From suggested videos to click-bait headlines there are distractions waiting for us almost everywhere we go on the web. Those distractions lead us and our students to feel stressed and develop a pattern of rushed work (heck, while looking for that study I got distracted by something tangentially related to it).
One step toward removing distractions while trying to accomplish a task is to silence your phone and disable pop-up notifications on your work computer. Another step is to employ some distraction-blocking tools on your computer. There are a few of those that I regularly recommend to teachers and students.
Tools for Removing Distractions
StayFocusd (intentionally misspelled) is a Chrome extension that I’ve used for years whenever I feel like I’m falling into the bad habit of chasing rabbit holes on the internet. StayFocusd lets me specify the sites that I want to block from myself or limit my time spent viewing them. After specifying the sites and the amount of time I’ll allow myself on them, a countdown timer appears whenever I view those sites. The timer resets every 24 hours.
Pomofocus is a task timer that is based on the Pomodoro technique for getting things done. On Pomofocus I create a list of tasks then start the timer. Each task is allotted 25 minutes (you can adjust that). After 25 minutes there is a five minute break timer that automatically appears. After the break the next task timer appears.
SafeShare.tv makes it possible to view YouTube videos without displaying the related videos and associated comments. To use SafeShare.tv simply copy the URL of a YouTube video and paste it into SafeShare.tv. SafeShare also offers a browser bookmarklet tool that eliminates the need to copy and paste links from YouTube into SafeShare.
Immersive Reader in Microsoft Edge is known for its read-aloud function. But even if you don’t use that function, Immersive Reader is still helpful as it removes all sidebar and other “related” content from the web pages you’re reading. Learn more about Immersive Reader and other helpful Edge features in this short video and in this one.
Those who prefer to use Chrome for web browsing may want to try using Mercury Reader to remove distractions from the web pages they’re reading. I’ve used it for years and it’s still one of my go-to Chrome extension recommendations. Here’s a short video of how it works.
Webinars and More!
Throughout the summer I’m hosting a series of professional development webinars. There’s one today and another next week. Check them out!
50 Tech Tuesday Tips is my eBook designed for busy tech coaches who need ideas for their next staff meetings.