StayFocusd fights the battle: Facebook versus work...and wins

Google Chrome extension StayFocusd limits time spent on distracting Web sites, but is very relentless in the process.

Time-budgeting throughout the work day is difficult when the Internet's distractions are at your fingertips. StayFocusd is a Google Chrome extension that limits these addicting Web binges to a time span of your choosing so you can be more productive. Whether you want to block a specific Web site, a subsection of the site, or the Internet as a whole, StayFocusd does all of these things in configurations of your choice. Though it is intuitive and easy to use, this extension is very unforgiving; users must be sure about the sites they want to block because they will not have access until the next day.

The download adds a round blue icon to the right-hand side of your address bar. This icon acts as the extension's headquarters; click on the icon when you want to block/allow sites, change settings, and set time limits. Though customizing StayFocusd is easy by clicking the "settings" link, once the time limit is up for a particular site, there is no going back. If this does not scare you, there is a "nuclear" option that blocks everything. If you still need the Internet except for a handful of sites, it is possible to block everything except for your "allowed" sites. Be sure to check out a list of FAQs in the "help" link once the add-on is installed, just so you know what you are getting yourself into. When you try to go back to a blocked Web site, a guilt-inducing message appears: "Shouldn't you be working?" The publishers are probably just trying to make you feel ashamed enough to donate; there is a link that asks for cash below the message.

More witty messages from StayFocusd (Credit: Screenshot by Polina Polishchuk/CNET)

If you do not want Facebook, YouTube, or that one blog with the awkward family pictures to distract you from work, use StayFocusd as a handy tool toward more fruitful work. However, make sure you are serious about your temporary Web diet, or else you will find yourself in regret, possibly browsing on your smartphone.

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