The Christmas holidays are fast approaching, and while you’re trying to hunker down and get your work finished off for the year, you’ve got to negotiate a shiny obstacle course of end of year lists, office parties, tempting online shopping offers and general festive distractions. Here’s some of our favourite resources to help keep you on the straight and narrow this holiday season.
It’s easy to get addicted to a particular website. Whether you find it difficult to stay off Facebook, or impossible not to check the latest lists on Buzzfeed, website addiction is a major bane for your working life. Luckily there are a lot of apps out there that can help wean you away from these distractions during working hours. Our favourite is KeepMeOut - where you simply type in your problem URL and you’ll automatically get a warning if you visit it too often.
One of the worst things about distractions is the fact that you know you’re being distracted by them. And that’s where the Pomodoro technique is so useful. It essentially acts as a virtual stopwatch, reminding you to concentrate on the things you should be doing rather than those you shouldn’t. Install it on your desktop, set it for 25 minutes and - as long as you hear the timer going - you know that’s when you should be concentrating on your work. Simple but effective.
Sometimes the best way to cut out distractions is to simplify the way you work. For example, do you write for a living? Then why not use an app like WriteRoom (Mac) or Dark Room (Windows) which blanks out everything on your screen except for the text you’re writing? Or, if you’re doing a specific task, you could use Concentrate to block other apps that you don’t need for that task.
In extreme cases of distraction, you may even want to consider unplugging from the internet altogether. An app like Freedom - which completely cuts your computer’s access to the internet for up to 8 hours at a time - is a severe but effective way of focussing you on your tasks if you find yourself unable to resists the lure of your browser icon. If your work is web-based, there’s also SelfControl, which restricts access to a specified set of websites on your “blacklist”.
We’ve pulled together a distraction-killing apps list on Best Vendor - check it out for even more apps!
So how do you avoid distraction when you’re working? Let us know if there’s an awesome app or personal technique that you’re using which we’ve missed by leaving a comment or hitting us up in the comments or on Twitter. And have a great weekend!