Limit Your Time Spent on Distracting Websites

The internet is a fantastic tool, and an even more amazing distraction. I tend to think that firms should allow lawyers to use Facebook at work. For lawyers who cannot seem to manage their own time, a new application helps manage time spend on certain websites.

How it works

StayFocusd (no “e”) is a free plugin for Google Chrome. You tell the plugin how much time you want to spend on certain sites for the day, and once you have surpassed your allotment, you can no longer access those sites for the rest of the day. StayFocusd is apparently detail oriented, so that you can block Google Reader, but still have access to other Google sites the rest of the day.

The plugin displays a timer inside of your browser, and even gives you a heads up when your time is running out, so that you can quickly update your Facebook status before being locked out for the day.

One likely problem, however, is that you undoubtedly can go back into the settings when your time expires, and either turn the plugin off, or give yourself more time.

Will it help you stay on task?

On one hand, if you need something like this to keep you on task, you probably have larger attention issues that cannot be solved by a simple website manager. On the other hand, if you cannot stay on task, this is worth trying. Based on the comments on the plugin’s download page, people seem to feel the plugin works, and they are becoming more productive.

1 Comment

  1. I’m the developer of StayFocusd — thanks for the write-up.

    Just to clarify, the extension is built so block you from cheating whenever possible. It won’t let you give yourself more time once time runs out, it won’t let you turn it off for the current day, it makes you wait 24 hours before you’re allowed to change the active hours, it has an optional challenge to make it harder for you to change settings, etc.

    Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t give us the ability to block users from disabling or uninstalling extensions, so you can cheat by doing that. But if you’re that determined to waste time, you could also just use a different browser, or not install the extension in the first place. :-)

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