QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Monday, February 9, 2015

Writer Productivity Tip: StayFocusd

This is a continuation on our series on tips to make the writing process and your writing career more organized, less stressful, and more effective.

If you leave me in my natural habitat, I'm the type of person who will reward herself for a hard day of procrastinating by spending a few minutes on Pinterest. Or Facebook. Or watching reality TV on Hulu. On my good days, I'll reward myself for writing for five minutes by taking a twenty-five minute break. Or check Facebook every five minutes because maybe something happened!

I would hazard a guess that a lot of people are this way. The problem, of course, is that nothing ever gets done with this mindset, and most of us are very very busy. What we really need to do is stay focused.

Enter Google Chrome. Chrome is a browser that allows for a lot of different plugins, but I really only use one: StayFocusd.

This plugin blocks some or all of the Internet with settings that you can specify. If you break them and try to check Facebook anyway? You get this:

Yes, Chrome. I should. Thanks.

My favorite part about the extension is that it works in multiple ways. For the "normal" setting, you choose which hours the extension is activated, how many minutes you can check the sites before they are blocked, and which sites are blocked. Here are mine:

The other setting StayFocusd has is "The Nuclear Option." This one comes with a bunch of warnings, and for good reason. You can basically turn off the entire Internet, or most of it. I use this setting often in dire situations. (I would use it less if I got myself into fewer dire situations...) My "allowed sites" are few. My email, Google Drive, and a few websites I need for work. The rest of the time, for however many hours I specify, I'm not allowed on the Internet at all.

What I like best about using an extension instead of turning off the Internet is that it doesn't affect things like Spotify, which helps me focus as well, or my husband, who might have choice words with me if I turned off the Internet for the evening.

Similar apps exist for Firefox, Safari, and all browsers (so you can't cheat).

How about you? What helps you stay motivated when your own willpower fails?

The Rafflecopter Giveaway is now open! Enter now!


Pat Kahn's Childsplay said...

Excellent suggestions! Thanks!

Ryan said...

I totally need that chrome extension!

Diane Kress Hower said...

Thanks for the great post and the giveaway!

Cadence said...

Never knew that extension was available. I'll be using it soon.

Rochelle Deans said...

You're welcome, everyone! Let me know if you end up using the extension. It's been a productivity life-saver for me.

My Other Clone said...

Okay, downloaded for Chrome and set it up. I'll really have to make my timewasting count!

Justin said...

Big fan of StayFocusd, especially the nuclear option. Keep for spreading the word!