive enough that I’m much more aware of every second I’m logged on. (I can also work around StayFocusd if a true emergency comes up, but doing do is onerous enough that I don’t want to have to override it very often.) That may not be much less than I had spent on those sites previously, but now I’ll know instead of assuming.
Now, how is my use of a productivity tool like StayFocusd indicative of less reliance on new productivity tools? Well, I had never really used StayFocusd until recently, because I was too busy chasing down the next big thing. It turns out the next big thing was a little thing I already had access to.
It’s important to note that StayFocusd only works with the Google Chrome browser. If you’re a Firefox user, there’s a similar tool available called LeechBlock. And if you use both Chrome and Firefox, try to avoid the temptation to jump to another browser after you’ve used up your allotted time on the sites you’ve red-flagged. If you can’t do that, you may need help beyond a browser plug-in. Seriously.
Try out StayFocusd and let me know your thoughts in the comments. It’s one small step toward a more productive 2013.