LeechBlock: Save Yourself From Time Sucking Sites Online

Even though that report is due by the end of the day, you spent the last two hours stalking friends on facebook and watching Key and Peele YouTube clips because you are weak and lack self control. Worry not for you are not alone. You much like many of us just can’t help yourself.

So if you regularly find yourself clicking around Facebook, keyboard covered in drool, when you’re supposed to be getting stuff done—or better, going outsideit’s time to break out the big guns.

This post will give you three of the top ways to protect yourself from your addiction. Think of them as a 12 step program.

A Firefox extension called LeechBlock can help.

Here’s how you can save yourself from quicksand web destinations at certain times of the day with LeechBlock.

Step by step Install and Configure of LeechBlock

Using Firefox,

1. Download LeechBlock,

2. Install it

3. Restart your browser.

Now it’s time to get honest.

Which sites do you burn the most unproductive time on?


  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube
  • Bright Futura (Sike! don’t even do it)

Once you’ve got even just one offending site in mind, you’re ready to go.

To set up which sites to block and when,

1. Go to the Firefox’s Tools menu and choose LeechBlock

2. Then options

3. A detailed dialog box will appear, where you will set what sites to block and when.

4. Enter the web site domains in the text area that you want to block, one per line. My first block list looked like this:

5. Set the time periods LeechBlock should get between you and these sites.

The morning is a good time to slog through the bulk of the day’s work, so let’s say you want to allow yourself recreational browsing only after 3 p.m. in the afternoon on weekdays. In the input box under “Enter the time periods within which to block these sites” use military time to enter time periods.

For example

  • To block sites between midnight and 3 p.m., enter 0000-1500.
  • Alternately, you can set a number of minutes you’re allowed to visit the sites per hour or day (i.e., I can only check my fantasy football team’s progress for 15 minutes per day.)

6. Last, check off the days of the week LeechBlock should apply.

Then, you can optionally set a “custom name” for your set of sites, like “Social Network Time Suckers,” as shown below.

Save Yourself from Time Sinks Online with LeechBlock

The advantage to giving a set of sites a custom name is that you can split up your recreational browsing blocks into different categories.

Facebook and Twitter might go into your “Social Network Time Suckers” category.

Wikipedia and Google News might go into the “News Browsing” category,

TMZ and Defamer might go into the “Celebrity Gossip Mongers” category.

Each of these sets can have different block times and rules (all day, certain days, certain times of day, or so many minutes per day.)

Visiting a Blocked Site

Once you’ve saved your settings in LeechBlock, whenever you mindlessly hit that time-wasting bookmark, you’ll see a message in your browser, as shown below.

Save Yourself from Time Sinks Online with LeechBlock

That’s your cue to get back to work and try again later in your allotted time.

LeechBlock can also keep track of how much time you spend at certain sites and limit it. (For example, if you only want to check your fantasy baseball league for no more than 15 minutes per day. See more examples of LeechBlock usage here.)

Adding Sites to the Block List

Once you’ve got LeechBlock running, you can add another site to its block list as you surf easily using the right-click context menu.

Say you find yourself on Google’s Video site, wasting away minutes of your life watching the skateboarding dog the same way you used to on YouTube.

Save Yourself from Time Sinks Online with LeechBlock

1. Simply right-click on the page (Command+click for Mac users), and from the context menu,

2. Choose LeechBlock

3. Add this site to [Block Set Name Here].

For example, if you’ve got an “Online Video” set of blocked sites, you could add it there, as shown.

Make It Difficult to Disable LeechBlock

LeechBlock comes with a clever feature built to prevent you persistent procrastinators . In LeechBlock’s options dialog, check off the “Prevent access to options for this block set at times when these sites are blocked.” That means if it’s during blocked YouTube time? You can’t change LeechBlock’s settings to let you in after all.

Set A Password

Along the same lines, you can set a password to get to LeechBlock’s options area. (See the General tab of the Options dialog.) The purpose of the password is to throw up yet another roadblock on your way to procrastinating online. The LeechBlock developer says:

Note that the password feature is not intended for security purposes, but only to make it more difficult to bypass the blocking in haste—to delay you just long enough for your reason/conscience to wrest back control from your baser instincts! So a lengthy but memorable password will be most effective. Suggestion: try ‘antidisestablishmentarianism.’ It works for me!


The following post was originally published in Chapter 5 of our new book, Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better.

inspired by Lifehacker

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