Waste less time online with a Chrome extension

Easily distracted? WasteNoTime is a Chrome extension that you can use to block certain time-wasting sites or restrict the time you spend on them.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read

I read once that Jonathan Franzen writes his novels using an old laptop because it does not have a wireless antenna. He also took the extra precaution of gluing an Ethernet jack into the Ethernet port and then clipping the cable so that there was no way -- wired or wirelessly -- he could access the Internet while writing.

Knowing Franzen needed to take such measures to stay focused made me feel a little better about myself and my time-wasting ways on the Internet. If you need some assistance staying on point (and off Facebook) during the workday, WasteNoTime could be of help.

This Chrome extension lets you set up white and black lists of Web sites, and it lets you set a time limit for sites on which you regularly waste time. It also tracks the time you spend each day, week, or month on the sites you visit the most and presents the data in a revealing bar chart.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When you install WasteNoTime, it places a small button (with a clock icon) in Chrome's toolbar to the right of the URL bar. Click on the button to access the settings to set up the sites you'd like to block or, alternatively, allow.

To block a site, click on the WasteNoTime button when you are currently viewing a site you'd like to block and click the Block Site link. You can also click the Settings link in WasteNoTime's pop-up window to open a new tab with the extension's settings. Here you can add sites to the Block List and the Allow List. The Allow List comes into effect if you initiate an Instant Lockdown, which you can do to block out all site or all sites with the exception of those on your Allow List. When you set up an Instant Lockdown, you can do so for a specified period of time.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

A few well-spaced breaks throughout the workday are beneficial. If you subscribe to this line of thinking, you can grant yourself a certain amount of time (say, 30 minutes) to visit Facebook, Twitter, and other site on your Block List. From WasteNoTime's settings page, click the Time Allowed button to specify the days and time range for this feature to be in effect. I set it up for weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., for example, and gave myself 30 minutes. The time allowed is a global amount, meaning it's the amount of time you can spend on all of your blocked sites together and not a time to spend on each individually. When you reach your time limit, you will see a page like this when you attempt to visit a site on your blocked list:

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Lastly, click on the Time Tracker link from either WasteNoTime's pop-up window or the settings page to see just where your day or week or month went. It shows you a bar graph of the time you have spent on the top 10 most visited sites.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

WasteNoTime is also available for Safari. Do you have any effective time-management tips? If so, help me help myself and comment below.

(Via AddictiveTips)