New Chrome Extension Helps You Rest and Stop Being Productive

This anti-productivity Chrome extension blocks work-related apps so you can relax. Here's how to use it.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Zachary McAuliffe
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Feet propped up on a headboard, legs covered with a blanket.

Stop work, kick your feet up and take a breather.

Angela Lang/CNET

Hustle culture has convinced many people they should constantly be working on something, striving toward a goal or monetizing a hobby. This kind of thinking is promoted just about everywhere, but especially on social media. Instagram houses countless instances of hashtags like #riseandgrind, #millionairemindset and #success.

Hustle culture views downtime as a missed opportunity. Selin Malkoc, associate professor of marketing at Ohio State University, told CNET that about 35% of people in the US consistently say leisure is wasteful. However, research suggests otherwise. The Cleveland Clinic says taking breaks can improve your mood, boost your performance and increase your concentration. As psychologist Scott Bea told the clinic, "Our brains are like any machine: They need a rest."

That's where Productivity Blocker comes in. This free Chrome extension wants to help you unplug, unwind and have fun online again. Here's what you need to know.

What does the Productivity Blocker extension do?

Productivity Blocker blocks sites that focus on messaging, organizing or completing tasks. Currently, it blocks over 80 sites, including messaging services like Slack and Microsoft Outlook, and also sites like TED, LinkedIn and even Duolingo

"The inspiration for this idea was to parody our society's overworked 'always-on' hustle culture," a Productivity Blocker representative told CNET. "You don't have to feel bad for taking your foot off the gas."

How do I get the Productivity Blocker extension?

1. Go to the Chrome Web Store and search for "Productivity Blocker" and click the bright green and black image. You can also go directly to the product page with this link.

2. Click Add to Chrome.

3. Click Add extension. The extension will be added to your Chrome Browser.

After downloading the extension, the Productivity Blocker logo will appear near your address bar. Click the logo and you will be given a switch that can turn the extension on or off. If you work from home or use your computer for work, you can turn the extension off during working hours and turn it back on when you're trying to enjoy cat videos.

Can I request a website for Productivity Blocker to add to its blocked list?

You can email Productivity Blocker and have the extension's maker look into adding the site to its blocked list. The extension was released in March, so the list of blocked sites is still growing. 

In addition to the sites mentioned above, sites like Google Workspace, Gmail, Masterclass and Indeed are also blocked.

Does the extension collect or use my data?

Productivity Blocker says it doesn't sell your data to third parties. The extension doesn't use your data to determine credit or for lending purposes, and it doesn't send your data for reasons unrelated to the purpose of blocking productive sites.

For more information, check out these life hacks to ease anxiety, six stress-relieving products to help calm your mind and body and seven ways to relieve stress.

Watch this: Why you should take a day off from tech