Services like Instapaper and Boxee offer free bookmarklets for saving articles and videos, respectively. It doesn’t matter what browser you use; all you need to do is click a bookmark and would-be distractions are sent to a place where you can access them later. Heck, even if those two services don’t work for you, a simple bookmark can do the same job.
The technology here is cool, but the most important thing is discipline. That’s why a simple bookmark folder can effectively accomplish the same goal. Contain your distractions; get more done.
Instapaper is a simple web app, but a good one. All it does is take articles you find from around the web, remove the various formatting/advertisements that surround them, and save them in an playlist for you to read later.
Find the “Read Later” bookmarket on. Drag it to your desktop, and you’re ready to save articles for later.
Instapaper is an ideal place to save articles for reading later for a variety of reasons. There are iPhone and iPad apps for reading on the go, and it’s even possible to read Instapaper on any e-book reader. Try it out and see if it improves your workflow!
Watch It Later
Articles are somewhat distracting, but videos are an even bigger problem. Capable of eating enormous amounts of time, online video is definitely best left for after work hours. Boxee can help with this.
Boxee is among the best media center applications on the planet, but it can also help with your workflow. Sign up for a Boxee account, head to the services page and you’ll find a bookmarklet to drag to your bookmarks toolbar. Click this when you find a video and it will be sent to your Boxee queue.
This is not only a great way to save your videos for later; it’s also a great way to share videos you find online with friends and family. Since Boxee is best on a television, sending videos to Boxee is a great way to watch them in a group. Try this out; you’ll probably love it.
Like the idea of saving distractions for later, but don’t have any interest in using Boxee or Instapaper? Don’t worry. Simply set aside a folder in your browsers bookmarks for reading and watching stuff later. It may not be as snazzy as the above options, but the end-game is just as successful: your distractions are put aside but not forgotten.
Combine this strategy with a good bookmarking service, such as the (not dead!) XMarks, and you’re ready to send your distractions home where they belong.
This list is by no means definitive; it’s just meant to point out that distractions are best left until after work is done, and that there are tools out there that can help. Do you know of any other ways to achieve this? Share them in the comments below. Also feel free to share amazingly distracting videos and articles; I’ll take a look at them after work.