Monday, December 05, 2011

What are the Top Five Apps to Help Prevent Distractions?

If you work from home, you know how little distractions that take fifteen minutes out of your day can really add up. These can come in the form getting lost surfing the web, playing a quick game of Angry Birds, or listening to your favorite radio show, which are all detrimental whether you're trying to meet a deadline in the office or complete your dissertation. While these are all important aspects of daily living, finding the time to manage your schedule so you can get things done can be hard without the proper guidance. Check out these top five anti-distraction apps that will help you stay on track while you work from home.

Stay Focusd

Have you ever told yourself you would take a five-minute break to watch a video on YouTube but still find yourself glued to the monitor watching cat videos an hour later?
Stay Focusd addresses this issue by providing you with an easy-to-use blacklist for sites that you find too distracting. You can set the maximum allowed time you want to be able to use these distractive sites in a 24-hour period and after that time expires, the extension will no longer let you browse those sites. It is easy to set up and is seamlessly designed for Google Chrome.

Focus Booster

The pomodoro technique has long been thought of as an easy means to give yourself a small break while getting more work done throughout the day. The general idea is to give yourself 55 minutes of work time and five minutes of break time so that you stay focused on the task at hand. Focus Booster is an Adobe Air application that runs on your desktop. You can customize the time to give yourself as much as 15 minutes of break time. Focus Booster also comes in the form of a web app called Focus Booster Live if you don't want to download anything to your desktop.

Read It Later

If browsing RSS feeds causes you to lose a lot of time during your day, then
Read It Later is the perfect companion to minimizing distractions. If you find a page you want to save until later, you can install one of the many extensions for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari and click a small button to add the page to your Read It Later account. When you have time to read everything you saved throughout the day, simply open the page. Read It Later also offers iOS and Android apps and cleans up unnecessary clutter so you only see the content you want to see.

Mr. Number

One of the most annoying things about smartphones is that they can be distracting when you need to get work done. If you want to prevent being distracted by someone constantly calling you or sending you texts, Mr. Number can help. You can block any phone number for any period of time. Mr. Number is available for Android smartphones.

Shush! Ringtone Restorer

One of worst things about silencing your phone to avoid distractions is forgetting to turn it back on when it is needed. Shush! solves this problem by allowing you to silence your phone for a specific period of time. Simply use the volume rocker to silence the phone and a window will pop up asking how long you would like to keep the phone silenced. Once that time period has passed, the phone will return to its previous volume level. Shush! is available for Android phones.

Of course, minimizing the distractions you suffer while using your computer depends on your own willpower. Apps like Stay Focusd include methods to keep you from circumventing their settings such as having to type an entire paragraph of text error free, but sticking to your guns and using these tools as a supplement rather than a crutch is always the best way to get things done in a timely manner.

Elaine Hirsch

No comments: