If you have a critical project that you absolutely must get done and you’re finding it hard to concentrate, a distraction-blocking tool like StayFocusd might be useful. It’s a Chrome (s goog) extension that you can use to limit the time you spend procrastinating on distracting websites.
If you find yourself on a distracting website, like Facebook, hit StayFocusd’s toolbar button and then click “Block this entire site.” That starts a timer, which counts down the amount of time you have for browsing that site for the rest of the day.
You can adjust the amount of time each blocked site is allowed (the default’s 10 minutes) and the days the blocking is active (so that blocking’s not active on weekends, for example). The blocking of each site is configurable via the “Advanced options” link, so that you can, for example, block google.com/reader, while still allowing access to other apps on the google.com domain.
I agree with Celine that distraction-blocking tools are likely to lose their effectiveness over time. If I used StayFocusd long-term, I’d probably just find ways to circumvent the tool; it would be trivial to just switch to Firefox, for example. But for a concentrated burst of effort — to finish off a project and hit a deadline, say — StayFocusd is a simple free tool that may just help you to stay on track.
What tricks do you use to keep your concentration?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution