Block time-consuming websites and applications (Practical Productivity tip #3)

By | August 17, 2015

Working for yourself (not for clients) at home, has it’s disadvantages. It requires A LOT of discipline, because you can ‘choose’ to get distracted and watch YouTube for hours on end, or choose to get some work done; for instance, writing new articles for your website. Because you don’t work for a boss, nobody is really going to care if you’re not productive. Wasting your time rather than working also doesn’t have a lot of consequence; you’re not going to fire yourself for not being productive.

Going with the choice that requires the most effort, like writing new articles for your website rather than watching YouTube, will costs willpower. Willpower comes in a limited supply, so if you have to try hard to keep yourself in line, you’ll quickly drain your willpower. This is a scientifically proven concept. Here is a short article on Wired.com explaining that concept.

Turns out that, if there’s less choice, it also costs less willpower to make the productive choice.

Good!

Now, all that’s left to do is completely remove distractions; the unproductive choices. In my previous installment of this series, I talked about using a different PC account. One of the reasons was to avoid distractions.

However, just using a different PC account doesnt’t remove the worst distractions in this day and age; social media. Because social media is required to run a successful online business however, access to it shouldn’t be completely blocked 24/7.

Luckily, there are software solutions to do just that. The best option I’ve found is a program called ‘Cold Turkey‘. The free version of this software will block your websites of choice on ALL of your browsers, and ALL of your PC accounts on the PC you install it on. Once it’s set up, it’s really hard to remove.

However, I recommend using the paid version, as it allows you to schedule block times, so you can give yourself a few breaks from the block. This means you’ll be able to communicate with your audience on social media, or just goof off for a while, and for instance, watch some funny YouTube videos. The paid version also allows you to block unproductive applications, like your video games.

cold-turkey-scheduler

The Cold Turkey scheduler. I’ve got it set up to cut me some slack on Sunday, and have two blocks of two hours a day that are completely unblocked.

The paid version is $14,99 for a lifetime license. Turns out these are Canadian dollars (CAD), so it was actually cheaper than I expected it to be. If you value your productive hours at all, this is completely worth the small monetary investment.

Please note that I’m not affiliated with Cold Turkey in any way, I just really like what it has done for my productivity so far.

 

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