Notes on Writing: Productivity Tools

My absence from blogging has, in part, been because I’ve been writing, reading, and researching for a writing project.  I’m discovering a lot of exciting history but because I rely heavily on a computer for the research aspect, I do get a bit distracted by THE INTERNETS.  As a writer, I know I’m not alone in this; I once saw on Twitter: “Like many writers, I have rituals. Before writing, I pour coffee, open the window by my desk, and attempt to read the entire internet.” ha! Anywho here are a few productivity tools that I’ve been using as of late:

LeechBlock
With LeechBlock, I can create sets of websites and block them for certain periods of time. For instance I block access to my email account from 11pm to 12noon. I block Facebook and Twitter from 11pm to 2pm and block my Google Reader and other blogs I visit from 11pm to 1pm.  I have also selected the option that prevents me from modifying the blocked time unless the blocked time period has ended.

Time Out
I’m not currently employed but that last full-time job I worked had me sitting at a computer for 8+ hours a day. About a year into the job I developed carpal tunnel in my right wrist and months after that I developed back pains. All of this was because I had poor posture and rarely took breaks. Time Out is a program that encourages you to take a break to allow your muscles to relax.  You can set how often and for how long you want to take breaks — the default is a 10 minute break after 50 minutes of work. You can also set a micro break -defaulted to occur for 10 seconds after every 10 minutes of work.  Time Out may seem like a very simple and unnecessary program for some, but for those who struggle with healthy work habits, this could be really helpful.

WasteNoTime
Similar to LeechBlock, WasteNoTime is a time management program for Safari.  However, WasteNoTime works differently from LeechBlock in that you set your working hours then allot a certain amount of time for each blocked site during your working hours (you can also allot a certain amount of time to those sites after your working hours).  For instance, I have my working hours set from 8am to 3pm and I have allotted myself access to Facebook and Email for 30 minutes each during those hours.

Do you use any additional software to assist your writing productivity?  If so, which ones and how effective has it been?

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