Block Distracting Sites & Get Productive with Strict Workflow

One major drawback of all the freedom a computer gets us is – we get distracted often. With social media sites at a click distance away, it’s hard not to “like” cute puppies’ pictures than do the boring work, right? We are constantly distracted, sought for attention from every side; consequently we get far less done than we’re capable of. In the midst of all this, there are apps and extensions that help. Strict Workflow is one such Chrome extension that takes distracting websites away by blocking them during a Pomodoro.

It employs Pomodoro technique – lets you work 25 minutes, non-distracted followed by 5 minutes break. Learn more about the productivity method here. It’s easy and effective. The beauty is that it keeps a list of sites you want to block. All you need to do is install the extension, define the list of sites you find distracting and start the timer. While the timer is running, you can’t access blocked sites till the 25-minutes work session is over. Although the extension is pre-defined to follow Pomodoro technique, with 25 minutes work and 5 minutes break period pre-set. However you can configure it in any way you like.

Lets say, you’re much more disciplined than I am and can stay 90 minutes working with 20 minutes break, Workflow Strict welcomes you to configure it that way. If you try visiting a blocked website, following screen appears:

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

How to use it

As said earlier, the extension has a simple user interface. That doesn’t stop it from being effective though. So here’s how to make best use of it.

  • Install Strict Workflow.
  • Upon installation, right-click its tomato-shaped icon located beside omnibar and select Options
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

You should see this page, here you can define sites you find distracting. Enter one site per line like “youtube.com” or “images.google.com”. All URLs with that base will be blocked. “images.google.com” won’t affect “google.com/reader” or “google.com”. However “google.com” will block “images.google.com”, “mail.google.com” as well as “google.com/reader”. Technically speaking, blocking “http://www.facebook.com” will have no effect over “https://www.facebook.com”. In the same way, “fb.com” won’t affect “facebook.com”.

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