When working from home it is easy to fall prey to the many distractions that the internet and social media puts in our way.
As much as we like to think we have our routine pegged down and self-control in abundance it is easy to instantly react to that Facebook notification or that WhatsApp message. And Twitter is another thing altogether. As you know, once you succumbed it’s down the rabbit hole to ‘where did the morning go?’.
Studies show that every time you check email, a social feed, or respond to a notification, your mind requires 23 minutes of re-focus time to get back on task. While multitasking has been shown to be a bit of a failure, losing us up to 40% of our productivity.
Technology is on hand to help stiffen your resolve and help you focus on the task in hand. Here are a few apps that you can use to keep you focussed on the job at hand.
I just need a little help to focus
Some of you might have heard of “The Pomodoro technique“. You use a timer to break your work into intervals, usually 25 minutes, separated by short breaks. You can use just a normal timer or one of the many Pomodoro apps available such as Focus To-Do.
Need a bit more? Then take a look at Brain.fm a scientific approach to producing music that helps you focus.
If you want a gentle prompt when you are tempted to stray to certain websites then the free Chrome plugin Mindful Browsing could be for you. Just set the sites you don’t want to visit and you’ll be asked if you are sure and wouldn’t rather do something else.
Keep me on the straight and narrow
Hocus Focus for the Mac might help here. Hocus Focus automatically hides application windows that have been inactive for a certain period of time, leaving only the applications you’re using visible. It’s a great way to keep your screens clutter free and your mind focused on the task at hand.
No matter what system you are using (Chrome, Firefox, iOS, macOS, Opera, Windows) take a look at Freedom To and lockdown any website or app, or even the whole internet if you want. Turn this on and you can have it block things on all your devices.
Just lock me down and throw away the key
Take a gander at Cold Turkey this will enable you to schedule blocks and, unless you turn off the lock feature, won’t let you break the block.
If you are running MacOS and like to be treated harshly then SelfControl is a free app that might be for you. Set the sites you want to prevent from looking at, set how long you want to be banned, and click start. This is a no holds barred low-level app. You can’t cancel it, even by rebooting!
Now, I just need a timlock on the biscuit cupboard.