What are the Best Anti-Distraction Tools You Can Use?

Browse the Internet without any Annoying Popups

There are plenty of distractions on the Internet. Some of them are our own doing; others are the handiwork of bad actors, spammers, and legitimate marketing efforts. Regardless, Internet distractions are a productivity bugbear. Today, we will introduce you to several tips for securely browsing the Internet without any annoying popups. Instead, it’s about staying focused on the tasks at hand. First, let’s get a little context. While malicious popups have largely gone the way of the dodo bird, plenty of marketing ploys use popups to get your attention. And they work!

We’re hardwired to pay attention to things that move and make noise, even if we don’t want to. That’s why car companies put those infotainment systems in their vehicles; they know you can’t help but look at them when you hear them beep. 

The same is true of website modals and overlays. They’re designed to be eye-catching, so you’ll interact with them. But they’re also frustrating because they break your flow and interrupt what you are doing. 

Websites have gotten better about this in recent years. For example, many now let you disable popups or only show them once per visit. But there are still plenty that don’t, and there are other types of distractions on the Internet beyond popups (like  autoplaying videos ). So, what can you do? 

Try an Adblocker 

Adblockers are browser extensions that block ads, popups, and other intrusive content on websites. They work by preventing some elements from loading when you visit a page. For example, adblockers are very effective at blocking most types of popup content. And many of them are free! 

Adblockers generally prevent most ads but they allow some “acceptable” ones by default. You can customize this behavior in the settings if you want to block all ads all the time. If you use another browser, search your app store for “adblocker”—there are many adblockers available, but not all are guaranteed safe and secure.

Install a Powerful Popup Blocker. If you don’t want to install an adblocker or find that some ads are still getting through, you can install a popup blocker. Popup blockers are similar to adblockers, specifically targeting popup
content (like modals and overlays). So, if you find that adblockers aren’t entirely solving your popup problem, installing a popup blocker could very well do the trick. 

A great popup blocker for Chrome is Poper Blocker. It blocks most types of popup content without getting in your way at all. It also has some handy features like allowing popups on specific sites and whitelisting sites whose content you want to see (but not their popups). Poper Blocker is free with no catches. 

Stop Auto-playing Videos 

Another type of internet distraction is auto-playing videos with sound. These videos start playing automatically as soon as you scroll past them in your feed, and they can be complicated to ignore (especially if they have captions). The good news is that there are ways to stop them from playing automatically. 

In Chrome, head to Settings > Site Settings > Media > Autoplay and toggle the switch off (you
may need to expand the site settings first by clicking on the arrow next to “Site Settings”).

In Firefox, open the hamburger menu > Options > Privacy & Security > Scroll down to “Autoplay audio/video” and select “Block Audio/Video Until I Activate It”. Go to Preferences > Websites > Auto-Play in Safari and select “Never Allow Auto-Playing.” 

Use a Distraction-Free Browser 

If all else fails or you want a more drastic solution, consider using a distraction-free browser like Freedom or Cold Turkey Blocker. These browsers allow you to block access to specific websites or even the entire Internet for set periods to stay focused on your work. They can be very effective, but they require commitment.  If you have trouble sticking to your goals, these browsers probably aren’t for you. But if not being able to access Facebook or Twitter when you really should be working sounds appealing, give them a try. 

Final Thoughts 

Distractions are everywhere on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them! By using an adblocker, installing a popup blocker, stopping autoplaying videos, or using a distraction-free browser, you can take back control of your browsing experience and get more done in less time.

About the author

Brandon Skies

Brandon is a researcher and content creator in the fields of cyber-security and virtual privacy. Years of experience enable him to provide readers with important information and adequate solutions for the latest software and malware problems.

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