Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Resolution: Making Better Use of Time

As we were driving back from our Christmas vacation in Virginia, Olivia was sleeping, my husband Bryan was driving, and I was brainstorming ideas for what I might write about this week by way of a series all about New Years resolutions.  I had already listed all two of my awesome ideas and then Bryan suggested a post on "How not to waste time online."  As it's something he has recently mastered (and I am nowhere near being good at), I talked him into gracing us all with a little guest post today.

My cute little niece "taking pictures" on the Viewfinder, Bryan working on a portrait of his little brother, and me... uhh... making really good use of time on my computer.  Heh heh...

As a quick intro, Bryan--aside from being Olivia's dad and my wonderful husband--is a full time optometry student.  And--ahem--he gets all A's and B's.  So this is the guy you want to take advice from when it comes to making good use of your time.  And so I give you... Bryan!


I get easily distracted online. This is one of my great (and only?) flaws. Wasting time online isn't usually a problem for me, except that I'm in school right now and sometimes it's hard to control myself when I should be studying. It's easy to rationalize by saying things like, "Oh man, I've worked really hard on this project for about 4 minutes, and now I deserve a little break." And then 37 minutes later you realize that you've been reading about the weather patterns of Singapore on Wikipedia.

After trying time and time again to not look at Boing Boing or Reddit or Google News or just plain old Wikipedia, I realized that drastic measures needed to be taken.

I use Google Chrome as my browser. (This is relevant. Seriously, who uses Internet Explorer still?) I was looking on the Chrome Web Store for something that can block certain websites for a time, and I found StayFocusd.

StayFocusd is a free program that runs in the Google Chrome browser. When installed there is a little clock in the corner, like this:
You have a lot of options with StayFocusd:

  • You can enter in sites you want to restrict your time on, and there is a timer that runs when you are on those sites. Once the time is up, you can visit those sites again.
  • Or you can set it to block ALL sites except those listed under "Allowed Sites" for a certain amount of time. This is what I usually do because I can always find sites I would rather visit than study. Sometimes staring at the patterns on the wall is more enjoyable than studying.
  • The timer is reset at midnight everyday, but everything about it is customizeable. You can have it only block certain things on weekdays, or only allow you to visit sites during a daily time-window. 
You should try it out. Maybe then you'll be able to leave Facebook, Youtube, Hulu, and all those other fun websites alone and actually get something done. 

Thanks for your help Bry!  Now I'm off to play more spider solitaire.  Err.  I mean be really productive.

If you'd like to read more of what Bryan writes, you can visit his blog, Bryan's blog.

Any of you have goals to make better use of your time this year?


Kendra said...

I didn't know Chrome had that feature. Neato. Thanks Bryan!

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Hmmm...nice idea...I'll have to talk to Eric about installing it.