This New York Times piece is all about the software (some free, some not) that helps those of us who work on computers get back to work…at least theoretically.
I wrote a little about WriteRoom in another blog post (this is the handy software that gives you, literally, nothing but a blank page — which, while distraction-free, might cause serious angst, if not terror, for many writers).
But I also like some of the other ideas presented here, particularly RescueTime, which tracks your computer habits (i.e., how much time you spend on Facebook and Twitter), and then reports back to you. The author of this article, Farhad Manjoo, “learned, for instance, that during a typical month I spend more than 70 hours surfing the Web, much of it on news and social-networking sites. By comparison, I spend only about half as much time in Microsoft Word, which, as a writer, is where I do my work.” (I am not at all tempted to try this for myself — results would be too frightening.)
LeechBlock sounds good though — this is a free add-on for Firefox “whose main function is to save you from yourself,” Manjoo writes. It blocks access to any web site you ask it to, and it’s flexible enough that you can allow yourself to log into Facebook or a news site for five minutes every hour — then it’ll force you to get back to work.
While there are always ways around even these handy tricks (you can always restart your computer or open a new browser), it’s the emotional impact that seems to work. As Manjoo writes, “Sometimes a little shame is all you need.”
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Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Mercy Corps, Doctors without Borders, Coffee Kids, Northwest Harvest, Treehouse for Kids, Angeline's Day Shelter for...