Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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This would work fine, except in terms of success.

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Temporary Computer Crippler

for when you want to get some work done
  [vote for,

If you have a task that needs to be done on the computer, but you are, like me, prone to distraction at even the slightest thing, you can enable this setting. It allows you to select one or two programs to use, as well as a few folders which you can access, and set a time limit for how long you will be working.

It then prevents your operation of any other program or access of any other file. Background tasks initiated by the computer can still function, but you cannot use anything other than what you nominated until the time is up.

This would have been rather helpful in the last week.

dbmag9, Oct 25 2009

baked for the Internet http://lifehacker.c...ou-get-back-to-work
several options to choose from [sninctown, Oct 25 2009]

FruitfulTime http://web.archive....ersonal-edition.php
This will tell you how you wasted your time [sninctown, Oct 25 2009]

Stop Your Search Engines http://www.nytimes....OB-WWLN-t.html?_r=1
Timely article on voluntary self binding [Ian Tindale, Oct 26 2009]


       I've often wanted this but I suspect that some of parental control software is capable of this kind of thing. [+]
Aristotle, Oct 25 2009

       If you have this, will you choose to use it?
Ian Tindale, Oct 25 2009

       "Inadequate user. Please install upgraded user and reboot."
8th of 7, Oct 25 2009

       Just block this site, and you're half way there.
pertinax, Oct 25 2009

       [Ian]: I would, because my work pattern tends to come in spurts. I start off with the best of intentions, but after a while gradually drift away to elsewhere. I tried switching off the Internet (my laptop has a little switch by the side; I rule you all) but even the little that's on my computer was distracting.   

       [pertinax]: Heresy!
dbmag9, Oct 25 2009

       Instead of actually blocking those other programs, create a program which observes the starting of new programs, starts a 60 second timer, and kills the new program if it's not shutdown in that time.   

       This way, if you *need* to do something (like run a calculator, or take a screenshot), you can, but you don't get much time to be distracted.
goldbb, Oct 25 2009

       Bun with [goldbb]'s modification. You often find that you actually need to use the internet for fact checking or reading relevant emails.   

       Also, have a timer to prevent the app being immediately restarted. Some browsers can simply reopened with the pages they were closed with. Simply closing them periodically would only be a minor annoyance.
Bad Jim, Oct 25 2009

       I need this for stumbleupon, bad.+
blissmiss, Oct 25 2009

       dbmag9, - I know what you mean, mine comes in spurts too. But this falls into the same category that a lot of ideas do, that of a limitation that somehow gets enforced globally or in a manner that doesn't involve individual choice, and it's somehow "for the better" while only actually taking something away. Given that people actually do have choice to a certain extent, it's likely they'll say "stuff this" and simply not use this, or the electrocuting hat, or the reinforced concrete underpants, or the dissolving credit card, or the length-restricted ankle-braces, or the automatic powered needle that shoots directly into the brain to make you smoke less. People will put those options aside and simply never use them.   

       The point I'm making, I suppose, is that this isn't really the direction that 21st century innovation by smart people should be demonstrating. On the other hand, if most of us were around for the medieval power structures of the belief control and persuasion industries, we'd be considered very highly desirable and in demand, with our characteristic ideas that aren't really torture or sadistic at all, that's just a few bad reviews, ignore them.
Ian Tindale, Oct 25 2009

       Uh, actually this does involve individual choice. You choose to activate it on your computer. If you need to get something done but you know you're the sort of person who gets distracted, locking yourself out of those distractions for a while makes sense.
Bad Jim, Oct 25 2009

       [I've posted a timely link up there, too]   

       I'm in exactly the same situation as the original poster and have been for the past few decades, and I'm sure most of us here can identify also, so it's not something I haven't thought of highly deeply and at length.   

       If it's a procedure I have to voluntarily engage, I probably won't. After all, closing a tab or window, or closing an application, or closing the computer, is equally just a voluntary action. Why didn't I choose that? Why don't you just elect to do that. It's exactly the same as proposed - just an action - except that it's free and already available. What makes you think that one action will be performed because the other for some self-imposed reason can't? The necessary action is already there - but it doesn't get used. This will fall into that bucket too before long. This doesn't alter the motive, the driver, the payoff, of behaving like we do - it simply posts a Nazi SA guard beside our shoulder, because we voluntarily thought it'd be a good idea to put one there for a while. After a while you'd rather not - it's your choice. It doesn't actually change why you need it.   

       Personally, and this probably only works for myself, my modification to my payoff for fannying about online most of the day before I convince myself that I've been usefully productive even though there's nothing to show for it, is to draw a hard line between 'input' and 'output', and recognise that most enjoyment of surfing the web is definitely entertainment and therefore 'input' but so in fact are the many years of 'research' (which in the case of the past couple of years at least do add up to research in that I've got a (too slim) reference list). Even so, a lot of this 'research' is still input - especially when it becomes hypertextually 'blue-sky'. At some point I have to turn it around and do 'output'.   

       In the past couple of months I've done that and I get immense satisfaction in watching the chapter(s) grow and in one case reach a state I could provisionally term 'completion'. I also get a good feeling from wasting a usual bout of time on fannying about on the web, but finishing that drug all the sooner, and concluding that "there's not much on the internet today" or "well, I've read all of the internet today", and switching activity by physically getting up and sitting somewhere else and doing something else without feeling like I'm simply taking a break.   

       I suspect that's the internal driver behind a lot of prolific bloggers and microbloggers - they recognise this 'input vs output' profile of activity, and so their output counts as 'productive', despite that they're simply contributing to the noisy wallpaper through a write-only medium less valuable and more disposable than the paper at the bottom of a budgie cage. Nevertheless, it's a step toward genuine productivity.   

       I half suspect that the big underlying reason behind the "credit crunch" wasn't the sub-prime risk bubble at all but that most of the seemingly productive people in office jobs at all tiers were just spending 95% of that time on facebook and not producing anymore. Output (or at least, useful durable valuable output) stopped.
Ian Tindale, Oct 26 2009

       This is a good idea. It would work well in schools / universities as well, where you don't need to cripple the machines all the time, but during classes and the like it would be beneficial.
vincevincevince, Oct 26 2009

       I think I would waste more time trying to find a way to beat the system! But +.
DIYMatt, Oct 26 2009


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