We’ve all got those websites that seem to sap away our time. For me, it’s Facebook, Reddit, and Hacker News. For others, it’s Twitter, or ESPN.
I realized that given a free moment while working—like waiting for a file to download, or an app to start up—my muscle memory will kick in and I’ll
command-T open a new tab in Chrome and start typing f-a-c or r-e-d-d. And before you know it, my productivity is getting chewed up by an endless stream of gifs, AMAs, and ice bucket challenge videos.
I’ve tried “productivity tools” that block websites completely, but I always felt that those solutions were too severe. I’m not an addict, where one sweet sweet taste of a friend’s flash-soaked concert-selfie will require me to join a twelve-step program; I just need to be reminded that hey, maybe this isn’t what I should be doing right now.
I wanted an extension that would just make me wait 15 seconds or so before letting me see those troublesome sites, with a reminder about what’s important.
After doing some searching, I found that this wasn’t an original idea. Randall Munroe, of xkcd, talked about it in a comic, and a couple of chrome extensions inspired from his comic already existed that did a similar thing. But the experience of these extensions was, pretty pretty poor.
Forcing a short delay is one piece of the puzzle, but how about adding a little inspiration to the mix, with a touch of playful shaming? Front and center: an inspiring quote about productivity. Something that puts some goals in perspective.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
And then not as loud, but still visible, something to put what you’re trying to do in perspective, customized for each site.
“Honestly though, when was the last time this site brought you joy?”
Put all those bits together, and you’ve got Garlic. Add a 15 second delay plus a little extra motivation to keep you on task.