Most of us need the Internet to get things done. We browse it to finish our school assignments or we use the Internet to perform work tasks. Even some of our household tasks from shopping for groceries and finding a plumber take place online. But the Internet is not just a source of knowledge – it’s also an entertaining place with online games, social media and other such attractions and distractions to keep us busy. Most of the time, you go online to get something important done, only to find yourself looking at cat videos on YouTube.
It would be great to have some kind of tool to help you stay focused when browsing the web. You could actually get things done much quicker, stay more productive and have more free time to spend doing fun things online. Such a tool is not wishful thinking, as there are great time management apps and extensions you could be using online.
Here are 10 apps and extension you must start using and become more productive when you’re spending time on the Internet.
You can find a lot of help to staying productive online with StayFocused. The Chrome extension will allow you to limit your access to websites you think might harm your productiveness. You can add pages like Facebook or blogs you love to read on the ‘banned’ list and have the extension to stop you from visiting these.
With StayFocused, you are able to set a specific time you wish to stop yourself from going on the sites. For example, if you want to focus on writing your report in the next two hours, you can block access to social media for those two hours. It’s even possible to set a maximum daily allowance on a specific site. When the time is up, you won’t be able to visit the site on that day. It’s a good way of limiting your overall social media use. For example, try starting with an hour for each social media site you love to use. You’ll quickly notice your productivity goes up and you waste less time on these sites.
RescueTime is among the most popular time management apps in the market. The great thing about the app is that you can use it on your desktop but also install it on your mobile browser. The free version of the app will help you track the time you spend online. You will see exactly how much time you are spending on any given site or even web application.
You’re not just able to see the time you waste on any given site. You can also set goals on how long or little time you wish to actually spend on the site. This can be a helpful tool in monitoring your time online. You’ll then be able to receive alerts as you’re getting close to spending your desired limit. If you want, you can use RescueTime to block certain websites to ensure you don’t suddenly find yourself wasting time on a specific site.
If spending too much time on your mobile phone is the problem, Forest will come to the rescue. The premium app is available for iOS, Android and Windows phones and devices. There is also an extension for Chrome and Firefox if you want to take your forestry to the desktop as well.
How does Forest work? The idea is simple: you plant a tree when you want to work. When you are working, your tree will continue to grow and soon you might have a lot of trees. But as soon as you leave the app and therefore, stop working, the tree will die. It sounds simple and perhaps slightly odd but it works like a charm.
4. Cold Turkey
The desktop extension for Internet browser comes with plenty of features that will help you stay productive. With Cold Turkey, you are able to set custom groups of rules for specific occasions (such as weekend work, busy schedule and so on). You can also have a maximum block period or a specific timed period for sites you’re not allowed to visit. The extension even has the ability to schedule your day. This means you can set timers and blocks for specific times of the day, as well as allow yourself to have a break from being blocked by certain sites. The tool is convenient and extensive for people who need more help with their browser use.
For something simple and visual, the Chrome extension Trackr is a good pick. The web browser extension will track how much time you spend on a given website and then displays the information to you on a beautiful pie chart. It’s a great visual tool for understanding just how you spend your time online.
Now, one of the best parts about this tool is the fact that it doesn’t track any of the time you passively spend on a given site. So, if you like to have a lot of tabs open, Trackr will only track time on the site you are currently viewing or operating on. It detects the mouse movement and other actions on the site to determine whether you are actually using it or not. This does give a much more realistic view on the time you spend browsing different sites and ensures you don’t have to close tabs just to avoid them adding to your total.
If you are not afraid to pay a bit of extra, you could pick Freedom. The particular time management app has everything you could wish for. You can run it on Max OS X, iOS and Windows. It can block any apps or websites you want and you’ll be able to schedule ‘freedom’ sessions where access to all sites and apps is granted. The app has a great design and the user interface is super easy to use. You can test the app for free before signing up with the paid subscription.
For mobile addicts, BreakFree is one of the best apps to get. The app is available for free for iOS and Android phones and it helps you understand your mobile addiction better. The app monitors your phone use and recognises when you are spending too much time on a single app. When it does this, it will notify you with an alert to stop spending less time on it. The app calculates an addiction score for each of your apps, which it uses to identify the problem apps. Just remember that the app will require you to have the Location Services to be turned on.
8.Task Till Dawn
Task Till Dawn is time management with a difference. With the help of the app, you can automate certain tasks and make it easier to get things done throughout the day. The app can be used for things such as opening folders or programs. You can use it to run a malware scanner at the most convenient time (while you have lunch, for example) and to do your daily backup. You can also execute it to do other things, such as open your media player or close a Word-file. It’s rather funky and it could help your time management by making you spend more time on being productive rather than doing essential but non-productive tasks.
If you are a Mac user, you should try the free-to-use SelfControl app. The app is super effective because you don’t have any way of bypassing it – even if you restart your computer. The app works by allowing you to limit your access on your chosen websites, mail servers or applications. You add the site and then choose the specific time limit you want to keep yourself away from this site. You will then be completely blocked from the site for the duration. As mentioned, you can’t bypass the system so be sure you really don’t want to visit that site.
Moment is another good iPhone app for those addicted to their phone. The free app will help you break the cycle of constantly looking at your phone and therefore, wasting time while you should be working.
With Moment, you are able to see how much time you are spending on the phone and set an alert that tells you to stop using the phone after a certain amount of time has passed. So, if you don’t want to spend more than 5-minutes on the phone, the app will tell you to get off. You can also use it to check which apps take the most of your time and get a better idea of what is causing you to waste the most time.
For extra time management and productivity, check out Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. You can find such useful books online through VoucherBin and get tons of helpful tips for stress-proofing your life in general. It’s a great addition to the above time management apps.