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Fighting Internet Distractions: Productive Telecommuting
By: Joe Eitel
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    Table of Contents:
  • Fighting Internet Distractions: Productive Telecommuting
  • Software
  • WriteRoom/Dark Room
  • LeechBlock

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    Fighting Internet Distractions: Productive Telecommuting - Software

    (Page 2 of 4 )

    Essentially, there are three main types of this distraction-fighting software on the market and we’ll discuss an example of each kind here. The most timid of the three is epitomized by RescueTime, which prides itself on being the “most powerful productivity monitoring and time managing software” available. This type simply monitors your online habits and provides its findings in report form. The theory is that it will shame you into being more productive.

    The second type of software eliminates modern day extravagances and basically takes you back to the dark ages. This type of software is characterized by Hog Bay Software's WriteRoom for MAC users and Dark Room for Windows users.

    And lastly, the most severe of the bunch allows users to actively block specific websites from being used while working. LeechBlock, which is a free Firefox add-on, keeps you on track—or does it? Do any of these? Let’s discuss their features.


    According to the RescueTime site, this software should be treated as a “web-based time-management tool that allows you to easily understand how you spend your time. There is no data entry; you just install it on your computer and your usage is magically tracked.” Well, that sounds easy enough.

    This software literally keeps track of everything that happens on your computer. Users can obtain free limited access, or for the cost of eight bucks a month, they can update their plan to receive even more detailed reports. Honestly though, that’s not really necessary, as you’ll probably be bowled over by the information you’re provided in limited access.

    Your habits will be reported in a series of charts and graphs, which in turn is broken down into analysis that’s incredibly easy to read. By being able to compare the number of hours you spend surfing the web versus the amount of time you spend on Word or Excel, for example, you’ll be able to figure out what sites act as a trigger and cause you to use your time unwisely.


    According to the software creator, Tony Wright, RescueTime will even tell you when you’re making positive strides, but it can’t fix the problem. “Just think of RescueTime as the time management equivalent of a cholesterol test,” Wright said. “We can tell you you’re not quite healthy and we can let you know when you’re making progress, but we don’t have a lot to offer you to get fixed up.” Well, that’s where the next type of software comes into play.

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