Everyone who works on a PC knows how hard it is to constantly stay focused. Distractions have always been a problem for me and I'm sure I'm not the only one with this issue. Whenever I start writing a story, particularly one that doesn't interest me very much, I constantly procrastinate by watching YouTube videos, chatting with friends or browsing random (usually funny) websites. Unfortunately, in most cases I can't afford to waste time, so I found a few solutions to help me focus on my work. Here are some of the best tools that will help you avoid procrastination and be as effective as you possibly can.
Let's start small with a tool that simply creates a positive working environment for those who earn money by writing on their Windows PCs. OmmWriter keeps you focus and gets you into a working mind with the help of calming music and images that should appeal to your subconscience. Furthermore, this application can only be used in full screen, so it will keep you stay clear from accidentally seeing other stuff that can take your mind off your work. The tool offers a minimalistic interface and the only way to access its main menu and additional functionality is to move your mouse and click on the toolbar that appears on your screen. You may not like the fact that it can only save your texts in .TXT or its own native format (.OMM), but too many formatting options can also be distracting.
Another way to go about it is to annoy yourself into staying focused and FocusWriter is a great at that. This text editor lets you set goals, timers and alarms so it's very handy for those who have a deadline. The application takes over your entire screen (it will only affect your primary screen) and offers a small number of additional functions. To access the available features or to exit the application you will need to move your mouse to the top of the screen and wait for the main menu to pop up. Additionally, FocusWriter comes with a number of themes that will help you create a more enjoyable writing environment.
In case you have a problem with certain websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. which constantly distract you from your work, Cold Turkey is a worthwhile solution. This application is capable of restricting your access to specified websites for a predefined time interval. Furthermore, if you choose the premium version, the tool can also stop you from accessing any desktop application you want it to (so you can stop games form distracting you). What's great about this solution is that it's effective for any kind of PC work, not just writing. A few warnings are in order: to restrict your access the app modifies the system host file, so some anti-virus program might perceive it as a threat. I assure you, it is not. Moreover, it's nearly impossible to bypass its settings, so make sure you don't need the specified websites or applications for the duration of the block.
FocalFilter is an alternative to the previous application, basically offering the same functionality. This program works with all the major browsers (Mozilla, Safari, Chrome, IE, Opera, etc.) and allows you to block the websites that distract you for specified amounts of time. The tool requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0. to function, which will take a while to install if you don't already have it. Once again, be very careful when using FocalFilter, as there is no way to access the blocked content within the scheduled period (uninstalling it won't work).
In case you are looking for an extreme solution to keep you focused, Writer's Block is an absolute beast. This text editor allows you to set a daily goal (word count or time duration), and it won't let you close it or do anything else on your PC until you're done. The application only operates in full screen (even goes over your taskbar) takes over all your display (in case you have a multi-monitor setup) and doesn't allow any other window to be visible (not even the task manager). Writer's Block doesn't have any extra setting or, formatting options, and it automatically saves your files as .TXT, so there are 0 distractions to worry about. If you use it without setting a goal, just click on its name (top of the screen) if you want to exit.