Some time ago I wrote about Using Firewalls to Fight Procrastination. But how do you know which sites to take out with your firewall?
MeeTimer can help you there. This extension for Firefox logs in detail on which sites you spend how much time. You can then see in its stats how many work hours you have wasted and which sites are the worst time killers.
The extension works well with tabs. It only measures time in the currently active tab. If Firefox loses focus or if there is inactivity for 60 seconds, the timer stops. You can even put sites into different categories. This way you can easily differentiate between time spent at productive sites and procrastination.
If you think you are wasting way too much time, you can instruct MeeTimer to issue a warning before you enter a procrastination site. In that case, you have to choose if you really want to proceed or get back to work.
Use this feature with care, though. The author of the extension, Andy Mitchell, recommends to use this feature sparingly and only in desperate situations. Otherwise there is the danger of becoming habituated to it and you click away the warnings without noticing them anymore. He also recommends to turn of the timer when you are legally on your spare time (like on breaks or weekends).
Former Standby/Hibernation Bug
Unfortunately, MeeTimer has one annoying bug: If you let your computer go into standby or hibernation while it is running, it will go mad when you restart it. When it becomes active after such a break it counts time in a fast forward fashion. Before you know it counted more than an hour for the currently active site. This can ruin your stats. Andy has promised to work on this, but so far there is no solution.
The only current workaround is to suspend the timer before standby/hibernation and enable it later. If you already see your timer racing, suspend him and wait a few minutes. Then you can activate it again.
Update January 2008
The aforementioned bug has been fixed. Probably for some time now – I hadn’t been using MeeTimer for quite a while due to the bug so I missed when exactly it was fixed.
(this article is also available in German)