Obtract Makes Procrastination Feel Like Work…So You’ll Do More Work

Stop maximizing that Excel worksheet whenever a coworker walks by your cubicle. Everyone already knows that you are looking at the J-Crew sale page while playing angry birds on the iPad in your lap.

Or if they somehow didn’t know, they will soon. Once you download School of Visual Art Interaction Design MFA candidate Eric St. Onge’s thesis project, trying to hide your shocking lack of productivity on sunny spring Fridays (but also, be honest, on rainy Mondays too) will be even more impossible.

Obtract is a Mac App that “monitors your activities and allows you to identify your own distractions” by collecting your data and analyzing what you are doing instead of filling in that spreadsheet. Then, it makes those enjoyable distractions feel more like work by making you do “increasingly complex obstacles” in order to access them. Your “teammates” (office lingo for “people who sit in the cubicle next to you”) can see all of that data.

People love to compete – especially on a computer. The app graphs your productivity vs. distraction levels against that of your colleagues.  Maybe most embarrassingly, it charts where your time goes over the course of a day (five minutes on Facebook ten times a day starts to add up).

A little window pops up when you spend too long looking at pictures of cute puppies that says: “You’ve become too distracted to use this application. To dismiss this box, click the ‘Ignore’ button, or switch to a more productive activity.”

The app blacklists the most distracting sites, tells you when to take a break and makes you go through a maze when you get too distracted, just like that Internet game you were playing to avoid working!


Obtract Makes Procrastination Feel Like Work…So You’ll Do More Work