It's all too easy to check a news site or your personal e-mail for "just a minute" that turns into half an hour. Identify and correct this problem with MeeTimer, a Firefox extension that lets you know exactly how much time you've used and how much you've wasted. This freebie tells you how much time you spend at various Web sites in the categories you define. It can even remind you if you're about to spend time procrastinating.
MeeTimer logs the time you spend at each Web site. It's up to you to tell it whether "pcworld.com" (for instance) belongs in the category of Procrastination, Communication, Search, Work, or a category you design. When you rest your mouse on the MeeTimer logo in Firefox's status bar, a pop-up tells you what percent of your work week so far you've spent in each category. To fine-tune the results, right-click the logo to open the program window. From there, you can recategorize sites, tell it how long your work week really is, and view Advanced Stats going back as far as a year. In my informal tests, the Advanced Stats didn't appear as accurate as the stats in the pop-up.
You can also choose to have MeeTimer warn you when you're about to enter a Procrastination site. If you decide to have it do so, MeeTimer will show you a transparent window telling you how much of your work week you've already wasted; from there, you can opt to close the tab or to proceed. It may seem a bit chiding, but it's not as authoritarian as outright blocking the sites.
Note: This program is donationware. It is free to try, but the author accepts and encourages donations towards further development.