Focus vs FocusMe — Comparing Website Blockers
Productivity tools are constantly evolving. We believe the following information is correct based on data from November 2019.
Focus and FocusMe are two popular website blockers that help manage distractions. If you struggle to find your focus amidst notifications from the news, social media, games, and other media, these apps will block those distractions to help keep you focused and productive.
Full disclosure—we run Focus, but we feel strongly about transparency. We know a lot about website blockers, so we’re able to compare blocker strengths and weaknesses to help you make the best choice for you.
Compare Other Website Blockers
The Short Version
Focus is designed specifically for Mac users. FocusMe is available for Mac, Windows, and Android.
Focus is a formidable website blocker with advanced platform-specific features. Choose Focus if you work from the Terminal or if you want to optimize the way you work with scripting functions.
FocusMe offers integrated time tracking so that you can find which websites and apps you waste the most time on and block them accordingly. Choose FocusMe if you’re a Windows or Android user, or if you’re looking for a time tracking function.
Block Distracting Websites
Focus and FocusMe are both designed to block distracting websites, first and foremost.
Focus allows you to block websites by their URL, which means you can block the entire website or just a few specific webpages. For example, if you need access to a Facebook business page but are constantly being distracted by the rest of Facebook, you can block all of Facebook save for that one specific webpage. With this added flexibility, you can customize your ideal blocklist.
FocusMe allows you to block any website or application. If you visit a site that you have previously blocked, FocusMe will detect it and automatically close the website or application. Blocking at the website level is quick and easy, but leaves less room for customization. You can only block the website itself rather than specific subsections of the website.
FocusMe is a paid tool, available for $6.99 a month, $29.99 a year, or a lifetime purchase of $119.99. Each option gives you access to all of FocusMe’s features.
Focus is also a paid tool. Each of the 3 available pricing tiers—Productivity mode, Professional mode, and Unlimited Mode—are available for a one-time fee of $19, $39, and $129, respectively. Each tier comes with a suite of valuable productivity features. Try Focus with a 7-day free trial.
Focus and FocusMe both allow you to set up schedules to help build discipline around your productivity. Schedule your focus periods in advance so that you remain productive when you need to get work done.
With FocusMe, you can create multiple blocking profiles. Schedule certain websites to be blocked every day during the morning but allowed in the evening, or on breaks at work. Schedule some websites to be only available on weekends, or only available on Wednesdays at 5pm—whatever customization works best for you.
Both Focus and FocusMe offer integrated Pomodoro Timers that enable productivity in short sprints. A Pomodoro Timer balances periods of intense focus with necessary breaks, staving off mental fatigue and burnout so that you can maximize your productivity without tiring yourself out.
Focus enables users who work from the Terminal to activate the app directly from that interface. In order to activate Focus from the Terminal, type the following into it:
open focus://focus?minutes=25 This script example would launch Focus with a Pomodoro timer of 25 minutes.
You can also start a quick 5-minute break with the following command: open focus://break?minutes=5
A whitelist is the opposite of a blacklist. A whitelist allows you to block the entire internet save for the few websites you specify you need for work. Both Focus and FocusMe offer a whitelist function. Instead of choosing which websites you want to block, choose only those you want access to.
Both Focus and FocusMe can be as intense as you want them to be.
FocusMe offers a Forced Mode. In Forced Mode, you cannot access the websites you have blocked until the timed period you selected is finished—even if you restart your computer, the timer will remain in effect. If you’re really serious about blocking distractions, you can also tell FocusMe to protect itself from being uninstalled.
Focus offers a similar Hardcore Mode, which means the Pomodoro Timers and schedules you set for yourself cannot be bypassed. Focus will stay running with hardcore mode even after a reset. Once they start, they have to finish.
FocusMe Offers Time Tracking
FocusMe has a time tracking function that will help you keep track of where you spend your time online. Monitor how much time you spend using Facebook versus Word so that you can adjust your productivity habits and improve your focus. FocusMe can track all of the time you spend on applications and websites if you allow it.
Focus Offers Scripting
Scripting is Focus’s hidden superpower. It allows users to do just about anything. Use scripting to repeat common functions, integrate with your favorite applications, change your online status, or turn on a Spotify playlist. You can control Focus from other apps as well, which makes it a critical tool in your productivity stack.
If you utilize scripting functions in your day-to-day, or you want to start optimizing how you work, this feature is a game-changer. Learn more about scripting with Focus.
Choose FocusMe if you’re looking for integrated time tracking capabilities that will show you where you spend your time online and which websites and applications you use the most.
Choose Focus if you use the Terminal and want advanced platform-specific features, such as scripting. Scripting turns Focus into a powerful productivity tool that can help you do just about anything.
We believe Focus is the best distraction blocker for Mac. We aim to make Focus a simple and powerful ally in your pursuit of productivity. Get started with a free 7-day trial of Focus.
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