#52Tech |Week 4: The Ultimate List of Distraction Blockers for Creatives

Today we have a plethora of tools aimed at filling the gap between focusing on our work and the numerous distractions that can come at us from the same technology.

For this #52Tech post I am sharing the ultimate list of distraction blocking tech.

One of the biggest drawbacks of modern technology is the fact that our usage of machines for our work also means we can easily be distracted with entertainment or social networking from those same machines.
Willpower or discipline is very difficult to solely rely on when part of any creative’s life nowadays is reliant on building a presence on the web, with its many pulls for attention. And we creatives also know that when we allow our mind to not focus, we often allow in some of our most creative thoughts. So, taking breaks in a focused fashion is also a big part of a creatives’ life.
Many writers and other creatives go to huge extent to block themselves from distractions – even before the web, famous writers were locking themselves away in turrets or basements to write. Johnathan Franzen reportedly superglues up the end of his ethernet cable, while others turn to technology to provide some solution.
If you have trouble tuning out distractions from life and the internet or simply your thoughts, try some of the free or paid  tools. There are also tools for the workaholic prompting you to take breaks, and noise reduction or focus tools included below.

The Ultimate List of Distraction Blockers

Some of the more popular are in bold in the table below, with details and links listed alphabetically below this table.
Text Editors
  • 750words.com
  • Calmly Writer
  • CreaWriter
  • Dark Room
  • FocusWriter
  • Keep Writing
  • My Writing Spot
  • OmmWriter
  • Q10
  • WriteMonkey
  • Write or Die
  • WriteRoom
  • Written? Kitten!
  • Written? Bacon! (Customise)
  • yEdit2
  • yWriter
  • ZenWriter
Site and App Blockers
  • Anti-Social
  • Cold Turkey
  • Concentrate
  • Freedom
  • Hush
  • Isolator
  • LeechBlock
  • SelfControl
  • StayFocusd
  • Temptation Blocker
Activity Monitors
  • RescueTime
  • Smart Break
  • Time Out
  • Klok
  • BreakTime
Noise Reduction and Ambient Sounds
 
  • Ambiance App
  • Coffitivity
  • Deep Focus
  • Music to Code By
  • myNoise.net
  • Noisli
  • Noisy
  • Rainy Mood
  • SimplyNoise
  • Sound Curtain
  • Soundrown
  • WhiteNoise Concentration
  • WhiteNoise Box
Timers
 
  • Focus Booster
  • Time Out
  • TeamViz (formerly Pomodoro-app)
Note: there are many pomodoro-apps
and timers available as iOS, Android or
desktop apps (often in Adobe Air).
*Pomodoro Technique owners have lately
been going after the name legally so you
may find app names changing or disappearing
if they previously used ‘Pomodoro’ which means
tomato, in their name. Look for tomato timers, or
variations to the word pomodoro.
Other
  • Stop Procrastination
  • TeamViz
  • 750words.com – Commit to 750 words/day, and write in a simple web app. Get badges. Free.
  • Ambiance App – Create custom mixes from over 3000 sounds to download into this adobe air app. For Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. Free trials, but apps range from $2 to around $11 depending on environment.
  • Anti-Social – block social media sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and many others, or add your own. For a period of time from 15 minutes to 8 hours. Mac and Windows. $15.
  • BreakTime – breaking taking prompts which are highly customisable. Mac. $4.99
  • Calmly Writer – available online for free or as a Chrome desktop app, offers distraction free writing with images, and markdown support. Web – free. Desktop – $2.99.
  • Coffitivity – provides the ambient sounds of a coffee shop. Mac, Android and iOS apps or listen via the website.
  • Cold Turkey – hardcore web and program blocker. Block sites for installments of half an hour up to a week! For Windows. Free, or donate as you please.
  • Concentrate – lets you choose only certain applications and websites (actions) for the task on hand (activity). For Mac. $29 after 60 day free trial.
  • CreaWriter – inspired by OmmWriter, this is a full-screen editor for Windows. Free.
  • Dark Room – a clone of the Mac-only WriteRoom – full screen writing environment for Windows. Free.
  • Deep Focus – provides a desktop app with whitenoise and sonic auralscapes. Mac. $1.99.
  • Focus Booster – provides a digital timer based on the Pomodoro technique. Mac, Windows and Web. Free.
  • FocusWriter – writing environment with customisable backgrounds, timers, goals and typewriter sound effects. For Linux, Windows, and Mac. Free.
  • Freedom – blocks the internet for up to 8 hours per day. Can be reset by rebooting the computer. For Windows, Mac and Android. $10.
  • Hush – by the makers of Coffitivity, this is a small app to block notifications from the Mac notification centre. Free.
  • Isolator – dims the task bar and other apps while you work in only one application. Mac. Free.
  • Klok – a time tracker, with the pro version offering timesheeting etc. Mac, Windows, Linux. Free lite version.
  • LeechBlock – site blocker – you choose the sites and time to block them. Mozilla Firefox Addon. Free.
  • Keep Writing –  a word processor that works like an old school typewriter: it doesn’t let you delete. If you really, really have to, you can type over mistakes just like with a real typewriter. Windows. Free.
  • Music to Code By – created for software developers. There is a sample to play from the website, but the full 25 minute track plus additional tracks must be purchased.
  • myNoise.net – ambient sound generators and mixers with multiple mixer abilities for donator patrons. A free webapp for single sound usage, and a free iOS app with inapp purchases for further sounds. Webapp. Free and paid.
  • My Writing Spot – uncluttered writing workspace for web, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android. Free webapp, but the mobile apps have a cost eg. iPad version is around $4.99.
  • Noisli – mix sounds from random, productivity or relax categories. Signup provides save and share, a fade-out timer and a distraction free writing environment. Webapp.
  • Noisy – an ambient sounds generator – produces white (static) noises, pink noise (low frequency). For Mac. Free.
  • OmmWriter – distraction-free “writing room” that allows you to set a soothing color, play music, and focus on writing. For Mac, PC, and iPad. $4.99 for iOS. PC and Mac versions have a pay-as-you-like concept with a minimum of $4.11 set.
  • Q10 – full screen plain-text editor featuring live text statistics, customisable page count calculation, target goals, autosave, timer alarm for timed writing sessions, a spell checker, inline commentation, and more. For Windows. Free.
  • Rainy Mood  – similar to Coffivity – provides rain sounds directly from the website, or via Android or iOS apps. The apps offer the ability to play music with the rain also. From $3.99 for iOS. Website – free.
  • RescueTime – audits and gives you a readout of your day’s activities. Mac, Windows, Android and Linux. Free lite version tracks sites and activity and gives a weekly email. The pro version ($9 per month) blocks sites, allows you to set goals and alerts.
  • SelfControl – hardcore like Anti-Social or Concentrate but you can’t get out of the timing function, even with a reboot or uninstalling the app. You have to wait. For Mac, Windows and Linux. Free.
  • SimplyNoise – whitenoise and soundscapes – download what noises you want. The website plays static whitenoise. SimplyRain also available as an app. Web app, iOS and Android. $1
  • Smart Break – prompts you to take a break if the app deems you have been typing a lot. Monitors your system activity. For Windows. $19 ($5 instant discount if you share).
  • Sound Curtain – masks noise with white noise and harmonic sounds, and adjusts volume, pitch and tone through a mic and headset. For iOS.  $4.99.
  • Soundrown – a simple website which provides ambient sounds and images – coffee shop, rain, fire, waves and birds, whitenoise and many others. Free.
  • StayFocusd – this little tool gives you a set time to play around on social media sites. You can nominate the amount of time. Chrome Browser extension. Free.
  • Stop Procrastination – a hypnosis program claiming to help with procrastination. Android app. $3.
  • TeamViz – formerly PomodoroApp – combines pomodoro timers with some GTD task management and tracking time used. Mac and Windows. Lite version is free.
  • Temptation Blocker – block websites or applictions. For Windows. Free.
  • Time Out – reminds you to take a break by dimming the screen and showing you a message. For 10 minutes or a micro break. For Mac. Freeware.
  • WhiteNoise Concentration – mimics the sound of static on old televisions. For Android. Free.
  • WhiteNoise Box – provides white noise and nature ambient sounds. For iOS. Free.
  • WriteMonkey – fullscreen text editor supporting markdown, for Windows. Free.
  • Write or Die – Mac and iPad app that provides consequences for not writing: “Kamikaze Mode” begins deleting words if you’re not writing fast enough. Free.
  • WriteRoom – full screen writing environment for Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Free. (Windows users have a clone called DarkRoom).
  • Written? Kitten! Each time you write a set amount of words (100, 200, 500 or 1000) you are rewarded with a cute kitten picture. Webapp. Free.
  • Written? Bacon! Just like the app above, when you hit your word count, a picture of bacon fills the screen. Customisable – change the search string in the URL to whatever pictures might motivate you. Webapp. Free.
  • yEdit2 – a simple text editor with a countdown word counter. Windows, Linux, Mac. Free.
  • yWriter – writing organiser for keeping track of characters, locations, point-of-view, notes, and so forth, with a full-screen option, all in one application. Windows, Linux and Mac. Free.
  • Zen Writer – simple fullscreen text editor for Windows. Free trial. $9.95.

Note: This a links list, and some of these links or products may well disappear over time. If you find this to be the case, or know of other tools that should be added to this list, please contact me via the comments or email.

writingdistractions


Amendments:

  • 24 November 2014: Added myNoise.net.
  • 12 May 2014: Added the associated Listly list (below) and added Calmly Writer.
  • 21 May 2015: Added Noisli and Music to Code By.

52Tech 200This was a one in the #52tech goal – to investigate and share one technology post once a week for 2014.

You can find all the posts indexed via the #52tech tag, or top menu option at hunterswritings.com.

listly-square-logo_thumb.pngAn associated Listly list on Distraction Free – Ambient and Noise Reduction apps.

26Tech-Logo_thumb.pngIn April, there was an associated post featuring some of the writer-themed ambient apps – A-Z |Latte or Espresso? Cafe Sounds for Writing

11 thoughts on “#52Tech |Week 4: The Ultimate List of Distraction Blockers for Creatives

  1. Oh my gosh thank you so much for making this. I’m terrible with mismanagement of time. Recently at uni I noticed I was getting more writing done on my little tablet (with a tablet keyboard) than I did at home. This is because I have the internet off on it at all times, no addicting apps installed, and only writing/note-taking/uni useful things on it instead. Focused. This’ll help me do that at home, too. Not to mention I never could find free site restricting apps for Mac, so thanks for that as well.

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