Ever sit down at the computer to begin an assignment, only to find yourself distracted by all the other things on the screen? Just one quick Facebook check, a few attempts at beating that solitaire record, a couple quick emails–two hours later you haven’t moved from your desk, but your have nothing to show for your time. Luckily, a few free computer apps can help those content writers with moth-like attention spans maintain focus.
OmmWriter is a program designed to bring writers back to the dark ages, i.e., the era of typewriters. It eliminates all the distractions of a computer screen–the desktop, the windows, etc–to give you a completely blank, white screen, reminiscent of a sheet of paper. Even the simple program menu disappears when you start typing, leaving you with nothing to pay attention to but your words. OmmWriter’s website calls the program “our humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.”
You can select from different calming backgrounds (white, gray, and landscape), as well as some optional music or typing sounds. When you are done, you can save or export your work. OmmWriter is the solution for the content writer who sits down to work, but ends up distracted by multiple assignments, instant messages, and other things on their crowded screen. You can download OmmWriter I free at www.OmmWriter.com. OmmWriter II, which has more sound and visual options for a more customized experience, is available at the same location for purchase. It’s a choose-your-own price system, though they suggest a minimum payment of $4.11.
This aptly name computer application is a great solution for those of us who simply cannot resist distraction. The Self Control orogram blocks computer access to selected mail servers and/or websites for a predetermined amount of time. You create a blacklist of sites or servers you are not allowed on, or, if you are feeling really ambitious, a “whitelist” of the only sites and servers you may use. Then, you set the timer for any increment from fifteen minutes to twenty four hours. Once the timer has started, you cannot turn off the program and access the blacklisted sites. Quitting the program, shutting down your computer, even deleting the program–none of these things will make a difference; you just have to wait until the timer runs out. It sounded drastic, but when you have no way to distract yourself with the Internet, you have no choice but to sit down and do the work. You can download it for free at www.visitsteve.com/made/selfcontrol/.
So, if you’ve been having trouble keeping your mind on your work lately, one of these programs may be your solution. Try using them in conjunction to force yourself to relax and focus even more deeply. Who knows–maybe after a while you’ll find it easier to pay attention all on your own!
Emma S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.