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Show HN: Steal back your productivity (heyfocus.com)
38 points by Jasber 152 days ago | comments


jaysonelliot 152 days ago | link

I've been using StayFocusd for this exact purpose for years. As others have mentioned, there are rather a lot of extensions and apps that will selectively block distracting sites for you.

http://lifehacker.com/5452620/stayfocusd-blocks-and-manages-...

Clearly, I have not added HN to my blocklist :)

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

I saw a lot of these apps out there but none that worked quite how I wanted. I wrote a little more about this in the case study: http://bradjasper.com/blog/case-study-focus/

Eventually my goal is to make Focus pretty extensible so you can run your own custom scripts on focus & unfocus. Hope to have some of this out soon.

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

This is a small Mac app I made that helps me stay off Hacker News :). It's a menu-bar app that with 1-click blocks certain websites.

If you're interested I did a little write-up here: http://bradjasper.com/blog/case-study-focus/

Also open-sourced it: https://github.com/bradjasper/focus

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hakcermani 152 days ago | link

I could really use this ! but seems fine (get the nice inspirational quotes) with Chrome and Safari, but Firefox still is able to get through. I am typing this using Firefox 26 ...

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10feet 152 days ago | link

This is great, thanks for releasing the app and the source code.

Just one question, why is it so big? 1.8mb executable seems quite large.

Still, fantastic!

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esusatyo 152 days ago | link

The case study link on the page is broken actually.

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

Thanks for catching that! Fixed

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james33 152 days ago | link

I've been using an app called Concentrate (http://www.getconcentrating.com/) for probably 5 years that does the same thing, but it also lets you define apps and services to block (so for example, if I want to get really focussed, I block my Mail app so that I can't check it for the next hour).

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Breefield 152 days ago | link

I had the pleasure of working with Made By Rocket (makers of Concentrate) when I was a senior in high school (I was 17). Living alone in downtown Boise Idaho, working 40 hour weeks for two different startups, and finishing high school, man that was a rough year.

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

Concentrate is great, but I'm going for something a little different with Focus over the long-term. Hope to have more features out soon that make this clear :)

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msy 152 days ago | link

There's an older app called Self Control that does this but for a specified time window and cannot be disabled once it's started, including by rebooting. http://selfcontrolapp.com/

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ralphc 151 days ago | link

Considering the number of machines, physical and virtual, that I have laying around, that wouldn't be much of a barrier.

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aray 151 days ago | link

In my experience, it's not about making accessing these sites impossible, just harder. An alternative is artificially injecting a 30-second delay to any interaction with those websites. When it takes that long for a page to load, it can slowly teach you to un-learn compulsive checking.

see alt text of this comic for example: http://xkcd.com/862/

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frio 152 days ago | link

I'd really like a one-click focus app that:

    * blocks distracting websites (and arbitrary hosts so I can't SSH to my IRC bouncer!)
    * starts playing some elected noise (either generated -- pink noise -- or pre-selected rain/ocean/etc.)
    * blocks notifications (can the OSX notification stuff be set to DnD?)
    * is a Pomodoro timer: will unblock everything by itself in 25min (or whatever time is elected)
Unfortunately, I don't have the time to make it :(.

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

I'm working on integrating some of this into Focus already, and plan on adding pre-focus & post-focus hooks to add your own custom functionality to cover everything else.

Should be out soon and the app is set to auto-update, so stay tuned :)

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frio 152 days ago | link

Awesome :)

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mad44 152 days ago | link

You can insert scripting to the pomodoro app to block wifi (and maybe even play white noise): http://muratbuffalo.blogspot.com/2013/05/one-pomodoro-two-po...

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robinhoodexe 152 days ago | link

Just to add, I'd love the ability to block notifications as well (as possible with the built-in "non-distracted mode") except for a chosen few applications. For example, I'd like if iCal could still keep me updated on schedules via notifications.

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eddflrs 152 days ago | link

Thanks for making this. It's beautifully crafted and great attention to detail is shown with the inspirational quotes and the optional b/w icon.

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robinhoodexe 152 days ago | link

Nice, exactly what I'm looking for. A few ideas for features:

More options in the filter preferences. How are wildcards handled and multiple domains?

A system-wide hotkey for turning on and off the distraction (I'm an avid Vim user and do a lot of text editing so I'd prefer not to use the mouse too much). Maybe even make it work together with Alfred.

Custom messages for the blocked website.

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

Thanks, these are great suggestions. Should definitely be able to get these added.

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metabren 152 days ago | link

Nice touch showing a motivational quote when you try to visit the blocked website.

I've been using Concentrate[1] so far with great results. It has a few more options (such as a growl message every X seconds) but no nice motivational quote for websites! :) Also – the first version is actually free (click the buy button).

[1] http://www.getconcentrating.com/

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sneak 152 days ago | link

There's a great free Safari extension called WasteNoTime which does something similar without a proxy, and also has the added benefit of tracking the time you spent daily, weekly, or monthly across all sites (including non-blocked ones) so you can see which ones you need to block.

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Killah911 152 days ago | link

The unfinished video alone deserves the upvote. Cool idea, now I need to get back to work :)

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_august 152 days ago | link

This app is awesome! I've tried out others, StayFocused, manually editing /etc/hosts, but I love the simplicity of this.

Would it be possible to add exceptions to sites? For example, certain subreddits allowed only?

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xerophtye 152 days ago | link

Looks pretty useful but since its OS X only, so I can't use it.

Btw, just cursious:

>Do you have a grayscale icon? I don't like colorful icons in my menubar.

Wow, are all Mac users this... particular?

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psteinweber 152 days ago | link

> Wow, are all Mac users this... particular?

I can't speak for all, but me, yes. It's just a visually very quiet area in the upper right, because most icons are black or greyscale. So it is slightly annoying if one of them is colorful.

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coherentpony 152 days ago | link

    Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

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arikrak 152 days ago | link

It would be cool if you could set a schedule for certain times to block sites (or time limits). There are various browser extensions for this, but it would be more effective on the system level.

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

Thanks this is something I'm definitely thinking about, but can't resolve what happens when you really do want your internet connection back.

Should it just let you?

What happens if a client calls or an emergency happens and you need access?

Would love feedback from anyone who wants this feature.

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arikrak 152 days ago | link

Most time-wasting sites never need to be accessed, though some of them are occasionally useful.

I think the app should let you access blocked sites when you need to, but make it difficult in some way. E.g. it could pop up with a warning and require user to enter a code. Often people waste time impulsively so a small block is enough to get them back to work.

(Alternatively, it could send out an email or post it online when a user over-rides a blocked site. Or it could fine the user!)

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marclipovsky 152 days ago | link

Regarding entering a code: would it be possible to use the google two factor Auth app somehow for that?

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thecooluser 152 days ago | link

I've been desperately looking for an app with this feature.

Can you look at how "LeechBlock" for Firefox works? It's practically perfect but's only for Firefox.

:)

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arikrak 151 days ago | link

Have you tried "StayFocusd" for Chrome?

The issue is it's too easy to disable a Chrome extension, and then you need to re-enable to get it back. It would be better if they allowed you to temporarily over-ride it instead.

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treskot 152 days ago | link

509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

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charlesdenault 152 days ago | link

In Chrome when going to https version of a blocked site, I get the "Error code: ERR_TUNNEL_CONNECTION_FAILED" instead of the inspirational quotes!

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

I couldn't find a way to intercept SSL traffic that wasn't insecure (method I used was a custom root certificate), so opted for a broken connection instead.

I think the only way to do this securely is a browser extension which I was planning for a later version.

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robinhoodexe 152 days ago | link

Same here on Firefox 27

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HaloZero 152 days ago | link

Would this interfere with RescueTime? I like having the metrics of which app I use the most but want to block things using Focus.

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bicv 152 days ago | link

I just can't seem to get Focus to work.

I am using DNSCrypt from OpenDNS, but when I disable it, I still can't get Focus to work. I have Automatic Proxy Discovery and Automatic Proxy Configuration turned off in System Preferences -> Network, but turning these on didn't seem to work either.

Could you add a quick install guide with the required settings?

Thanks!

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Jasber 152 days ago | link

Hi, if you email contact@bradjasper.com I would be happy to help you set it up.

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chewxy 152 days ago | link

I just use RescueTime's get focus functionality.

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isaacjohnwesley 152 days ago | link

sudo vim /etc/hosts - just add the website you want to block. Be smart to Skip downloading softwares. :)

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