Say ‘goodbye’ to unwanted distractions

Distracting websites, that is.

Whether you’re pulling an all-nighter to finish that 10-page paper or cramming for finals, distracting websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can be your worst enemy.

We have distractions prying into our free time today more than ever, including but not limited to websites, text messages, TV shows and video games. Our time is usually better spent getting work done.

How can we try to tune out these factors so we can crank out that last page or study just a few more notes?

Enter FocalFilter. FocalFilter is a downloadable program developed by David Gelbart, Shan Naziripour and David Gong designed to block distracting websites.

The program, available for download at, is free and easy to use. By clicking the download link and following the installation steps, you will be on your way to blocking your favorite websites from taking up your precious time.

The program allows you to create a “Site List,” which is simply a list of websites you wish to block. By just typing the URL address into the textbox, FocalFilter will disable the site on your Internet browser.

You can choose the length of time you want the block to be in effect, ranging from five minutes to a full 12 hours. Once time is up, FocalFilter will notify you and ask if you want to extend. Note, however, that if you restart Windows, the block will be removed (sorry Mac users, this one is for PCs only).

Junior DeAnna Maple, a MIS and marketing major, says that she often has to do a lot of homework on the computer. “I always come up with something I have to research, whether or not it’s for class.”

Maple admits that, though she attempts to work on her assignments, she finds herself distracted by online games. Her latest obsession is Candy Crush Saga, a puzzle game available on Facebook as well as smart phones.

“I end up doing research just for fun and logging onto social networking sites,” Maple says. Pinterest, a website which allows users to “pin” objects to their page for viewers to see, is her social networking site of choice.

Junior Terry Davis, a history major, has started to feel the pressure of finals week looming overhead. “By the end of finals week,” he says, “I feel fatigued from the semester’s work.”

Davis thinks he is pretty strict on himself when it comes to deadlines. Still, he says, “I check a gaming and sports forum probably five times a day.”

FocalFilter will hopefully be able to help out students like Maple and Davis, who feel obligated to check websites unrelated to schoolwork.

Still, such websites are only a small piece of the puzzle. Even with FocalFilter in tow, there are many other factors competing for our attention.

Maple says she finds video games a major distraction. Davis, too, says he spends a lot of time playing video games, as well as visiting the gym.

FocalFilter can prove useful to the easily distracted student, but keep in mind that it won’t turn off your TV during the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

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