Anti-Procrastination App Forces You To Think Before Wasting Time [Review]



How often do you find yourself goofing around on Facebook when you should be working? It’s OK, you’re not the only one. But in future, you might be able to keep yourself productive with a clever little app called Obtract.

Designed by Eric St Onge as part of a thesis for an MFA in Interaction Design, Obtract keeps an eye on what you’re doing with your computer.

It monitors the applications you’re using, and the websites you visit. And if it catches you doing something unproductive, it makes you pay by forcing you to solve a maze in order to ‘buy’ that unproductive time.

As you go on being unproductive, the mazes get more complicated, giving you instant visual feedback on just how unproductive you are.

Obtract places the maze over the unproductive activity, even re-sizing it if you try to re-size the window behind it. It’s clever.

You have full control over what’s deemed “productive” and what isn’t. So if your job means visiting Facebook is essential, you can tell Obtract to treat it as productive. The idea is that you know what your real distractions are, so you tell Obtract about them as they crop up.

There’s more, though: Obtract is designed for use by small teams. Every member on the team can see what everyone else’s productivity score is. Individuals can post “milestones”, short messages like tweets to tell everyone else on the team what they’ve been working on.

Obtract has built-in SMS messaging support, allowing you to buy time from your team mates even when they’re away from their desks. It’s like getting permission to goof off.

[xrr rating=80%]

  • Chris

     download is easy, but how exactly am I supposed to solve those mazes? arrows/mouse imput don’t seem to be working

  • Chris

    well, now I get it, but I get a super-complicated puzzle instantly on the first start-up…

  • Ben

    I wish you could use the keyboard as an input. Using a mouse makes it very tricky…

  • Denebir

    Wow .. uninstalled immediately!  It came up with an impossible maze before I could even establish an account and tell it what was a waste and what wasn’t.  There was no way out of it except to force quit.  I won’t try it again!

  • Jazzepat

     Humm welcome puzzle was incredibly simplistic… just wish the controls were better, using the trackpad on a MBP makes this more frustrating than the maze… better controls please!

  • Robrt

     +1 here…uninstalled right away as I couldn’t even figure out how to move the darned red square. The dev should definitely fix this issue….