5 Simple Website Blockers for Studying and Increasing Productivity
Need a simple website blocker for studying, working or even for your employees?
Join the club.
If you think you’re the only one struggling with productivity issues, just take a look at the last Facebook status posted, the last tweet tweeted or the last story posted on Snapchat from all of your friends.
It was probably posted less than 3 minutes ago! Don’t you think they have more important things to be doing, too? Probably so.
If that doesn’t do the trick, take a look at this news report that reviews a couple of studies talking about the impact internet distractions have not only on students, but on most of the general population as well.
Fortunately, for us, even with all of the distractions, apps and productivity killers that appear to hypnotize us to stay tuned into them … there are almost just as many designed to help you keep away and stay productive.
With students and employers realizing these distractions are becoming more and more of a problem every single day, simple website blockers and apps are getting to be pretty popular, very quickly.
So, let’s talk about, well … the most talked about websites and apps out there made to help you or your team stay focused and keep efficiency at a maximum.
The best part? None of them cost more than your morning coffee and a few are even free!
Self-Control is an app designed to be your own personal distraction blocker.
The way it works is pretty uncomplicated: It permits you to add certain websites to your “blacklist” that you want to block and allows you to set a timer … it’s that simple!
For the amount of time you set the timer for, the sites you have blacklisted will be blocked. However, before hitting that “OK” button, you better be sure you have your timer set to a time you’re really committed to because even restarting your computer or deleting the app won’t save you from this one!
The simplicity and self-discipline aspect of this application makes it a fantastic website blocker for studying and accomplishing work more efficiently than ever before.
Platform: Mac Only. Sorry Windows users. We have plenty for you, too, though … just keep reading!
Special features: Self-Control is an open source project. This means you can use the code to create your own custom version of the app or hire someone to program it for you!
The Self-Control app is for your own computer and blocks sites for yourself. If you’re an employer looking to block sites for your team, this one probably isn’t for you.
The application is for Mac users only!
StayFocusd is an extension for Google Chrome users, making it super easy to install. And, it doesn’t take up much extra space on your computer.
It actually works in a different way than most internet blockers do: Instead of putting certain sites you can’t access on a list, you actually put how long you can access certain sites. For example, if you don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes on Facebook that day, you type that into the StayFocusd extension. After 30 minutes spent on Facebook, it will cut you off, forcing you to fend for yourself and overcome the dreaded withdrawal symptoms.
This can be done with unlimited amounts of websites and programs. As long as you type them into the extension, StayFocusd will cut you off when you want. Or, at least when you thought you wanted … before you started working.
Platform: Any, as long as it supports Google Chrome.
Special features: StayFocusd doesn’t just permit you to block certain sites and applications, but more specific items as well. Subdomains, specific pages and certain pieces of content on a certain site (such as videos, games, pics, etc.) can be blocked without having to block the whole website.
StayFocusd is exclusively for the Chrome browser.
StayFocusd is another “self-discipline” tool. It’s made for your own computer. This is a problem if you’re looking for a web blocker for teams or employees.
FocusBooster isn’t exactly a website blocker, but it’s quite similar in the way it helps boost productivity:
FocusBooster works by challenging you to focus on a task for 25 minutes at a time and then take a 5-minute break. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique. While the Pomodoro Technique is not a new concept, FocusBooster has definitely revolutionized it and taken it to the next level.
They have turned it into a “Pomodoro Technique meets the to-do list” type of application with the benefit of seeing where most of your time was spent, what you wasted the most time on, when you were most productive and a number of other statistics to help you become the most productive version of yourself.
Platform: Mac and Windows
Special features: FocusBooster features automatic timesheets that tell you where your time went and allows you to pause your timer in a situation where you can’t prevent a distraction.
Price: Free trial. After the trial, multiple plans are available. “Individual” plans are $3 per month; “Professional” plans run $5 per month.
FocusBooster is only partially free. You get a “Professional” plan for 30 days for free with unlimited sessions and no credit card required. After your 30 days is up, if you haven’t subscribed, you’ll roll back to a “Starter” plan. The starter plan allows only 20 sessions per month and a lot fewer features.
The Pomodoro technique used by this app is proven to work in numerous situations, but it isn’t for everyone. It’s the definition of “hit-or-miss.”
LeechBlock is another extension, except this one is for Mozilla Firefox users!
LeechBlock is a great little website blocking tool that works a little differently than Google Chrome’s “StayFocusd” extension (see above).
LeechBlock permits you to set up 6 sets of sites, allowing you a certain time period you want each set of sites blocked. So, if you want Facebook, Twitter and YouTube blocked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but only want Buzzfeed and a few other news sites blocked from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., you can do that all from one place at one time. Pretty cool!
Platform: Any platform as long as the user is using the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
Special features: LeechBlock is one of the few web blockers that allows you to have multiple sets of sites and have each set of sites blocked for certain amounts of time, separately.
LeechBlock is only for users that use the Mozilla Firefox web browser.
With all of the different sets of sites, options and timeframes for each, LeechBlock can get somewhat confusing. This makes it not so user-friendly for those who aren’t highly tech-savvy and may not make it the best website blocker for studying due to its lack of simplicity.
FocusMe is essentially a productivity powerhouse. It has been featured by many of the internet’s biggest sites associated with productivity and technology such as The New York Times, NPR.org, InsideHigherEd, Entrepreneur, TechRepublic, alternativeTo and more.
FocusMe isn’t just a website blocker. It’s a time tracker, comes with a timer for the Pomodoro Technique (discussed above), allows you to set schedules for blocking and other items weeks in advance, provides actual support, unlike the others … and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
FocusMe is like all of the features from the tools above, packaged into one bundle. This alone makes it, by far, the best website blocker for studying and workplace productivity.
Platform: Windows and Mac
Special features: FocusMe has almost any feature needed for productivity for you AND your team. Time tracking software, web blocks, scheduled settings, custom themes and reports, graphs for quick reading and visual representations and more.
What’s the fuss about the Pomodoro Technique?
You name it and they probably have it, including the ability to install your plan on multiple computers, allowing you to manage teams as well, if necessary.
Price: FocusMe has a 14 day Free Trial and has different pricing plans, all of which come with a 60-day money-back guarantee:
Monthly – $9/month
Lifetime – $119/lifetime
If you are a student you can also save 30% on any plan! Even with the monthly pricing plan, that’s only 16 cents per day! If you aren’t willing to spend 16 cents on you being as efficient as possible and having every possible productivity tool at your fingertips, then you probably aren’t serious about your productivity.
The only negative that can really be noted with FocusMe is that it isn’t completely free, such as a few of the others. When it comes to productivity and working toward your future, though, never underestimate the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” It holds true in most cases, with this case being no exception.
No matter what tools or applications you decide to use in your mission to reach the most productive version of yourself, know that you’re already ahead of most people by simply wanting to improve!
However, to get the results to match your drive, you will find that tools like these are true game-changers, that will shift the way you work for a long time to come.
Take a look at a few of these tools, figure out which one is best for you and go crush your goals!