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Okay, so lately I've been getting really distracted by the computer and I often neglect to do some things that I should be doing every day, such as getting exercise and studying. What I would like is a program that can keep me on task by essentially forcing me off the computer. Ideally, what I would like is a program that, at a scheduled time, grays out the screen and doesn't let me do anything. (It should in this case have some sort of "snooze" button that returns the screen to normal but grays it out again after 5 or 10 minutes so I can finish whatever I was doing.)

It doesn't have to work exactly like that, but what I want is essentially something that alerts me in a non-subtle way that I need to get off the computer. This should either run on a schedule that I can define, or after being on the computer for a certain amount of time.

I'm running 64-bit Windows 7.

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How about some self discipline? – joeqwerty Sep 5 '10 at 16:27
@joeqwerty: Tried that, didn't work. :) The problem is I'll be aware that it's time for my daily exercise routine or whatever, but then right as I'm about to get off the computer, I get distracted by something (for example, a long video that my friend sent me, or an article) and I'll forget to do whatever I needed to do off the computer until it's too late. – Sasha Chedygov Sep 5 '10 at 21:54
LOL. Understood. – joeqwerty Sep 6 '10 at 2:22
Don't know any softwares, just remove/hide your mouse from yourself. Put it somewhere annoying that you wont want to go up and reach like, up on some high shelf or at your neighbours. Ridiculous, I know. I think I might try that one actually. lol, have the same problem. – user82484 May 23 '11 at 0:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I sometimes use a piece of software called JDarkRoom when editing documents to make me focus on the task at hand and not get distracted. Its essentially just a full-screen text editor.

You could set this to open at a specific time using the Task Scheduler. Its not difficult to close, but it takes up the whole of your screen so its definately not subtle. You dont have to actually use the text editing feature of it, although if the task you want to focus on is text editing, this software is brilliant to keep away distractions.

Setting up Task Scheduler is pretty easy too, just open it up (search for 'Task' in the start menu) and click 'Create Basic Task' on the right. The rest is pretty simple, just follow the instructions.

EDIT: I also just found another piece of software called CinemaDrape which blacks out portions of your screen to help you focus on the task at hand. This is not exactly what you were asking for, but I thought you might find it useful, so here it is!

If you wanna see how it works, check out this episode of Tekzilla.

Hope that helps.

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Yes, that is a good idea, didn't think about it. CinemaDrape isn't entirely related to my problem, but still a very cool piece of software! I'll take a look, thanks. :) – Sasha Chedygov Sep 5 '10 at 21:55
Ended up doing the DarkRoom route and it works perfectly. :) Thanks! – Sasha Chedygov Sep 17 '10 at 6:53
@musicfreak No problem, glad to hear it's all working for you :) – Connor W Sep 17 '10 at 15:55

You can use TimeLeft, (its a free software) to give you popup's on your screen at a time interval you choose or at a specific time. Its not exactly what you want coz it won't grey out your screen but the alert should make you aware that you have to do something else.


Another recommendation is to use TimeSnapper, to keep track of your day and analyze it. There is a classic version which is free and a pro version which has more features but is paid. Here's a comparison chart between the two versions of the product.

TimeSnapper lets you play back your week just like a movie. You can play it at any speed you like, and jump in at any time you like.

alt text

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TimeLeft looks like what I need, I'll take a look. Thanks! – Sasha Chedygov Sep 5 '10 at 21:58
awesome your welcome! – rzlines Sep 5 '10 at 22:11

Put the computer into sleep (hibernation maybe) mode?

Nothing can really help you do the stuff you need, if you don't want to do it. This is one of the cases where programs can't help - since you can always turn them off, with little or more trouble.

To me, the sound of quiet (when the computer is not working) is very soothing for doing __ anything else.

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If you wanted a piece of software that warns you when you spend too much time on the PC, either WorkRave (free) or WorkPace (Costs approx US$90 but there is a trial version) might be what you're looking for. Both allow you to set a "Daily Limit" of PC usage and postpone the warnings that come up.

They are more designed around RSI prevention though, and also do Micropauses and Rest Breaks. Just the Daily Limit option by itself might be the thing you're looking for though.

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