Get back to work! Great software for reducing distractions

Extensions and add-ons

LeechBlock

Your willpower wavers, and you easily succumb to the siren call of time-wasting websites. Those classic Flash games sure are fun. Even if you can’t stay away, your browser can, with LeechBlock.

LeechBlock disables the sites when you don't have the willpower to do it yourself.

It's a Firefox add-on that organizes websites into categories, or “block sets,” and let you set how and when to block them. For example, take all your favorite video-watching websites, throw them into your “Video Watching” block set, and block them every weekday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you try to access the site during the blocked time, you can have it route you to a “blocked” page, your home page, a blank page, or a delayed page with a customizable countdown timer that ticks away until you’re allowed access. That's like playing on easy mode.

Feel you deserve a little break for all the hard work you managed to get done? Each block set can be given a daily time limit. Go ahead, enjoy a cup of coffee and 15 minutes on Youtube every couple of hours. Once the time’s up and the page is blocked again, it’s time to get back to work.

StayFocusd

Similar to LeechBlock, StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that will block the peskiest time-wasting websites after you spend your daily allotment surfing around.

StayFocusd uses the old guilt-trip trick. It works!

From the Options menu, you can set the maximum total time allowed on any offending websites—so if you blow your goof-off time on YouTube, you can’t reset the clock and move on to Instagram. It's deeply customizable, with the ability to set the days and hours that it’s active, and what time everything resets. Some extreme options exist, such as setting up a typing challenge you must complete before you can change the options, making it as inconvenient as possible to change the settings and cheat, and disabling the options once your time limit is up. Finally, a "Nuclear Option" blocks all specified sites for a determined amount of time, regardless of active hours and days. This can’t be undone, so use it as a last resort.

StayFocusd is serious about keeping you productive and is willing to ruin your Web-browsing fun to get it done.

Readability

Not all websites are distracting. In fact you’ll probably need to browse a few for research purposes. Readability gets that and manages to let you read what you need and weed out unnecessary extras.

Viewing a webpage, before and after using Readability.

In other words, it turns a cluttered, ad-ridden article into a clean, straightforward page that’s easy to read and free of related links that make you stray. All those eye-catching stories and click-baiting pictures vanish.

And you can mark articles to read later, or send them directly to your Kindle to enjoy in your free time. Now you don’t have to worry about emailing or relying on your memory to read an interesting article you saw at work.

In addition to the Firefox add-on, there's also a Readability add-on for Chrome and various mobile editions.

Evernote Clearly

Evernote Clearly is the article cleanup tool for Firefox. Once the add-on is installed, you can turn any article into a big block of text. Right-click, select “Clearly,” and watch all the click-bait go away, leaving only the lean meat of the article.

Evernote Clearly will give you some customization on how a page looks.

Evernote users can send articles to their account, where they can be saved and read later from the Evernote desktop program or mobile app. A built-in highlighter makes any text stand out to aid in skimming for key information.

Finally, Clearly is easy on the eyes, with three different theme settings and the option to customize it to your liking. Choose the background and text colors, as well as font type and size.

And now you're ready to be productive

Technology brings distractions, and technology takes them away. Now that you've got the tools to get the job done, don't you think you should be getting back to work?

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