When you absolutely have to get your work done but can’t resist the urge to constantly check your emails, tweets or your Facebook, it may be a good idea to completely lock yourself out of the Internet until the more important tasks are complete.
The New York Times has aggregated tips from some well-known authors on how they manage to stay productive (i.e., focus on book-writing) in the midst of online distractions and some of them offered similar advice:
Nick Bilton – I use an hourglass to ward off distractions. Once it’s flipped, my phone goes into Airplane Mode and I completely turn off the Internet in my home. I don’t allow myself to enter the Web’s vortex until every last grain of sand has drained into the base of the hourglass.
David Carr – I went to a cabin in the woods, yes, that had no Internet. It did have dial-up access, which is like having no Internet at all. Things moved very quickly after that.
A Shortcut to Turn Off the Internet
Should you ever wish to “forcefully” step away from the Internet for a while, the Toggle Internet script will make the task a little easier for you. This little script will completely disable the Internet on your Windows computer with a click and you can restore the Internet connection anytime later with, again, a click.
To give this a try, download Toggle-Internet.bat on your desktop, right click, choose “Run as Administrator” and you’ll be instantly disconnected from the Internet. Later, when you need to reconnect, just right-click the same file and run as an admin as before.
Internally, the script merely toggles the status of your Network Adapter (also known as the LAN adapter or Ethernet card) thus shutting down the Internet for you. If you were to disable or enable the Network Adapter manually, the steps would be Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> View Network Status -> Change Adapter Settings.
One more thing. Toggle Internet will block all sites but should you wish to disable access to just a select groups of distracting websites while staying connected to Google Docs or your email, use Let Me Work. You can specify the list of sites that should be blocked and this script will modify the Windows HOSTS file to shut them off, temporarily.