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Blog Post: Using the Internet for Productivity

Using the internet for productivity.

It sounds a little contradictory. After all, the Internet is where the majority of distractions come from nowadays. How can you use it to boost productivity, rather than hinder it?

It turns out that this question has been answered in full and then some. Dozens of websites, downloadable software programs, Google Chrome extensions and other browser add-ons can transform your Internet usage into a streamlined, effective writing space.

Online photo.

The picture above is a typical ilys page. Can’t see anything that you’ve typed? That’s the point. To get started, you input a word count goal and begin typing. Everything you’ve written—except for the last letter you type—is hidden until you reach the word goal. Then you can go back and read over, edit and save your work.

I’ve used ilys in the past, and it’s a great way to get into the flow of writing. You’re not distracted by the ability to go back and re-type what you’ve already written. There’s nowhere to go but forward. Ilys is a paid service, although it does offer 3000 words free, so you can get a feel for the program before committing to $3.99/month (or $40/year).

Online photo.


CalmlyWriter is a new discovery of mine, but I can’t wait to start using it more. It’s a simple writing space that allows for custom settings to optimize your writing. The font I’ve used in the picture above isn’t very uniform, and that’s because it’s CalmlyWriter’s dyslexia-friendly font. The lack of uniformity in the characters makes it easier to pick apart the individual letters, making it an invaluable help to people who can have a hard time reading.

To make things even better, CalmlyWriter is completely free. You can also save your work to your computer or Google Docs when you’re done. If you forget to do that, though, don’t worry. Backups are also stored on the site itself. Get writing!

Online photo.


Freedom is software created for Windows and Mac that allows you to completely remove access from websites and apps on your computer. You can block social media, email, games or even the entire Internet if you really need to focus on getting some words down. You can customize what you want blocked and how long you want the blocking session to last.

There’s a free trial for Freedom with seven blocking sessions over an unlimited number of Windows and Mac devices (say goodbye to scrolling through Facebook on your phone). After the trial is up, however, you’ll need to sign up for Freedom Premium, which offers a variety of pricing options: $6.99/month, an annual plan billed at $2.42/month, or unlimited access for a one-time fee of $129.00.

Online photo.


StayFocusd is an extension for Google Chrome that works like Freedom. You can choose to block all access to certain websites for a pre-determined amount of time, or you can set an amount of time that you’ll be able to access the websites. Once you’ve used up all the time on those websites, their access becomes restricted.

The best part about StayFocusd? It’s free. There’s an option to donate, but you don’t have to pay for anything in order to use the extension. Unfortunately, it is only available for Google Chrome, but you’ll be able to use it with Chrome on Windows and Mac devices.

This post is one part of a blog written for Dr. Philip Patterson’s Feature Writing class. This is a series-style blog focusing on innovations in the writing industry, so each post will discuss technology which has helped authors succeed and shape the future of the writing industry, as well as new writing markets, such as e-books and online literary journals.

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