The Internet is overwhelming in the number of distractions available with a single click of a button. There’s nothing wrong with a little fun, but we need to eliminate major distractions when deadlines are around the corner.
Focus allows you to block your ability to access entertaining websites and keep them out of reach within seconds. No more checking your email or YouTube for “just a second” and losing precious hours of your workday.
How To See The Websites That Are Currently Being Blocked By Focus
To access the list of local applications that Focus will block when it gets activated, click the Focus menubar icon, click Preferences and then click on the Blocking tab.
Underneath the Blocking tab, make sure that the Websites tab is selected:
In the example above, you can see a user’s customizable list of websites that will become inaccessible when Focus is activated. This is the “Blocked List”.
But if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry! Focus comes preloaded with a block list of the usual suspects - Social media, news sites, email, and much more...
How To Block A Distracting Website With Focus And Stop Yourself From Accessing It
Focus was designed from the ground-up to make blocking websites an easy and intuitive process.
Whether you’re compiling an epic list of distractions that need to be blocked before you start working, or you accidentally come across a potential time-waster, we’ve got you covered.
Here are two easy ways to add websites to the Focus block list:
ADD THE WEBSITE WITHIN FOCUS
With the Preferences window in Focus still open (under Blocking -> Websites), click on the "+" icon at the bottom of the Websites blocklist and you will create a new row for entering your website of choice:
Type the URL of the website that you want Focus to block and it will be added to the list. Once you've filled the web address, hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard and you're done.
You can submit websites with or without their "www" prefixes -- this would actually make Focus even more strict, preventing access to other site versions such as mobile, which usually have a "m" prefix.
You may also choose to block specific parts of a website, instead of the entire website. For instance, if you want to access ALL of cnn.com but block out the Sports section, you would type in “edition.cnn.com/sport”.
NOTE: Please see the URL Blocking and Advanced URL Blocking pages for more information on the following:
- How to block URLs, specific webpages or specific subdomains
- Programming in advanced rules (such as blocking Google searches for specific terms!)
DRAG AND DROP
Come across a website you’d like to start blocking while Focus is running in the background? No problem!
All you have to do is take the Site Information icon in the address bar of your browser and drag it to the Focus menubar icon:
Focus will prompt you to add this site URL to the blocked list.
Please see the Drag and Drop page for more information about using this feature under different circumstances (for instance, when Hardcore Mode is turned on).
So What ACTUALLY Happens To Distracting Websites When I Start Using Focus?
When Focus is activated, it will block all of the websites that have been entered into the list.
(A reminder on how to access this list: click the Focus menubar icon, click Preferences and then click on the Blocking tab and make sure that the Websites tab is selected).
All other websites NOT on this list will still be accessible while Focus is activated.
How To Edit The URL Of A Website Being Blocked By Focus
Do you want to change the details of a website within the list, adding or removing certain details that best fit what you need to see or block?
Focus will let you do that in just 2 seconds -- here’s how you do it:
With the Preferences window in Focus still open (under Blocking -> Websites), double-click on the website you want to edit within the Websites blocklist and you will be able to edit the URL.
The site entry can now be changed. Manually enter in your changes, and hit the “Enter” key on your keyboard when you are finished making changes.
How To Stop Focus From Blocking A Website
Sometimes you need to unblock a website for performing a specific task. Other times, you may have accidentally blocked a website that you need to get work done. Or maybe you changed your mind.
No matter the case, Focus allows you to remove sites just as easily as you added them!
With the Preferences window in Focus still open (under Blocking -> Websites), click on the site within the Websites blocklist you want Focus to stop blocking:
With the site still highlighted, click on the "-" icon at the bottom of the Websites blocklist and the site will be removed. All done!
Please see the URL Blocking page for more information about using this feature.
How To Manage Your Focus Blocklist For Distracting Websites
It’s awfully handy to save the blocklist of distracting websites you spent so much time building up in Focus.
You may also want to import someone else’s list of websites into Focus if it’s better than yours. Or, maybe you just want to use the default website blocklist in Focus and not worry about any of this.
Good news - Focus can let you do all three!
NOTE: Focus will only import, export or reset the list which is currently activated. \ \ Before you do any of these three options, you must toggle the Blocked List or the Allowed List. It is important to deal with the correct file in the correct mode. These three options work the same for either list you want to handle.
More information about the Allowed List can be found further down on this page, or on the Allowed Sites page.
EXPORTING THE WEBSITE BLOCKLIST OUT OF FOCUS
To export the website blocklist you already have in Focus, simply access the Blocking tab with the Preferences window (make sure the Websites sub-tab is highlighted) and click on the “gear” icon:
Select the “Export websites” option. You will then be able to choose the folder on your computer where you want your website blocklist to be exported:
Once you have selected your folder, click the “Open” button and you will see the following screen:
Your website blocklist will be available in the form of a .txt file, and it will appear like this when you open it:
IMPORTING A WEBSITE BLOCKLIST INTO FOCUS
To import a website blocklist into Focus, simply access the Blocking tab with the Preferences window (make sure the Websites sub-tab is highlighted) and click on the “gear” icon:
Click on the “Import websites” option:
NOTE: To ensure that your website blocklist successfully imported, they must be in the form of a .txt file where each entry follows this specific format:
URL \ URL
So your .txt file would look something like this…
Please see the final visual in the “EXPORTING THE WEBSITE BLOCKLIST OUT OF FOCUS” section on this page to see how your .txt file should look like.
You will then have the option to select the .txt file containing your website blocklist:
Open the file, and you will see the following message pop up in Focus:
Don’t worry about accidentally uploading the same website twice - Focus will be able to detect if any duplicate websites are being uploaded by mistake and notify you as such.
RESTORING THE DEFAULT WEBSITE BLOCKLIST PROVIDED BY FOCUS
To restore the default website blocklist that comes with Focus, simply access the Blocking tab with the Preferences window (make sure the Websites sub-tab is highlighted) and click on the “gear” icon.
Click on the “Reset to defaults” option:
You will see this notification pop up immediately:
Focus will remove any existing apps you have on your current blocklist of apps, replacing them with the default collection.
NOTE: This CANNOT be undone, so make sure you’re good to go before pressing the “OK” button!
The “Allow List” - Become An Unstoppable Productivity Machine!
Do you want to achieve ridiculous levels of productivity? Want to guarantee that 100% of your attention will be on a certain website and nowhere else?
This special option allows you to make the ENTIRE INTERNET off-limits except for specific websites of your choice.
Here’s how to access it:
Click the Focus menubar icon, click Preferences and then click on the Blocking tab and make sure that the Websites tab is selected.
Locate the text that says “Block these websites” and click on the word “Block”:
Click the Allow option within the drop-down list that pops up and you will be taken to a brand new list:
This is the “Allowed List”. It’s a list of websites that Focus will allow you to access with any web browser while Focus is activated.
You can add and remove websites from this list the same way you would with websites on the “Blocked List”.
Any website NOT on this list is going to be blocked by Focus once it is activated!
NOTE: You MUST have this option selected prior to activating Focus, otherwise it will use your “Blocked List” instead. Each list is run exclusively and you cannot use the “Blocked List” and “Allowed List” at the same time. You must choose one list or the other.
NOTE #2: The “Blocked List” and “Allowed List” ONLY apply to websites. Once Focus is activated, all programs listed in the “Block Applications” list will be blocked, regardless of whether the “Blocked List” or the “Allowed List” is applied.
Please see the Allowed Sites page for more information on how this feature works.