Beat procrastination with Cold Turkey
Tabbed browsers are both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you can keep multiple sources open simultaneously for cross-referencing, and on the other, you can easily keep your social media feeds alongside your work, with numbers in the tab titles steadily climbing as fresh content appears in your feed.
It's the same with emails; if you're honest with yourself, how many of the messages you receive throughout the day truly require an immediate response? And how often do you check your inbox?
When you have to knuckle down to some serious work, it can take real grit to resist the lure of those little numbers. That's when you need Cold Turkey – a superb free app for Windows that acts as a high-dose willpower supplement.
Cold Turkey is the most effective distraction-blocker around, working as a firewall to deny access to specific websites in all browsers. It comes equipped with a preset list of notorious time-thieves, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and BuzzFeed, which you can customize with your personal procrastination destinations. Cold Turkey also lets you create new blocklists, which can be activated individually.
To start blocking, just select 'Timer', enter a time and date for the block to end, and switch it on. Forking out US$19 (about £15, AU$25) for the premium edition lets you block sites on a schedule and add break periods, but the free version of Cold Turkey (as its name implies) is a cruel all-or-nothing affair.
Once you've set the blocker, it's very hard to get around it. You can't uninstall Cold Turkey when you've frozen yourself out, or sidestep it using desktop clients or Windows apps.
The only way we've found to thaw the Turkey is to access the forbidden sites via a proxy server - but forget we told you that. Provided you can find the self-discipline to avoid pretending you're accessing Facebook from Greenland, you won't find a more effective procrastination-blocker.