June 15

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Block your apps to eliminate distractions

By Ralph Varcoe

June 15, 2020

productivity hacks

3.11   Block and Tackle

Productivity hack no.40 from '60 Ways to Hurray! by Ralph Varcoe.


If you really don’t have the discipline to stop yourself from casually browsing apps and websites when you have important work to do then there are some useful tools that’ll keep you focused.

This list is not exhaustive and is likely to change over time as new tools become available, but for now, dive in to one of them and stop the distraction of other stuff while you’re on your path to achievement and glory.

  1. Freedom - https://freedom.to - This is a paid for app you download to iOS, Android, Mac or Windows. Once you have it you can run it on multiple devices. There’s also an extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. There’s a free trial version that lets you block a small number of things but the paid version (Premium) is pretty cost effective with an option to pay monthly, annually (significant discount) or lifetime (super significant discount). At the time of writing they were also offering a 30% discount with a pop-up that only appears when you’re quite the way down the page or look like you’re about the exit the page. Freedom can block specific sites, the whole internet, and/or apps. It can be set up on a schedule and will sync between your different devices.
  2. StayFocusd - Here we have one of the many browser extension offerings. It is only available as a Chrome extension and is free. You can search for it by browsing extensions in Chrome. It enables you to set time limits so you can still browse at certain points once the time limits have elapsed. The drawback is that it only sits on your device with Chrome and so there’s nothing stopping a determined time-waster from grabbing their phone to check Facebook, or whatever.

There are plenty of other extensions available for various browsers, though they tend to be biased towards either Chrome or Mac/iOS.

If you’re struggling to stay away from the apps and websites and need a blocker then I highly recommend you go for something like Freedom and pay the money. It’s an investment in you and your goal achievement.

And perhaps, if you’re like me, you’ll think “I’m going to use it even if I don’t like the restrictions it imposes because I paid for it and want to get the maximum benefit from something that cost me money!”

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Ralph Varcoe

About the author

For over 20 years, Ralph has run sales and marketing teams across large enterprises and smaller start-ups, at companies such as Orange, Tata Communications, Virgin Media, Spirit Ai and others. He brings a wealth of experience in personal and professional development with a laser focus on enabling people to achieve more than they thought possible. He's a published author and musician with a passion for creating - be that change, the right solution, exciting campaigns, the right environment for customers to succeed, or podcasts, videos and written content.

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