Some days you just don’t feel it. There is a certain point where you have played Solitaire for six solid hours in between checking your Facebook and Twitter that you just know you aren’t going to be productive that day. Which is a problem, because a single day of missed work can be enough to really screw you over the rest of the week, or require a weekend to make it up. But lazy days are hard to fight, especially if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or you have been overworked.
There are some fantastic addons for Firefox (with equivalents in IE and Chrome, as well as other browsers) that can help to force your brain under control when it wants to wander. They are productivity tools, and whether they block web pages that are notorious time wasters from use during certain times in the day, limit how much you can play around before it reminds you to get back to work, or just shows you a rundown of what it is you have been doing all week, you can benefit from them.
You may even start to wonder how it is you managed to get anything done before installing them. Or, you will if you are half as lazy and easily distracted as I am.
This thorough application works by downloading a discreet, small application onto your desktop and using it to transmit a small amount of data (which can be customized) onto their website. From there you can access a secure profile showing graphs of how you spend your time. Great at sorting relevant versus irrelevant websites, as well as allowing you to set the time parameters for it to be monitored, this is a simple way to get an overlook of your productivity. They give you weekly reports to your email, which will let you see where you need to make improvements.
One of my personal favorites, this is an easily customizable website blocker that allows you to put in the websites you waste the most time on, and then set what times you won’t be able to access them. You can also set the amount of time per day you are allowed to visit them, and it will cut you off after a certain amount of time per hour, per few hours or per day. When you are blocked from a site it brings up a page asking if you shouldn’t be working, which is enough to jar you back into focus. It lacks a nuclear option that you can find with other blockers, but it works just fine.
There is nothing more annoying than going to a page and having a brightly colored, flashing, noisy ad suddenly pop up. It is startling, can break your concentration and in some cases distract those around you. The best thing you can do is avoid them, but few block programs have managed to keeps ads at bay without them adapting. This one doesn’t override the ad itself, but instead puts a Play button on it and keeps it immobile unless you turn it on. It will do that with all media, including Youtube videos.
Researchers and students are especially fond of this one. You can save web URL’s, web pages or small snippets of pages, which are then placed into a collection similar to a Bookmarks system. That can be accessed from the extension itself, and easily searched. It is a convenient way to keep information together, especially if you have to provide source material for a project. Or, you can just enjoy the benefits of keeping everything in one place, making different collections for different tasks.
Another favorite of mine, this one works by allowing you to put digital pins of sorts into articles, webpages or anything else and save it to a separate folder, which can then be browsed later. If you find yourself tempted to waste time on a humor site, or reading the news during work hours, you can just save it for later in a place that is easier to keep it all together than traditional bookmarks.
I know it is tempting to slack off, but you end up paying for it. Trust me, as a freelancer I know that well. Try these productivity tools to help keep you on track, and you should find it easier to remain focused in the future.