Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 2 Habits

It is time to get our hands dirty. This week, my habits will include cutting myself off from some of my most favorite distractions.

NOOO!!! Don't leave me!!!

Habit #1
My cell phone will be turned off every weekday from 8am-11am and 1pm-4pm.

This sounded a little dangerous to me at first. And it is definitely a bit scary. My Droid is my "go to" time-killer. But, I also don't want to miss out on any important calls or leave myself without a way for someone to get in touch. Thanks to Google, this shouldn't be a big problem because of Google Talk, Google Voice, and GMail.

GMail is already set on the back burner to be checked three to four times a day, if I can help it. But with Google Voice, I get notifications of new voicemails via my Chrome web browser extension for Voice. So I can always see if I missed an important call and then can use my ancient landline phone to return the call. This is what the Pilgrims must have felt like back when they first came to America. I think that was back when Verizon was called AirTouch, right?

Next, I have Google Talk to keep in touch with my wife during the day. This is a must because we don't have much time to talk to each other this time of year because of Tax Season. If anyone else ever needs to get in touch with me during the "blackout" hours, hit me up on GTalk. My Google profile name is adamjones077.

Habit #2
For at least two hours a day, I will block all Internet usage.

This will be strategically timed around the hours I have my phone off. Don't want to be completely cut-off from the outside world. The intention is to give me two hours of focus time on the computer but without the Internet to distract me. I can write blog posts (but can't post them), work on composing music, write one of the many other things I want to write (a book, articles on technology, economics, and other geeky stuff). Or, it will be a good time to freshen up my resume and/or make some phone calls. I mean, there is other stuff to do on computers other than get tangled in the World Wide Web....right?

My primary tool for doing this will be yet another Google Chrome extension (you rock Google!) called StayFocusd. This allows me to do two things:

  1. Completely block all websites for a pre-chosen amount of time, with the option of keep several websites open in the event I need to access a particular website during this time like GTalk or....I don't know. Something important. Point is, once you select to block the Internet, otherwise called the "Nuclear Option", there is no going back until the allotted time is up.
  2. You can also program the extension to limit your time on unproductive websites during work hours. For instance, between 9am and 5pm every week day, StayFocusd will only allow me to visit Facebook and several other sites I've told it to monitor such as gaming websites, Android Forums, and other significant time wasters, for a TOTAL of 10 minutes. Once the threshold has been reached, the site is blocked until the end of the work day and the timer is reset. Pretty nifty. I give it 3 thumbs up. 

StayFocusd has a subtle reminder.

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