RescueTime ProTip: Blocking distracting websites with Focused Time!

To start Focused Time!:

  • Click (or right-click) the RescueTime icon in your system-tray (win) or menubar (os x)
  • Select “Get Focused!”
  • Enter a time period to focus for

Note: Focused Time! is only available to RescueTime Pro subscribers.

Ever have times when you need to hunker down and focus on something, but can’t seem to pry yourself away from online distractions? For our RescueTime Pro subscribers, we have a feature that can help with that. It’s called Focused Time! and here’s how it works:

You can select the period of time you want to get focused for, pick as little or as long as you’d like. We recommend short bursts of 20-30 minutes. Enough time to make some progress, but not too long that you’re locked in for hours and hours (taking breaks is good for your sanity!)

For the amount of time you select, all websites that you’ve visited in the past three months that have a productivity score of “very distracting” will be blocked. If you want to have a look at which sites would be blocked for you, check out your distracting activities page. If you see anything on that list that doesn’t seem like a site you want to block, you can simply change the productivity score to remove it from the block list. Over time, this list will grow, so if you just started using RescueTime, expect it to get more comprehensive as you log more time.

When is the best time to use Focused Time?

Obviously, any time you feel like you need to buckle down and focus is a good time to use Focused Time! Cramming for exams, working on a big deadline, etc… You can also get a sense of when you might be more prone to distractions by reviewing your efficiency report, and looking at the times of day when you are less productive. (Mid-mornings are when I have the hardest time with distractions.) You may also want to look at your productivity comparisons report to see what days you are more unproductive. Those times might be a good time to use Focused Time. Of course, it only makes sense for those times when you personally feel like distracting sites are actually a bad thing. It doesn’t make sense to try to have FocusedTime! on all the time.

Note: Focused Time! is only available for RescueTime Pro subscribers. If you have a free RescueTime subscription and would like to try out Focused Time!, you may upgrade your account on your account settings page.

3 Comments on “RescueTime ProTip: Blocking distracting websites with Focused Time!”

  1. I’m ready, but you do not state how to set this up and I don’t recall if I am a subscriber or not. Please explain all.
    very good idea and I need it!

    • Robby Macdonell says:

      Sorry about that, I’ve updated the post to show how to start Focused Time. You should see a “Get focused…” option when you right-click on the RescueTime icon in your Windows System Tray. If you do not see that, then you are likely using the free version. If you’d like, you can upgrade from your billing page (

  2. Sarah says:

    This feature is the reason I upgraded to pro! I’m a student, and I decided that it was a neccecary course related cost.

    It would be fantastic if focus time could be pre scheduled for times I’m prone to distraction, eg every weekday between 3 to 4 – like leechbock for firefox, or chrome nanny – but without having to maintain a block list 🙂

    Keep up the good work guys.