Recently I discovered this piece of great software (Mac-only) to help me focus on my studies while I am on my computer. It’s especially important now that I have taken to typing out my notes (which I find more effective than just plain reading and faster than writing them out). Featuring Concentrate from Roobasoft!

Concentrate lets you easily create and edit activities that you often do on your computer. For me, right now, there is only 1 activity on my concentrate list, and that is STUDY. After creating a new activity, users can drag and drop actions from the sidebar into the main area, much like how you create workflows in Automator. These actions include quitting and launching applications, opening documents and websites (much like defining a workflow) but perhaps most importantly, blocking websites. And guess what, Concentrate comes with predefined groups of websites that are potentially definitely distracting. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are all included on the list. Of course, you can also add your own domains to the mix, so if you can’t overcome your voyeurism, maybe you might want to consider blocking and Sadly, you can’t block applications yet, so there is no stopping you from opening up Plants VS Zombies in the middle of your study session, but hey we all know that you do have at least that much self-discipline.

Of course, with a computer, there are lots of possible distractions, such as movies, games, heck, even looking at photos proves to be a distraction sometimes. While Concentrate does not (and probably cannot) stop you from being distracted from all these and more, it does help you take the first step to start work. For me, it’s largely a matter of pulling myself away from these distractions and actually starting work (I believe it’s called procrastination) and Concentrate allows me to do just that. And of course, I do have the bad habit of checking Facebook and Twitter every now and then and there’s where Concentrate comes in and saves the day.

Concentrate is available for sale for USD$29, though they do offer a 50% off for students and faculty members. It is currently under active development and IS compatible with Snow Leopard (Surprise surprise). All in all, it’s a great piece of software and the beautiful and simple interface definitely makes the price worthwhile.

I also recommend you guys check out the Pomodoro Technique – I am trying it out and it seems to actually work for me – on which the original concept of Concentrate was actually based on.

And here’s today’s What The Duck comic strip. Just thought it would be interesting to share.

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