Join Zack Arnold for an in-depth discussion in this video Browser extensions and apps to maximize focus, part of Video Post Productivity Weekly.
- [Instructor] If you caught my previous lessons on time blocking then you know that I'm a big advocate of eliminating outside distractions so you can get into the creative zone and get some real work done. Trying to multitask while doing creative work is kind of like asking your brain to swim through wet cement. Once you've decided that you're all in on the concept of working in focused time block, you're going to need a few tools to ensure that you can block the distractions that are trying to steal your focus. In this lesson I'm going to demonstrate three useful apps for blocking distracting social media sites as well as some regular websites.
Now, you'll see that right now I am sitting on a Facebook home page and in my opinion Facebook is probably the number one productivity killer on the planet unless of course you work in the realm of Facebook. So, what I'm going to do is show you a very, very simple way to be able to block all of the distractions in Facebook but still have access to it. Facebook is designed in a very specific way. No matter where it is that you want to go, whatever page it is there's always a newsfeed which is the endless black hole vortex in loss of productivity and I'm going to show you how to get rid of it in about three key strokes.
It's super, super simple. There is a Chrome web extension that is called News Feed Eradicator for Facebook. It's 100% free, just know that of course if you're going to install it it has to be for Chrome. So, if you're using Google Chrome all you have to do is go to this URL, go to News Feed Eradicator for Facebook, click add to Chrome, I want to add the extension. You can see that it has now been added so when I go to Facebook, and I refresh my newsfeed, my newsfeed has disappeared and it has been replaced by a nice inspirational quote.
And you can actually remove the quote if you want to and just have it be empty. One thing to note is that if you go to pages, groups, events, shortcuts, any other page it's still going to be there in full but your newsfeed is now gone which means that that endless vortex of distraction is gone so now you can use Facebook for the right reasons rather than just as a form of distraction. And here's the great news. If you like to use LinkedIn in the same way that you use Facebook where you can get sucked into the newsfeed you can do the exact same thing.
Very similar process. You just search for a Newsfeed Eradicator for LinkedIn instead of Facebook, add to Chrome, you want to add the extension. If I go back to LinkedIn and I refresh, you will see that not only is my newsfeed gone but there's now a reminder that I need to get to work. Once again, all of LinkedIn works just fine. All of the other profile pages, the learning pages, your networks, your connections, it's all still there, it's not eliminating the website, it just eliminates the newsfeed so you don't get sucked in.
The third site that I want to show you will allow you to do this to basically any website that you need to to ensure that you are productive and focused. One thing that I want to say first is that if you're thinking well, wait a second what about Twitter? That's another site. Twitter is only a newsfeed so if you were to eradicate the newsfeed for Twitter, it's an empty website and there's nothing there, so what I'm going to do is show you how you can block the entire Twitter page or any page, say it's CNN, say it's Huffington Post, anything that sucks you in and gets you down that wormhole of clicking link after link after link we're going to use a site called Freedom and this is located at freedom.to.
So, I'm going to go ahead and sign in. If you don't have an account, you would register and there is a cost for this but you can do a free trial first to see if it's right for you, so I'm going to sign in, and the first thing that you need to do when you get Freedom set up is you need to actually install Freedom on your device. Here's what's really cool. Freedom is not only for your computer, it will also work on your phone and your tablet, so it'll work across all devices.
So, the first thing I want to do is install Freedom on my desktop. So, I want to download the Mac version, drag it into my applications folder, and I'm just going to log in here and now it's installed on my device.
So, you can see that this device, my local computer is now here as a device. So, what I can do is I can create a list of sites that I want blocked. Let's say that I want to work in a 25-minute time block so I'm set at 25 minutes, I can hit start but before doing that I need to select the device and I would need to select a block list, so you can see that the social list is already in here and as a default and it's Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I want to go ahead, let's just add cnn.com, add that in here as well.
So, let's say that I also want to block access to Amazon, so I just click on Amazon and I want to select social as my block list and I hit start. So, my session is going, it's timing it, I've got 25 minutes where I can't go to those pages. Let's see what it does. So, if I go to amazon.com, uh-oh it says that the site cannot be reached. Unfortunately I cannot be distracted by Amazon right now because I'm using Freedom.
So, if for some reason you're having a really, really hard time getting into the zone, getting creative because you're constantly sucked into distractions, Freedom is going to give you the ability to customize any single website on the internet on your device, on your phone and on your tablet so during your time block you cannot access it. Here's why this is so important, you have muscle memory where let's say that you're doing a specific task in your editing software and you're waiting for something to process, let's say you're doing a trim command and the ball spins for five seconds, your muscle memory may be that during those five seconds, your mouse is going to wander over to Facebook and you're just going to check it real quick and then it's 35 minutes later and you've done no work.
That's why Freedom is so useful because it's going to block that muscle memory and retrain your neurons to realize this is not something that I can do right now and it helps break that habit. So, now that you have a general overview of some of the options that are available for blocking outside distractions, I hope that you can now see the endless possibilities for improving your productivity and maximizing your creativity.
- File management
- Time blocking
- Cleaning up your email inbox
- Organizing and prioritizing notifications
- Selecting apps to help you with task and time management
- Filtering email messages and paperwork
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
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