Many of the consumer-facing businesses on the internet are funded with ads. All of them rely on clicks to generate revenue, move units, and grow networks. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this practice, but as more firms master the art of algorithmic persuasion, we find ourselves watching and buying far more than we really desire. Here are a few excellent free tools for fighting the powers of distraction:
This Firefox add-on allows you block distracting websites of your choice. Whenever you try to visit, it presents a page reminding you the site is blocked. This creates a bit of friction, allowing you to build habits of focus.
I just installed this Firefox add-on today, but I can already see how it will drastically reduce the amount of time I spend on YouTube. It blocks the enticing suggestions of related videos on the right side of the page, preventing you from getting sucked into a meaningless content wormhole for hours.
Sometimes the best way to waste less time is to truly understand where it’s being spent. ActivityWatch is an open-source time tracking solution that runs in the background of your computer, tracking how long you spend on each application and website. It generates interactive reports and allows you to export your data for further analysis.