Fighting Internet Distractions: Productive Telecommuting - LeechBlock
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If you simply cannot control yourself online, if you’re inexplicably drawn to time wasting websites -- then LeechBlock may be for you. As mentioned previously, this is a free Firefox add-on that’s supposed to be the ultimate productivity tool. According to the Firefox site, the software was “designed to block time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your work day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them.”
Obviously this requires some honesty on your part. Making Facebook inaccessible and keeping MySpace accessible may not be the best way to go about using this software.
Simply put, LeechBlock’s main intention is to save you from yourself. You tell the software which sites to keep you away from -- you can even designate the hours -- and when that time comes, the software will stop you dead in your tracks. It’s actually quite embarrassing; if you try to visit a site that’s prohibited, you get a huge warning that will urge you to go back to work.
Thankfully, LeechBlock is very flexible. Different sites can be blocked at different times of the day or a maximum daily or hourly limit can be put in place for certain sites.
Come to think of it, this may be a good way to keep your teenagers on task as well. For example, if your child has a paper due the next day, their time on Twitter and FaceBook can be restricted to five minutes per hour.
This feature allows both adults and teenagers to be human; we can partake in a little goof off time, but not enough to lose sight of the big picture. The stern powers of LeechBlock, like WriteRoom and Dark Room, can be avoided by simply opening up another browser, but you can avoid doing that, right?
There’s one piece of MAC software that doesn’t think people can avoid opening a new browser, which is why it takes this type of software a step further. According to their website, MAC’s Freedom software can disable all networking on an Apple computer for up to eight hours. Your session doesn’t have to be quite that intense, but just think of all the work you’d get done.
Freedom can block each and every networking function on your MAC for a pre-determined amount of minutes. That means once it’s been set, you don’t have access to the Internet, instant messaging, or e-mail. To make things even more inconvenient, the only way to undo Freedom’s block before the time runs out is by restarting your computer.
It seems kind of ironic to name something “Freedom” even though it has such strict and rigid confines, but the software itself will surely prove to be useful to any MAC user who’s finding it difficult to focus as the Internet beckons. If you’re a PC user and you have the same problem, you might want to try any one of these software applications, or try combining a couple. Hey, it couldn’t hurt.
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