(locked out of jfw until the top of the next hour)
Web-based procrastinators: Lucy and I modified a script by Gina Trapani that was posted on Lifehacker. That program, called Invisibility Cloak, would allow you to specify sites that your browser would not let you visit until after a certain time of day.
While a fine idea, it's not consistent with how I wanted to rein in certain irksome compulsions of my own (e.g., GMail, Blogger, Bloglines). Instead, what I wanted was a program that would only let me check GMail and other distracting sites for a short period at the beginning of each hour. That is, I wanted a software solution that would help thwart a certain tendency toward mindless alt-tabbing self-distraction. After modifying the Invisibility Cloak script to do this, we couldn't think of a good name for it, so we're calling it Kiwi Cloak, in honor of a mysterious fruit/bird/nation fondness of Lucy's.
If you already know how add-ons for Firefox with Greasemonkey works, just right-click here to install. You can customize the settings (default is a 10 minute window from 6am to 11pm) and the excluded sites within Greasemonkey after installation.
Otherwise, how to use it:
1. Use Firefox. You should be doing this anyway.Sure, you can disable the script or disable Greasemonkey, etc., which is why it is only quasi-coercive. However, I've been using it and have found it genuinely effective and not something I try to thwart, since I know I should be able to wait until the top of the hour to check my e-mail. More generally, I'm optimistic that it can help lessen the habit of mindlessly clicking my way into distraction.
2. Install Greasemonkey for Firefox. You should do this anyway if you use Firefox, which you should be doing.
3. Download this script.
4. Modify it to set the desired length at the beginning of the hour (default = 10), the desired window during the day when the restriction is on, (default 6AM - 11PM), and whether or not you want it to work on the weekends (default = yes). You can also set the particular sites you want to be kept from impulsively surfing. You can also this file in Greasemonkey by clicking on the monkey-face icon at the bottom of Firefox, choosing "Manage User Scripts...", choosing "Kiwi Cloak", and then either hitting the Edit button or changing the Included Sites list.
5. Go to "Open File..." in Firefox, and open the file. Click the Install button.