As I write this blog entry I have the following open: our checkout software, an Excel spreadsheet, a browser with 5 tabs open, and two Word documents. This is far more than the human brain can deal with at a time (at least this human brain) but we often overload ourselves in the name of multi-tasking. Luckily, there are oodles of tools you can add to your browser to help up your productivity. Today I will feature two such tools.
Limit the number of tabs open at once
Both Firefox and Chrome allow you to download tools that will keep you from going “tab wild.” No More Tabs (for Chrome) and Window and Tab Limiter (for Firefox) allow you to set your tab limit and keep you to that limit. Both tools do what they’re meant to do and are easy to download and edit. My only complaint is that rather than just letting you know you’re about to go over your limit, the add-on automatically closes a tab without giving you a warning. I can see the logic in that (since I was probably ignoring that first tab anyway) but I would prefer getting a chance to choose what to close. Still a pretty useful tool if you find your web-surfing has taken you far afield.
Let your browser restrict your surfing time
Leechblock (for Firefox) and StayFocusd (for Chrome) keep you on task by keeping you away from time-wasting sites during designated productive times of the day. Have a problem checking the Library’s Facebook page constantly? Love the adorableness of Cute Boys with Cats? Can’t stop searching for yourself on Google? Let your browser play time police! The onus will still be on users to define their forbidden sites and decide when those sites are off limits but after that initial setup you can kiss your (predetermined) distractions goodbye! Pretty neat, huh?
What other tools do you find useful for eliminating distractions and staying focused? Share them in the comments section!
P.S. You may have noticed that I didn’t provide any tools for Internet Explorer. That is partly because of a personal bias against it but we’ll have to save that discussion for another day.