Tech Tip: Escape the Web and Get Things Done

Tech Tip: Escape the Web and Get Things Done

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Q. I’m going to take up the NaNoWriMo challenge, but am worried about giving in to internet distractions and not finishing the novel by the end of November. I only need discipline for a month, so what free or cheap software would work to temporarily lock me out of the Facebook and other time-sapping sites?

Free or inexpensive programs like Cold Turkey for the Mac can remove temptation by temporarily shutting down your time-wasting browsing habits.

Credit
The New York Times

A. Along with generally cooler temperatures and the traditional start of the holiday eating season, November also brings the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) creativity contest. For those who have not heard of it, NaNoWriMo participants sign up on the event’s website and in 30 days, try to complete a 50,000-word novel — about the length of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” This means completing an average of 1,667 words a day to finish the novel by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30, so time-wasting distractions can really derail productivity.

If you want to cut out the temptation to fiddle about on social media, one free approach is to just unplug your home network router during your writing session. If howls from other family members prevent you from doing that — and just disabling the Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection on your own computer is not enough to keep you offline — you have plenty of voluntary lockout software to choose from.

Subscription services like Freedom ($7 a month) or FocusMe ($9 a month) let you block apps and websites on Windows and Mac systems on a scheduled basis. Your web browser may also support free or cheap add-on programs for blocking those tempting websites. StayFocusd for Google Chrome and LeechBlock for Firefox are two examples. If you have a Mac, SelfControl and Cold Turkey and are two free (or inexpensive) apps for shutting out online distractions; Cold Turkey has Windows and Android versions as well. Focal Filter is another option for Windows systems.

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