BillMonk: Keep track of your money (and stuff)

If I came up with a list of sites that makes life easier, BillMonk would certainly figure in it.

If you split bills with a roommate, share expenses on a trip, or lose track of books lent out – BillMonk can make your life easier!

BillMonk allows you to text in your bills, or use their interface (which is my preferred way) to log expenses. It keeps track of how much is owed, and can send friendly reminders to your friends to pay up as well :-). Friends and I have been using it for a while now, and except for occasional performance issues, we find it is an excellent tool to keep the finances straight. Recommended!

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Stay Focused with StayFocusd

StayFocusd image

Ever sat down with your laptop to accomplish something, only to find an hour later that you didn’t get anywhere.

When I noticed hours of my life getting wasted thanks to the web’s distractions, I searched for something to keep me focused on my work.

That’s when I found the Chrome Extension, stayfocusd.

With stayfocusd, I found that I can limit time on sites that I end up wasting time on. For example, gmail and google news are two such sites for me. Stayfocusd lets me limit the amount of time I spend on the sites each day, and shows how much time I’ve spent. Pretty neat!

Wanting some real focused work time, I tried the ‘Nuclear’ option. With this option, stayfocusd only allows surfing sites that I have explicitly set to ‘allowed’. For me, when I want to write, these sites are wikipedia, google docs and my blog.

Stayfocusd also has a great set of checks to keep you working. If you do try to sneak into a disallowed site, this is the message you’ll get:

When Stayfocsd catches you drifting!

That’s a nice way to tell you to get back to work, isn’t it?

Stayfocusd is not fool proof, however, and if you want to cheat – you can find work arounds. At the same time, I think this is a good thing. If I need to go to another site for my research, being able to consciously work around the few sites, helps get the work done.

Having tried it for a month now, I can say that thanks to stayfocusd I have been able to boost my online productivity. To see if others have a similar experience, I tested stayfocusd with an MBA student having trouble working on case studies. He got back to me after a week, happy to report that the extension helped him concentrate and effectively get through his cases. Also, he was grateful that his facebook addiction was getting checked!

So if you’re like me, and find that popups, news, or emails distract you from work- then I recommend giving stayfocusd a try.

Note: This reviews is without any endorsement, and contains my own views.