Friday, July 4, 2014

Friday Writer Roundup: StayFocusd

Hello, and welcome to a new feature here at Demon Hunting and Tenth Dimensional Physics: the Friday Writer Roundup. Rather than posting writerly advice and finds and such on the rest of the log, from now on, I'll be doing them here, every Friday. Fun fun fun!

This week is a doozy, at least for me. I'm sure I'm not the first to talk about StayFocusd, and I probably won't e the last. For me, it's a godsend. Like a lot of writers, I have a nasty habit of procrastination, and my biggest crutch is Facebook... and the occasional online game I get obsessed with. With Stayfocusd, that's not much of a problem. I load up my list of blocked sites, however many I need to keep myself from, and I just hit the button. Then I pick my time (I just stuck with the default ten minutes) and there you go. That's the amount of time you have per day to go to your sites. Not the amount of time you have for each site, the amount of time for all of them. Now, you can change your time... but only while you still have time left. If you use up all ten minutes and then decide you want more Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest... sorry? You have to wait until the next session.

Now, if you're disciplined enough to have specific blocks of time where you work, you can also set the program to only run during those specific blocks of time and then leave you free outside of those blocks.

And then there's Nuclear Mode... we don't talk about Nuclear Mode. Just like we don't talk about Kamikaze Mode in Write or Die. Nuclear Mode is a complete Internet block. If it's not in the allowed sites, you don't go there for however many hours you set the timer for. It is t be sued with caution, as you will definitely be without distraction but you may lose access to research material, your eMail, your bank account... important things. Definitely not something to use for more than a couple hours.

The downside? It's a Chrome Extension only. No other browsers. But there are programs out there to help with the same thing. Firefox has an Add-on called LeechBlock. There are programs you can download. The most popular I've heard of is Anti-Social. It works on any OS and blocks all of the social networking sites for you. That one, however, costs fifteen dollars. Leechblock and StayFocusd are both free.

One more issue with StayFocusd, which most Chrome users will be familiar with, is the somewhat finicky attitude the Extensions can have. You may be uninstalling and reinstalling the extension a few times, with no notice. It doesn't take long, and it remembers which sites you've blocked.

So, there's the Friday Writer Roundup. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. I'll be back next Friday with more advice from the trenches,


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