I’ve been using several productivity tools, both free and paid, and I haven’t found a tool that combines some of the features I feel would be easy to blend.
Some of these tools are amazing, but I have additional feature ideas from which my productivity would benefit. I think these features would get me closer to executing my goals. I am also having a hard separating with $100 on tools that don’t do what I require them to do.
That being said, I started thinking about hiring a developer to build this tool, but obviously, it would be too expensive to make this tool just for me.
Is anybody else interested in using this tool?
My idea is to explain what the tool does, and then build it if enough people show interest. First, here’s a quick rundown of features.
- It’s a Google Chrome plugin (extension)
- Website timer (Pomodoro technique)
- Counting time spent on websites
- Time limits on websites
- Blacklisting certain websites
- Appears in the “New Tab” with additional options
- Setting goals (Set how much time you want to spend on which website both productive and unproductive)
- Reminders to finish the session and spend more time on websites that make you money
- Questionnaire at the start of the month
Similar tools out there
- Freedom tool ($96 one time payment)
- Pomodoro tool (Mac app Be Focused pro version is a $5 one time payment)
- RescueTime ($78 per year)
- Apple Screen Time (free)
- Homey ($9.99 per year)
How would the workflow work?
Step 1. Start Google Chrome
Step 2. Open new tab
Step 3. Work on the dashboard, this is where the magic happens.
The main thing that the tool does is track the time you spend on a website. With that info it creates a list (most spent time on the top, least spent time on the bottom). The tool does NOT attempt to categorize the websites as “productivity” or “social media”, because if you make money as a social media manager, time spent on Instagram is different for you, then it is for a software engineer.
The goal that the tool attempts to solve is:
- Help you spend less time on the websites you need or want to avoid
- Nudge you in the right direction by suggesting the websites where you should spend more time
When starting out, you instruct the tool which websites you want to decrease time spent. Let’s say email, social media, and news outlets. And you tell the tool which websites you want to increase time spent. As a website investor, I would put the websites I own and that make me money.
As you approach these limits, certain websites would shut down (new tab dashboard would appear), and the tool would recommend you spend some time on one of the websites that make you money. Or make a healthier recommendation to just get up and stretch, drink a glass of water, meditate, go for a walk, play with your kids, call your wife, call your parents, call your friend, take a nap, etc. More on this at the end of this article.
Blocking a website
Let’s say you want to block Facebook.com. You open a new tab, and on the dashboard you block facebook.com. If you typed facebook.com in the address bar, instead of facebook.com website, you would see the “new tab dashboard”.
Working more productively and setting goals
Taking things one step further. Let’s assume you are making money by working on certain websites, or by writing in Google docs. At the beginning of the month, you could set goals or milestones for how much time you want to spend on these websites. 500 minutes on docs.google.com, or 500 minutes on webmaster.ninja (yeah, shameless plug, sorry about that one).
Doing it in style
The dashboard that starts within the “New tab” you can customize with background images, videos from your computer or the default that the tool provides.
End / beginning of the month
First working day of the month the tool “forces” you to take account of your past month, and suggests reducing the time spent on unproductive websites (45 minutes on a local news outlet, instead of 60 minutes last month). And you get to repeat or set new goals for time spent on tools that make you money. You could for example attempt to spend 600 minutes writing in docs.google.com. With that being said, keep in mind we don’t want to work for work’s sake. If we can keep or increase our income by working less, we should do that instead.
You want to access this website, but you actually need to be on this website
Imagine it’s Friday, your steam is running low, and you want your daily fix of news. You automatically without thinking type in the URL when instead of reddit.com you actually get a suggestion to spend time on whatever website you need to spend more time on. Let’s say your goal was to spend 1000 minutes on PopularEmailMarketingTool(dot)com, but so far you only spent 100 minutes. So instead of just blocking this website by using parental controls, you could get a reminder where your focus needs to be.
How much would this cost?
Thinking about how much this tool would cost, here’s what I am thinking. If there would be no support included I don’t see why we would charge a monthly subscription. It’s just not fair to the user. But on the other hand, if were to guarantee updates, security patches, and improvements based on user feedback, then I see why someone would be encouraged to pay a monthly or a yearly subscription.
Similar tools charge less than $100 per year, and since this is a tool you would use all the time with your browser (essentially you would see it each time you hit a new tab), and it saves you a measly 10 hours per month I don’t see how this could be lower than $5 per month or $49 per year.
What kind of savings / improvements could the tool provide?
Speaking of “saving a measly 10 hours per month”… As I once wrote in my Ebook, if you slept 7 instead of 8 hours, you would save 365 hours in a year. That’s 15.2 days or more than 2 weeks. Remember your last vacation? That’s it, you slept through it.
Since some of us value our sleep very much, let’s try to find those 365 hours somewhere else.
How much time do we spend on social media? 147 minutes per day
How much time do we spend on email? On average 28% of our work time.
How much time do we spend reading the news?
How much on meaningless websites, just surfing the internet pretending we are researching?
Do you check crypto or stock market more than you should?
The list goes on.
If this tool ends up preventing you go down even a single rabbit hole per month, it would be worth the investment. How often do you open Youtube with the intent to watch a single video, but you end up spending an hour watching clips? Yes, that rabbit hole.
Here’s my take. I suppose you are not sitting at your computer just for the fun of it. You are actually working, and you are working because you want to make money. If you are wasting time at your computer you are 1. not making any money. 2. your mental and physical health is declining.
So whatever you are doing at the computer that’s not productive should be avoided. And no, I am not talking about Sunday afternoon when you have one hour of free time and you want to watch cat videos on Youtube. I am talking about “It’s Tuesday, 1 PM you still have a few hours of work, and you don’t “feel like” working”. That’s where this tool comes in, and blocks unproductive websites and suggests websites that actually make a difference.
If all this just produced anxiety in you maybe this tool isn’t for you, or maybe it’s exactly what you actually need. Perhaps I should consider adding a warning to consult with your local health practitioner before using this tool, and further protect myself by saying I am not a certified financial planner or a doctor.