30 Day Challenge - Limiting Access to Time-Sucking Web Sites

In this article I'm describing two simple techniques how to block or limit your time spent on time-sucking websites in order to increase your overall productivity. I'm challenging myself for the next 30 days to limit my access social networks.

I love challenges, the whole idea behind this blog has been built and inspired by different kind of challenges, I guess I wouldn't achieve about 50.000 monthly visitors to this blog, if at the start of this blogs journey I wouldn't challenge my self for a 365 days blogging in a row. I made it a habit, and haven't stopped ever since (it's more than two years already)

I started 365 days photo project a while ago to improve my photographer skills - and now (while being in the middle) I cant anymore take a look on pictures I have taken before - I asked to the most reliable mentor (my dad) what does he thinks of my pre and after pictures and got a very honest answer - the composition is much better, colors are warmer, speaking of the pre photography - he called them a very amateurish. 

You get to the point.

Now it's time to learn how to manage my time better, and one the biggest time eaters for now is the Facebook. Don't get me wrong I love Facebook, it's just a wonderful and very powerful tool making a huge impact on our everyday lives. But lately I have found I'm spending way much time there just by checking status updates, reading news, checking pages I administer there, again checking status updates, news, pages... forth and back game. At the end of day - I feel - whuaha - I haven't done anything much useful today actual. OK, I will do better tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and Facebook tricks me in again.. Well... not always, but yeah - you got to the point.

As a programmer I know one very useful solution for Windows OS users - editing hosts file

Block websites using host file

Open Notepad with administer privileges, open file -> C:/Windows/System32/drivers/etc/hosts and block websites like this:

# localhost name resolution is handled within DNS itself.
#    127.0.0.1       localhost
#    ::1             localhost
127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com

Save the file, restart your browser and Facebook is gone. Of course you can anytime unblock Facebook, but I have found for myself, that once I have added a time sucking site here and when trying to visit it in browser and seeing cannot connect window - I remember, well I blocked that site for a reason, so I don't need to actually visit it.

Thus I must admit, trick with the hosts file will work good with some news site, but speaking about Facebook - well, as I'm actually spending some money there on Facebook Ads for my Facebook fan page - it would be insane to block Facebook permanently. So permanent cut off from Facebook is not an option for me - I need some way to get a limited time there, and here comes a really neat Google Chrome Extension StayFocused

​Limit / not block time-sucking websites

Matt Cutts in article Next 30 day challenge: social media/news cleanse suggest a tiny and very useful Google Chrome extension StayFocused which helps to limit a time per day spent on social media, news and other websites.

StayFocusd increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites.
You sit down at the computer, and you swear you'll be productive. Next thing you know, it's twelve hours later. You've checked your email, updated your Facebook status, browsed the trending topics on Twitter, read your RSS feeds, looked up your favorite band on Wikipedia, vanity googled yourself, cyber-stalked your ex, looked at all your high-school crushes' Facebook photos, and lost a week's pay playing online poker. What you haven't done is WORK. StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. It is highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).
 

I hope this 30 day challenge will help to increase my overall productivity, maybe I will have a time to write some other article on Personal development and most hopefully, you will apply some of the above solutions for your daily routine. Don't be surprised if I'm not replying on Facebook to comments, messages  - most probably my time is up, and I will try to answer you tomorrow.