How-To Geek

Enable Restricted Accounts to Improve Productivity

If you’re struggling to stay focused while working on your computer, enable restricted user accounts with access to only the tools you need.

At the productivity blog Stepcase Lifehack, they share an effective–albeit radical–technique for increasing focus:

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.

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.

Hit up the link below to read more about the technique. Would you be willing to set up distinct user accounts to help improve your focus?

Setup Restricted User Accounts to Focus and Get Things Done

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 02/10/12

Comments (6)

  1. Jeffrey C.

    To me this seems useless. Any tools you are likely to use are accessible through a main user account. To create another one just because you can’t focus seems silly to me. And then when you genuinely need to use something else you have to log out and log into a different user account. And of course it is more passwords to remember…

  2. r

    If you’re struggling to stay focused while working on your computer,,,then just walk away for a moment and refocus. Working from a restricted user account is not going to force one to focus better. It’s just going to create more frustration.

  3. K@RiS

    @ r

    totally agree, all that extra clicking is pointless!! take a break and come back to it.

    its just deceiving yourself otherwise.

  4. Hedy

    I disagree with the comments above. Clearly none of the commenters deals with focus issues; basically what you’re doing is the same as saying to a smoker, if you want to quit, just stop smoking, or to the…grandiose of body, if you want to get thinner, simple: just don’t eat. Putting a barrier of frustration between yourself and accessing all the play tools one uses to waste time is exactly the point, it sets up a reason for you NOT to use the time wasters. Often that’s all it takes to remain focused; otherwise, these ease of access make it so there is no resistance, so why not just do a web search for a bit, or play a game, or send a witty email, or comment on a blog telling you how to better focus…dig?

  5. Tro

    No, I don’t dig. You can infer any analogy that you like, but the topic concerns work focus issues, not smoking or over-eating. It’s easy to divert the topic of any conversation by shifting the point a bit, but that only succeeds in creating a fallacious argument.

    Look, people wasted loads of company time long before computers arrived. If you think creating restricted user accounts will solve this reality then you underestimate the determination of time wasters.
    However, If your struggling to stay focused “while working”, then take a break

  6. Shay


    Yes, those were pretty lame similarities that you tried to draw. Smoking is an addiction issue, and likely the same for over-eating. This topic has nothing to do with that. I have the impression that you just like listening to the sound of your own voice a lot. Well, maybe you should sometimes listen to what you actually say.

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