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Don’t let social media take over and dictate your life. You’re worth more than that.

At best, you might describe it as a compulsive distraction 6 Tips Prevent Internet Procrastination 6 Tips Prevent Internet Procrastination I am a master of procrastination. Perhaps you are too. There are millions of people who suffer from crippling procrastination and it’s a real drain on productivity and efficiency. The weird thing is, many of... Read More . At worst, it may be a full-blown addiction – a problem that can be symptomatic of deeper issues, such as Internet addiction Take A Break From the Internet - You’ll Thank Yourself Later [Opinion] Take A Break From the Internet - You’ll Thank Yourself Later [Opinion] Oh, the Internet. One of the most world-changing inventions of the past century, perhaps even in all of human history. Never before has everything been so available in so little effort for so low a... Read More , smartphone addiction Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? Are You Addicted To Your Smartphone? At one time, landlines and payphones were all we had--and we survived just fine, thank you very much. But now, it’s almost laughable if you don’t own an iPhone or Android, and for some of... Read More , and more. When you find yourself lacking in digital willpower 4 Ways To Make Smart Use Of Technology And Power Up Your Willpower 4 Ways To Make Smart Use Of Technology And Power Up Your Willpower We all have enough motivation to want to do things but not enough motivation to actually do them. As a result, we turn to technology to bridge the gap of that motivational purgatory. Read More , sometimes the answer is to block the distractions altogether.

Fortunately, you are neither the first nor the only one to suffer from this ailment. Many tools have been developed to combat it and most of them are freely available. Here are some of the better ones that we’ve used.

LeechBlock [Firefox]

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LeechBlock is my bread and butter addon for Firefox. Without it, my productivity would plummet and I would be rendered a mess. If you’re a regular Firefox user and you haven’t tried LeechBlock yet, do yourself a favor and go install it right away. The setup is easy enough and you’ll recover many hours per day that might’ve been wasted away.

With LeechBlock, you can designate up to 6 different sets of websites that are blocked according to various conditions. Which days of the week? During which hours? For how long? Should it repeat? How do you want the sites blocked?

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Each set can be customized, allowing you to block social media during the day, block work sites at night, block porn at all times, etc. You can also block sets on demand rather than waiting for their scheduled times. Check out my LeechBlock review Distracted By Time-Wasting Websites? LeechBlock For Firefox Will Take Care of That Distracted By Time-Wasting Websites? LeechBlock For Firefox Will Take Care of That Read More for a deeper look at this essential addon.

StayFocusd [Chrome]

block-facebook-stayfocusd

StayFocusd is reminiscent of LeechBlock except that it’s built for Chrome. I don’t know which one came first, but ultimately it doesn’t matter because they both excel at what they’re meant to do. Need to block pesky websites so you can stay focused on your work? This is the extension you want, pronto.

The concept is the same. You maintain a list of blocked sites and you set up conditionals for when those sites are blocked according to days of the week and times of the day. Unlike LeechBlock, you can only maintain one set of sites.

You can set a “Max Time Allowed” setting that lets you browse blocked sites for X minutes every day. For example, if you block YouTube but set this option to 30 minutes, you can browse 30 minutes of YouTube on days when YouTube is blocked. Check out Aaron’s review of StayFocusd Stay Focused With StayFocusd For Google Chrome And Say Goodbye To Distractions Stay Focused With StayFocusd For Google Chrome And Say Goodbye To Distractions The Internet is a vast place, with loads of information that can often be overwhelming. It would be an understatement to say that it’s the primary resource for research and getting work done. But don’t... Read More for a deeper look at more features.

ColdTurkey [Windows]

block-facebook-coldturkey

To quit something “cold turkey” means to give it up abruptly and all at once. As such, Cold Turkey is an aptly named program. Like LeechBlock and StayFocusd, it cuts off access to whatever sites you’ve blocked, but it’s a desktop program that’s far more powerful than either of those two browser plugins.

Cold Turkey blocks websites at the computer level rather than the browser level. This means that you won’t be able to access said sites with ANY browser, but furthermore, you won’t be able to access certain sites through other programs like video games (e.g. Steam). In addition to blocking sites, Cold Turkey can block entire programs from running.

Advanced computer gurus may be able to get around Cold Turkey’s restrictions, but it’s strong enough to deter most users. It can’t be stopped using the system tray or the task manager, nor can it be disabled by uninstalling it while active.

xMinutesAt [Website]

block-facebook-xminutesat

When your willpower is good, but not good enough, xMinutesAt is the website that’ll help you bridge the gap. Let’s say you have an itch to browse your favorite forums, but you know that you’ll get carried away for hours without realizing it. Sounds familiar, right?

With xMinutesAt, you can spend “X minutes at” a certain website before it will tell you that time’s up. That reminder might be all it takes for you to snap out of it, close the tab, and get back to work. Using the site is easy, too. All you have to do is enter how long you want your grace period to be followed by the site’s URL.

Or you can drag the bookmarklet onto your browser’s bookmark bar, allowing you to quickly set up a time limit for the current page you’re on. For directions on that, check the xMinutesAt site.

If these solutions aren’t enough, perhaps you’d fare better with a router-based website blocker How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites How to Really Block Time-Wasting Websites Finding yourself unproductive because of distracting sites? Block them. No, seriously: block them. If you've got work to get done, and you can't focus because the Internet is too fascinating, make it impossible for your... Read More ?

Do you use any tools to help block distracting, time-wasting websites? If so, which ones? It would be helpful for all of us if you shared, especially if your favorite tools aren’t well-known by the public. Post a comment down below!

  1. David
    December 5, 2016 at 5:47 am

    Look, the fact of the matter is, as a person with limited self-control, if I can't get Facebook in my desktop's Chrome browser, I'll start up Firefox, if not Firefox, then Edge. If I've managed to block Facebook entirely on my desktop and all browsers, I'll use the FB app on my iPhone; and if I've managed to block that, there's always my old Android Galaxy Tab. Is there any chance of someone coming out with an all-encompassing solution -- one that could block (or, preferably, limit the time on) Facebook on all platforms?

    Actually, the only effective way I see of doing this is through Facebook itself, and the point of convergence for all these means of access -- the user's login. Facebook would have to be able to monetize it, so perhaps as a premium service(!), users could pay Mr. Zuckerberg for the privilege of NOT being able to access their accounts for X number of hours per day. Whaddya think, Mark?

  2. George
    November 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

    I understand and respect how no one in a workplace you kill time using personal Facebook and Twitter, agreed... but going cold turkey? That's a little harsh

  3. waqas
    April 17, 2015 at 9:58 am

    mery id k like or coments block ho gaye ha kis tarah theak hon ga plz koi batao

  4. waqas
    April 17, 2015 at 9:57 am

    mery like or coment block ho gaye ha kis tarah theak hon g plz koi batao

  5. CJ Cotter
    July 10, 2014 at 1:02 am

    What a sad, sorry, miserable lot we are, when we have to install software to do what we have no willpower to do ourselves. Bunch 'a wimps. I shake my head in disgust as I write this. Can't say I'm guiltless, either.

  6. Neil Oldman
    May 29, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I already have a mental block against social media. Never used it, never will. However I do use several tools to block its tracking measures that are increasingly being implemented across several websites. Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. have "indexing" mechanisms and other "beacons" that log your web traffic habits even if you're logged out of the site or don't even have an account with them. First of all, I only use Firefox and never Chrome or Safari. (Google gets "market share" from its other services; if you log into a Yahoo mail with Chrome, that's obviously still Google even though you're not using Gmail.) I use the Disconnect suite of add-ons (Google, Twitter and Facebook Disconnect). There's also a separate and unrelated add-on simply called Disconnect that I also use. Besides that I use Adblock Plus, Google Sharing, Yes Script, Do Not Track Me, Ghostery, Google Privacy, Trust-e Tracker Protection, and No Google Analytics.

    I block the major search engines with the programs PeerBlock (and its "Search Engine" blocklist) and the keyword-based filtering software DNSKong. I don't visit any of Google's websites, including GMail, and of course I don't bother with stupid Facebook or Twitter (I couldn't care less what Lady Gaga is doing in the toilet at any particular moment). I don't even watch YouTube because again, I don't care. For search I only use IxQuick, based in the privacy-conscious Netherlands. Then, when money is a bit less tight, I'm going to invest in a VPN subscription to one of the services listed on the Torrent Freak article "Which VPN Providers Really Take Your Privacy Seriously, 2014 Edition." (Can't post links in comments. You'll have to "IxQuick" it.)

    Mind you, Google is a bit trickier to avoid than the other dumb cat-video or celebrity TMI sites like Twitter and Facebook (or the insufferable "hipster" 'zines, Tumbler and Instagram), but not impossible. Sometimes killing the tracker beacons breaks some websites; so does blocking Google's custom font graphics (makes the display revert to Arial or Liberation Sans or Helvetica or whatever the default fonts are). You can still read the text by going to "PrintFriendly" and getting an HTML-only version (of course, you can't comment on it, but who really cares about side-boob on Huffington Post). Otherwise, it's really not a big problem to avoid social media (and the dimwits who use it) if that's what you were intent on doing anyway. Where there's a will, there's always a way. There's even a way if your wont is to "won't"!

  7. Rob
    May 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Do you know of anything like this but for iOS? That would be a god-send to me!

  8. Omar A
    May 19, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I use chrome extension "Be Limitless!", which shows a timer of how much time spent on each website and informs of your productivity each day, it has some other cool features too

  9. Time Man
    May 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    http://www.macfreedom.com lets you turn off your internet connection for up to 8 hours. Love it!

  10. rob
    May 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    how do you block outlook side ads that are forced on you?

  11. Chris
    May 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I've tried a lot of these and stuck with the chrome extension "Strict Workflow". Really lightweight and unobtrusive.

    • Angela A
      June 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks - sounds cool!

    • Drew Crawford
      July 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      an unobtrusive extension that doesn't slow down the Chrome broser well it's worth a shot! running miinimal amount of extensions certainly make a difference in a faster browser, when there's a laptop application that can do the same job, clearly in the background and in most cases a free version of a desktop equal isn't going to do the job.
      Lightweight and unobtrusive,..It's worth a shot! Thanks!

    • Drew Crawford
      July 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Thank you! makeuseof is the most useful and helpful site for everyone, "from dummies to techies" well done y'all

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