How to stay focused – Time Management for the home worker

Working alone and from home, I have really struggled with staying focused on client work. I love to read and learn new things, so I find myself continually looking at twitter and web development websites throughout the day. I was on occasion finding that I of the 8 hours that I had been at my desk, I had spent only 2 hours working on billable projects. This is clearly a model that will not sustain my lifestyle, so something had to change. This post will therefore show how I have adopted some time management systems and tools in an attempt to stay focused, increase my concentration and ultimately boost my productivity.

Time Sink

First I tried the app Time Sink ( by Many Tricks. It certainly told me where my time was going, but stop me from going there! I needed something to physically limit my digital wandering…so I installed…

Self Control

Self Control is a free app available for the MAC from This seemed to be just the thing I needed, it allows you to block every site on the internet (except for those on your whitelist) thus allowing you to get to for those important development answers, but not get to To be honest, Self Control was not the first app of this kind I had tried but it was the only one which didn’t reset after a reboot. …terrible I know, it’s like I should be in rehab – I mean rebooting my machine just to get to because I hadn’t looked at it for 10 minutes. ..I think it’s called information addiction – or if it’s not it should be.

So anyway, this little app allows you to set a timer for a time period of your choosing and on pressing Start, it blocks all those internet sites and twitter & facebook apps that eat up your time…and best of all, no amount of rebooting unblocks them. Of course if we really wanted to reset it, there a number of things we could do – but are we really that desperate? As it turns out, we probably are – my kindle fire seemed to be making frequent trips to my desk. That aside – it is a great app. I found setting the timer for smalls chunks like 15 or 30 minutes to be most effective. I generally just kept on working right on past the timer end for another 15 or 30 minutes.


Blogging Tools

I don’t want to go into my WordPress site everytime I learn something new so I’m using a useful app called myWPEdit. It’s like a small notes window on your screen and you just write your bit then click post. No opening a web page etc – it can just sit there all day and […]