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Setup Restricted User Accounts to Focus and Get Things Done

Setup Restricted User Accounts to Focus and Get Things Done

    Do you have your email alerts on, Twitter apps pinging you every second, or IM up and running 24/7? Have you noticed that these constant distractions tend to, well, distract you? If so, rather than turning these things off you can design and create totally different user accounts on your Mac or PC to help you concentrate on the work at hand.

    Figure out what you need

    The first thing you must do is figure out what tools you need in what context and then create a separate user account that contains those tools. For example, if you are a writer you may want to have a “writing account” where all you have access to is a simple text tool (or whatever writing tool that you prefer) and everything else is locked down.

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    Some contexts that you work in require access to a bunch of tools, so you have to sit down and list out only the tools you actually need. This is the first step to create environments on your computer that don’t destroy your concentration and attention.

    Figure out what you don’t want

    Next, after you know the contexts of your life and also the tools that those contexts require, you have to list the things that you want to stay away from in those contexts. Maybe for your “writing account” you don’t want to have access to the Internet, or maybe you want to only access a certain site on the internet (your blog for instance). You may want to also limit the apps that you can use on this account to a few different text editors and utilities.

    It’s important to be honest with yourself and not to fall into the trap of saying, “yeah, I probably will be fine if I enable IM on this account. I mean, how will people get ahold of me?” The real question should be, “what is the bare minimum I need to get things done while doing (insert the context of your life here)?”

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    Process and tools

    Setting up these accounts is pretty easy on a Mac or PC.

    On your Mac, probably the best way to do this is to go to Settings -> Parental Controls and create a new user. Give it the name of the context that you are trying to work under. From there you can setup application restrictions, site restrictions, etc.

    On a PC (Windows 7) you can access Parental Controls by clicking the Start Menu, search for “parental controls” and clicking on the option that comes up. From there you can create new accounts as well as control their time usage and applications restrictions.

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    Of course, you can always get around these restrictions by using your administrator password, but it is another burier to cross. When you are about to enable IM on your account that you are trying to get things done on, you can stop for a moment and refocus.

    There are also ways to block certain websites or only allow certain websites (which may be an easier thing to do in some cases). But, if you want to get very binary with this you could use a tool like Freedom or even turn off Internet access completely on certain accounts. Freedom is a great tool to turn off your Internet access for a set period time. It disables your network access at a physical level, so only a reboot of the computer will get it back. Yet another burier to keep you from wasting time.

    Conclusion

    Creating separate accounts for the different contexts in your life to enable and disable certain tools and software may seem like overkill. But, if you are struggling to pay attention while you are working on your computer, it may just be the exact thing you need. Give it a try to see if restricting yourself and controlling your computer accounts can help you get things done.

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    (Photo credit: Modern laptop with metal padlock on screen via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Published on September 17, 2020

    10 Best Monitors for Your PC Under $100

    10 Best Monitors for Your PC Under $100

    Are you looking for the best monitor under $100?

    Whether you want it for your home office, editing photography, or gaming, you don’t need to spend big bucks on a display screen because a low budget one will certainly do the trick.[1]

    We can almost hear you having second thoughts about the picture quality, but you don’t have to worry at all.[2]

    Our list of the best monitors under $100 will be more than enough to cover you. Just go through it now, and you’ll find yourself a bargain.

    Why You Should Trust Us

    Our list incorporates some of the best low-budget monitors available in the market. Their efficiency and distinctive traits enable them to stand out from others.[3] The hand-picked ones below are incredibly slick and have a high refresh rate, fast response time, high resolution, and built-in speakers.

    1. Acer Ultra Thin Frame Monitor

      Our first affordable computer screen is Acer’s 21.5-inch ultra-thin frame monitor. It has a refresh rate of 75Hz using an HDMI port and offers a full HD widescreen display.

      Its brightness can be maxed out at 250 nits. It has a slight tilt angle ranging from -5 to 15, as well as Radeon free sync technology.

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      Buy this computer monitor.

      2. Sceptre Ultra-Thin Display

        Sceptre is another company that provides excellent displays for your CPU. The screen size is a little smaller at 20 inches, but it’s made up for the slightly lower price than Acer. It also comes with two HDMI ports and built-in speakers and is wall mount ready.

        Buy this computer monitor.

        3. ViewSonic LED Monitor

        best monitor

          If you want the best monitor to set up in your office or around the house, ViewSonic’s LED screen is another good option to buy. The resolution is full HD and has a broader tilt ranging from -5 to 23 degrees.

          On top of that, the product comes with a 3-year warranty. Included in the bundle are a VGA cable, monitor, power cable, and audio cable.

          Buy this computer monitor.

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          4. ViewSonic Gaming Screen

            While we just covered a ViewSonic monitor, this one is specifically built for gaming in mind.

            Overall, this computer screen provides the same specs as the previously mentioned item. The key differences are that this one is slightly longer, comes with pre-set customizable visual modes, and offers a maxed out contrast, delivering a dynamic contrast ratio for sharp and crisp images. It also comes with a DVI cable.

            Buy this computer monitor.

            5. Asus Back Lit Monitor

            best monitor

              If you don’t mind spending a little more money, you can get an Asus Back Lit Monitor for your PC. A lot of the focus is on image quality, particularly having a strong contrast ratio and smart video technology for straight viewing. That feature also helps in reducing blue light since you’ll have more flexibility with the colors and brightness.

              Buy this computer monitor.

              6. Asus Back Lit Display

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                Another alternative to the previous Asus monitor is this one. It has a smaller contrast ratio, though it still delivers a smooth video display. You also have aspect controls, so you can adjust its display.

                Buy this computer monitor.

                7. Dell Ultrasharp Panel Monitor

                best monitor

                  If you’re looking for the basic features, look no further than Dell. There’s nothing particularly fancy about this panel screen, but it does the job well for any computer.

                  Its response time is 8ms, which is typical for a monitor. It can come in either silver or black.

                  Buy this computer monitor.

                  8. ViewSonic Frameless Monitor

                    If you liked ViewSonic’s LED monitor but wanted a little more features, we suggest looking at their frameless display. While it boasts similar specs as the brand’s other monitors, it offers color correction and dual built-in speakers, making it ideal for office and home use. It’s also 22 inches long.

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                    Buy this computer monitor.

                    9. Dell Mountable LED-Lit Monitor

                      For a dependable display with a good frame rate, Dell has a mountable, LED-lit monitor in the market. It measures 18.5 inches, has an adjustable arm, and has been through rigorous testing for long-lasting reliability. You can’t go wrong with this best monitor either.

                      Buy this computer monitor.

                      10. Sceptre Monitor

                        The final screen to cover comes from Sceptre. Compared to the ultra-thin version mentioned above, this one is available in 22 inches. Beyond that, it’s your standard display that provides decent tilting at -5 to 15 degrees, wall-mounted capabilities, 5ms response time, and built-in speakers.

                        Buy this computer monitor.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Finding one of the best monitors around can be tricky. If you’re looking for an affordable one that can last for years, consider picking a computer screen from this list.

                        Featured photo credit: Sebastian Bednarek via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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