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With Cold Turkey, what you block stays blocked until the period you've preset elapses. If you prefer to retain the option of interrupting your distraction-free period, free Focus Booster places a work-only timer on your screen for the duration of your choosing. After you install Cold Turkey, a getting-started guide opens in your default browser. Click the Next button to open the Block What screen, shown at the top of this post. By default, Cold Turkey offers to block Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Addicting Games, College Humor, and four other sites. To remove one of the preselected sites, simply click the X next to its name. To add a site to the program's block list, click "Add something" and enter the URL.

No programs are blocked by default; to add an app to your blocked list, click "Add something" under Applications, navigate in Explorer to the program's executable file, and select Open, When your block list is complete, click Next, The Block When screen presents a seven-day calendar that lets you set your block time in 30-minute increments from 8 a.m, to 11 p.m, You can also block or unblock everything, Once you've chosen the times during which you want to restrict your access, click Next, You're given an opportunity to back out of your selection, and you're warned that once you click the "Go Cold Turkey" button, arctic animals. polar bear, narwhal, seal, fox, puffin, whale iphone case you won't be able to change the settings until the last 30-minute period you've selected has elapsed, But you can expand your block time and add more sites and programs to your block list at any time..

The message confirming your block indicates that you may have to refresh your browser for the restrictions to take effect. When I tested Cold Turkey, a warning popped up from the Windows 8 Action Center that it had detected "potentially harmful software." When I opened the dialog, a Clean System option appeared. After I ran the cleaner, the warning disappeared without affecting Cold Turkey's settings. Each time I tried to open a site on my restricted list during a block period, a "page not available" message appeared. Likewise, when I attempted to open a blocked app, a file-error warning popped up.

I didn't go to any great lengths to override Cold Turkey's block settings, as in my case a little deterrence was all that was needed to keep me focused on the task at hand, I wrote arctic animals. polar bear, narwhal, seal, fox, puffin, whale iphone case about the Pomodoro technique for time management in an April 2011 post, The concept is to create blocks of time during which you focus entirely on the task at hand, The default duration is 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, Focus Booster places a small window on your screen that counts down your current work period..

Click the settings icon at the far right of the countdown clock to open the program's settings. Focus Booster lets you choose the length of your distraction-free work time and following break. You can also disable the ticking sound as the work and break times count down, disable the alarms at the end of work periods and breaks, prevent the countdown window from persisting atop the screen, and enable autostart sessions. Not everyone needs the forced disabling of all or selected sites and apps to prevent being distracted from their immediate work task. There's some danger in applying any program that locks some of your system's features, as evidenced by the warning Windows generated when Cold Turkey's blocking feature took effect. No such worries with Focus Booster.

Note that I tested another Internet-blocking app arctic animals. polar bear, narwhal, seal, fox, puffin, whale iphone case whose installation required clicking through an ominous Windows warning that a potentially malicious app was attempting to alter my PC's settings, That program ultimately failed to block Internet access, which is why I'm not writing about it in this post, I'll update this article if I'm able to get the program to work, I'm fortunate in that I'm able to work for hours on end on a single project without being tempted to check email or see what my Facebook friends and Twitter tweeters are up to, If you're not so lucky, distraction-preventing apps such as Cold Turkey and Focus Booster can help ensure your work time is as productive as possible..

A note on after-hours access by nonexempt employees: Earlier this month, Scott Sayare of the New York Times reported on a proposal by French labor unions and corporations to restrict after-hours network access by employees. Organizations in the US are concerned about nonexempt employees checking their email and otherwise signing into their employer's network outside of their normal work hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that employers pay nonexempt employees time and a half for work done beyond the standard 40-hour work week. As Jason E. Reisman and Terry Gillespie report on the website of law firm Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, organizations that allow their nonexempt workers to access email and other network services on weekends or other times outside of their standard workday must track the time to ensure employees are appropriately compensated.

Last August, Germany's employment ministry issued guidelines preventing managers from contacting employees after hours except for arctic animals. polar bear, narwhal, seal, fox, puffin, whale iphone case emergencies, as reported by Jeevan Vasagar on The Telegraph, The policy's goal is to minimize interruptions of employees' free time, but it's clear that encouraging or even allowing nonexempt employees to access their work email account or other network resources from their phones or devices after hours makes organizations susceptible to claims of overtime, Donationware Cold Turkey restricts access to Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Outlook, Solitaire, and any other sites and programs you choose, and at times you set, Free app Focus Booster takes a kinder, gentler approach..

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