Productivity Owl

The “Productivity Owl” is a Chrome browser extension I made to be productive.

Other Productivity Extensions do not work for me.  They block an explicit list of websites.  Or block everything so I can’t do work.  The problem is that I don’t know what websites I need blocked.  I might need to find a blog that gives a solution to a coding problem.  Or I might need a design idea.  Or I might need to do some other task.  Along the way I get distracted.  The Productivity Owl makes sure I don’t stay off task for long.

I have the owl set to close any web page I visit after 30 seconds. I allow websites like, and of course localhost.  I block websites like youtube explicitly so I don’t even get 30 seconds.  If I want to watch a programming tutorial, the owl lets me save it for later.  Often times I realize during freetime – I don’t need to watch that.   That’s the other feature of the owl.  The owl lets you schedule your freetime.

During the freetime, the owl doesn’t swoop up and close your webpage.  Instead he lets you do what you want.  Since you only have a set limit for freetime, you learn to use it well.  Suddenly some of those links you saved don’t seem as important.  You end up choosing only the important things.

Right now the Productivity Owl is not 100% complete.  I plan to add a few more features, then open source it on GitHub.  In reality… all Chrome extensions are already open source if you use this tool… but I still plan to post a version on GitHub.  Here are a list of features to look forward to…

  1. You will “Earn Respect” from the owl if you keep the extension installed, and your schedule isn’t too easy.  I was thinking of having the owl look at webpage history to see if you stay on task but that may be too intrusive.
  2. Import/Export Settings Feature
  3. Fix bugs with owl going crazy on some pages (he sometimes flies different directions, goes superspeed?)
  4. Anti-Desperation mode and Close Tabs aren’t implemented fully.  Anti-desperation mode will mean that refreshing pages or clicking desperately back and forth to avoid the timer, will just make the timer go lower and lower on the page.
  5. Hack the Owl feature: If you inspect element on the timer at the bottom, you can increase the time by typing a higher number.  The owl never knows.  I plan to remove that feature… and have the owl make a sarcastic comment like “Nice Try, Asshole”
  6. Speaking of which… I’m planning many more condescending messages from the owl.   The owl is kind of a dick… but he needs to be.  It’s the only way this system will work.


  • NuclearPotatoes

    Nice. I’m having a hard time earning respect, any tips?

  • GeraldineBerlin

    I love it! I love especially all the comments. If you keep making new comments I will be delighted.

  • I’m a fan (p.s. I just got booted off this page by the owl as I was about to post. Think I’m going to make it this time)

  • pearliguana

    I need this for mobile chrome 🙁
    Similar apps are surprisingly hard to find for mobiles…

  • bfredit

    Can you place it on GitHub? I want to contribute

  • Bianca Molenaar (dannybiancamo

    Hi there, I absolutely LOVE this extension! Helps me out big time! Would really appreciate it though if I would get a pop-up to choose between worktime or freetime when I open my browser and The Productivity Owl starts. I do not work in a schedule really, because I also have a work schedule from my boss which changes every week. I have to change my freetime like every day so I will never earn the owls respect. So maybe that’s a suggestion?

  • Minly Chen

    how would i add the chrome extension as a “blocked website”? i’ve tried adding the URL after opening the “options” site but doesn’t block it….

  • WdWdWd

    Hi Mark,

    I ported the extension to Microsoft Edge myself as the browser cannot be disabled and I need something to keep me from slacking…

    However, you haven’t put the extension under an open-source license so I can’t publish my port. Would you be okay with publishing it under a MIT / Apache 2 / GPL etc. license?

    Thanks in advance.

  • MNG Rampant

    I love this app, it really has changed my life for the better.

    I kid you not, the only reason I have survived the first semester of my Computer Science Honours degree is simply because of this application and it’s creator. I love you. <3