Do you want to reduce your browsing time? Everyone has a favorite website or two where we spend a lot of time on, even when we are supposed to be studying or working. Just 5 more minutes, right?
There are many ways to handle this and get back to being productive. Some may take a sabbatical from the sites. Instead of cutting off your relaxation time completely, you may want to restrict it to after work hours or something like that. It’s easier to manage, like portion control as opposed to a diet.
Distract Me Not is a website blocker that can help you get through your day while avoiding the time-wasting sites. Here’s how the Firefox extension works.
Click the add-on’s button to view its interface. Toggle the button at the top to enable the extension. Distract Me Not starts in Blacklist mode, which basically means that it blocks some sites. The plugin is set to block three websites by default; YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t want to block these, go to the Blacklist settings and delete them from the blocker. We’ll get to this in a bit.
First, let’s block a website. Visit the domain that you want to block. Open the add-on’s UI, and hit the + button to add the current website to the blacklist. Try loading the page again, and you’ll see a message that reads “Where are you going…”. It’s a nice reminder to stay productive.
There are two more modes in Distract Me Not’s. The Whitelist mode only allows you to access the websites that you have added to the list. It’s sort of like a parental control mode, because you can’t go to other sites. So, how do you add a website to the whitelist? It’s the same process, hit the plus button when in the whitelist mode.
The third blocking method that the add-on offers is Combined mode, you guessed it. When this mode is active, the add-on will not only block the sites from the blacklist, but also limit you to the whitelisted domains. Personally, I think it’s overkill, but it may be useful for you.
Go to Distract Me Not’s settings page and click the Blacklist tab, to view all sites that you have prevented access to. You can remove or add domains from this screen, and it supports wildcard matching for subdomains. The Whitelist has a similar settings screen.
The first tab in the settings, called Blocking, has a couple of options that you can define. Choose how you want the add-on to block sites, whether to just prevent access to the site, or to redirect you to a different page, or to close the tab. You can set a custom message to be displayed when the add-on blocks a site, or for a minimal experience, check the option below the text box to display a blank page.
If you want to access the blocked sites for some reason, you can toggle unblocking option. It also has a timeout setting, and a password requirement which can help dissuade you from revoking the restriction. The built-in scheduler, when configured, will block sites during a specified number of hours of your choice. This can be useful if you’re working on regular hours, and don’t want to be distracted, but want to visit the blocked sites at the end of the day.
Set a password to prevent unauthorized changes to the add-on’s settings. Once you set a password, you will be prompted to enter it every time you click the add-on’s button. And you’ll need to enter it twice if you want to access the settings page, which is kind of annoying. The clock icon in the add-on’s modal displays a log of the sites that were blocked by the add-on. You can sort the list by name, date, and clear the log’s history.
This isn’t foolproof, the password protection can be bypassed entirely by disabling the add-on from Firefox’s extensions management. But you aren’t going to do that, are you? My point is, it’s not an effective parental control solution.
Distract Me Not is an open source extension. A context-menu to block and unblock sites would help manage the extension faster.