The PC is a devilishly distracting tool, with news, social-networking, and game sites—not to mention work—vying for your attention. To salvage his productivity, Farhad Manjoo turned to a number of programs designed to cut down on distractions, he writes for the New York Times. There are three types. The first, such as RescueTime, simply charts how you spend time on your computer, reporting how long you browse the web vs. use Microsoft Word, for example.
Taking a different angle, other programs like WriteRoom and Dark Room take over your computer, giving you a full-screen word-processing window from which you can’t easily gain access to other programs. For the strongest deterrent, Manjoo recommends LeechBlock, a Firefox plugin, which you instruct to keep you away from certain websites at certain times. Try to visit them, and it tells you to get back to work.