LeechBlock is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to block the sites that distract you when you need to be productive. You designate which sites you want to block and when you want your access restricted. For example, you can block YouTube and Facebook from 8am to 12pm on weekdays to keep yourself on task when you should be dealing with emails and writing that end-of-year report.
You can also give yourself time limits for certain sites. If going cold turkey is too much for you then allow yourself ten minutes of Goodreads time each hour before you get back to work. Don’t trust yourself at all? Block all dot-com sites for the afternoon. Want to keep yourself from checking work emails on the weekends? Block your school website to make that simple click a little more difficult.
LeechBlock is not a fool-proof solution to all your internet problems. You can set a password to slow yourself down but there are ways around every barrier and if you really want to check your newsfeed then Leechblock won’t be able to stop you. What it does do is make you stop and think before you automatically click on the sites you habitually check. It will allow you to change your patterns and hopefully break the bad internet habits that lead to wasted time.
This is a great tool to introduce to your students. Blocking Facebook during study sessions will teach them to stay focussed on the report they are meant to be writing. Try blocking wikipedia on the library computers for the first half hour of a research session so students are forced to check out other sources! Make them think about their patterns of internet use and if they are really making the most of their time.
Don’t use Firefox? No problem. Check out this article with similar tools for different browsers.
Have you ever used a tool like LeechBlock?
image by ladybeames