It’s almost like being a goldfish in a glass tank. It can be easy to lose track of time. There are so many online distractions attacking your eyeballs these days.
Maybe a basic timer can help you escape your screen. Or perhaps you need something more severe like a tool that closes your tabs or won’t let you visit certain sites. These types of browser extensions can help you step away from the screen, when you cannot browse where you want thanks to your wayward whims.
If you need a little extra help to limit your online time and get back to some deep work (or get out of the house for some fun), we have the tools for you.
Set a Simple Timer and Stick to It
Using a timer to limit your online time may seem like a simple idea and it is, but you must stick to it for deep work. Decide how much time you can really spend online or on a specific site with the basic features of these timer extensions.
1. Browsing Timer (Firefox) [No Longer Available]
The Browsing Timer add-on for Firefox is the easiest of tools. Just set the amount of time you want to be online in hours, minutes, and even seconds. Start the timer and when time is up, you will receive a notification.
2. Time Signal (Firefox) [No Longer Available]
Another tool you can use for Firefox is Time Signal. Although it may not be as effective if you are a hardcore web surfer, it still works. You set the times in minutes for your online limit and when it should start warning you. The icon in your toolbar changes color from green to yellow to red to show you when it is time to go.
3. Ultra Timer (Chrome)
If Chrome is your browser of choice, Ultra Timer works great. Set the number of hours, minutes, and seconds for your online time and start the timer. You can receive both a sound alert and desktop notification when time is up.
Schedule Your Tabs
Try a tougher solution if using a timer does not do the trick for you. Give your browser these extensions to schedule your tabs. They will automatically close a tab or switch you to a new one. If you only want to spend a few minutes on a site and then get back to your work or business website, these do the trick.
4. Page Timer (Opera)
Page Timer for Opera can help you control how long you are visiting a site. Just set the timer in hours, minutes, or seconds while you are on the website you want to limit. When time is up, you will see a pop-up message telling you so. It’s that simple.
5. Web Scheduler (Opera)
Another convenient tool for Opera is Web Scheduler. With this extension, you can set the schedule for several websites to open automatically. Just visit a site or enter its URL, select the date and time that it should open, and then choose from once or recurring. When it is time for you to get to work on a certain site, it will pop right open for you.
6. Productivity Owl (Chrome)
For Chrome users, Productivity Owl lets you manage how much time you spend on any site before it closes automatically. And, this extension has other useful features as well. You can add allowed or blocked websites and schedule free time for casual browsing.
See Where You Spend Your Time
If time gets away from you when you are online, why not see where it goes? These handy extensions will show you how much time you spend on the websites you visit. This way, you can make some changes.
7. Web Timer (Chrome) [No Longer Available]
Web Timer for Chrome is a wonderful tool for seeing which sites you visit and for how long. The extension displays a nice pie chart for a quick visual as well as a list of domains and time spent. You can also add a list of sites to ignore, which is convenient for those you need for work.
8. Mind the Time (Firefox)
Mind the Time for Firefox has been around for a while, but with good reason. First, you can decide to log only your time online and not the websites you visit, log all activity, or keep timing activity in case you are watching a video online. The extension provides a summary of your time spent and offers options for reminders and allowable sites.
9. Website Timer (Opera)
Opera also has a good tool for time spent called Website Timer. This extension shows you a pie chart, list of domains, and time spent, just like the Chrome extension. You can also view a log of the previous days online, create a blacklist of domains, and set the history limit.
Block Time Wasters
After you have reviewed where you spend your time and are ready to rejig those times, these extensions can help to plug the leaks. You simply set a schedule to block the sites that waste your time. During work hours, for example, you won’t be tempted by shopping or social media websites.
10. LeechBlock (Firefox) [No Longer Available]
LeechBlock for Firefox is a convenient and full-featured extension to help with your online time limits. You can block specific sites, set a scheduled period, or use a time limit for how long to block them. You can also choose the days of the week, set it for all day, and pick the site to be directed to instead of the blocked ones.
If you use Chrome or Safari, WasteNoTime is the tool for you. Like LeechBlock, you add the sites you want to block, the amount of time per day you can visit those sites, and see the top 10 sites you spent the most time on for the current day. In addition, the extension offers an Instant Lockdown feature which is basically a timer. This will block specific sites or those on a list for a specified amount of time.
12. Focus (Chrome)
One more option that works well for Chrome is called Focus. You simply add the sites you want to block and for how long. Then, click the icon in your toolbar and hit the Focus button. For the length of time you set, you will receive a deterrent message if you visit one of the blocked sites.
Do You Use Online Time Limiting Tools?
Some people have the willpower to stay on track and focus without distractions. But it gets harder all the time, especially if you work online.
Whether a basic timer, tab closer, or site blocker, choose the tool that works best for you. Then, you can get back to business or simply away from the screen.
And if you need some help limiting your child’s online time, check out this great list of tools.
Do you use any of these extensions to limit your online time? Or do you have a different method that works? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Tinatin via Shutterstock.com