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This free plugin blocks websites that distract you during the workday

If you’ve temporarily transitioned from life in an office to working from home, you may be struggling to stay focused when you’re supposed to be working. It can be hard to adjust to a new normal — especially with the slew of new distractions that pique your interest online every single day.

To stay productive, it’s important to minimize distractions. While you can’t always leave the kids to entertain themselves or sequester yourself in your new home office for eight hours a day, you can still set yourself up for success. Tap or click here for 5 essential work from home tips.

But if you often find yourself visiting websites when you’re on the clock, what you need is a website blocker. We found a free Chrome extension that will help you cut down on needless internet surfing so you can stay focused on your work. Let’s talk about Motion.

How Motion works

Calling Motion a website “blocker” is a bit of a misnomer. This free Chrome productivity plugin doesn’t necessarily block all the websites that aren’t work-related. Rather, it works to help cut down on the temptation of visiting sites you don’t need to be on throughout your day.

Rather than setting up a definitive list of websites you don’t want to allow yourself to access, Motion intervenes and tries to steer you away from sites you’ve deemed distracting. Whether that’s Reddit, news sites or something else completely is your call — and you can set those parameters yourself.

Here’s how it works. When you install the Motion plugin, you’re prompted to set your work productivity hours and add sites you want to avoid during that time.

Once you’re all set up, you can try to visit the sites you’ve “blocked.” But instead of fully locking you out, Motion initiates a pop-up alert to remind you this is not a productive site to be on during work hours.

From there, you can opt to “hush” the alert, dismiss it completely, redirect your focus to your work or tell Motion you need a minute on the site. If you need a minute, Motion drops a timer onto the screen that counts down one minute as a reminder that you should complete your temporary distraction as quickly as possible.

You may also like: Does wearing headphones at work boost productivity? Survey says ‘yes’

Motion’s unique feature

Motion can help train you to focus on work. Part of that training is the inclusion of daily snapshots of your internet habits when you first log on, which gives you an overview of the browsing you did the day prior, the websites you visited and the time you spent on each site.

It also helps you identify which websites distract you throughout the day, so you can set them up as sites you want to avoid. There may even be sites it catches that you didn’t realize were taking up so much of your time, making the daily snapshot a crucial tool.

Get the extension and set it up

If you want Motion, it’s a fairly simple process but the program is a Chrome extension that only works with the Chrome browser.

To set up Motion:

  1. Download and install Motion for Chrome. Once this is done, it should automatically redirect you to the Motion homepage.
  2. From the Motion homepage, log in with your Google account. This step is optional — you don’t have to log in with your Google account, but it will make it easier to track information and use your account to the fullest extent.
  3. Personalize your Motion account via the Personalize Motion button. This step will give you a list of some of the most popular websites to block — Facebook, YouTube and social media channels, among others. It’s a good place to start.
  4. If you have other websites you want to add, click the + button and type in the web address. You can also use this step to delete any sites you want to unblock.
  5. Set your productivity hours. You can customize this step: Default to an ongoing “block” of websites or set specific times and days.
    1. To set Motion for specific hours: In the box that states “I want to be productive…” just keep the default option for “during work hours” and set the time frames and days according to your needs.
    2. To use Motion 24/7: In the box that states “I want to be productive…” you simply change the default option from “during work hours” to “all the time” by using the dropdown menu.
  6. Once your time has been set, Motion will prompt you to click through a demo of the extension and you’re good to go.

Adding Motion to your daily work routine won’t automatically make you more productive while you’re working from home — that’s on you — but it’s a good place to start. This handy tool has features that can help you to stay on task, avoid web-related distractions and prompt you to take your new work from home life seriously.

We know times are tough right now, but if we all work together to practice social distancing, things will get better. If you’d like a few coronavirus safety tips, here are a few helpful articles to get you started:

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.

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