We should have seen this coming. With so many things going on in the world that distract our attention away from what we should be doing, is it any wonder that distraction free writing tools have become a trend?
It’s not just writing that’s an issue, though. Productivity and efficiency are at war with the growing multitude of distractions that occur throughout the day, and few are worse than what happens while we’re working on our Macs or using iPhone or iPad. The applications we use each day can be productive for us, but we’re inundated with Notification Center alerts for Facebook, Twitter, Mail, Skype, FaceTime, and a gazillion other apps vying for our attention.
What we need is a distraction free app that frees us from the distractions. That’s Focus, a simple Mac Menubar utility which creates an optimal work environment on your Mac by prohibiting you from opening or using specific apps during specific times.
What Focus does is block websites and apps from starting so you can stay focused on whatever you’re doing.
Focus sounds complex, and indeed there are plenty of thoughtful options to give you granular control over what you do on your Mac and when you do it, but the learning curve is gentle so it works immediately but can be customized to handle a rigorous, convoluted work schedule.
Focus blocks websites from being used in Safari, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. That means you choose which website NOT to use during a specific time period. No Facebook. No browsing. Just work. And no distractions.
Focus can be used as a Pomodoro timer to break down your work– free from distractions– into small segments of time (Pomodoro style) which ends up making you more productive with less effort.
Built-in to Focus is a little motivational tool which pops up a motivational quote whenever a distracting website is blocked. It comes with dozens of such quotes but you can customize the library and add your own.
And, yes, Focus blocks other Mac apps that tend to be annoying while you’re trying to get some real work done. Say goodby to Twitter, Skype, Mail and others that always seem to interrupt you just as get into, well, focus.
Focus is somewhat similar in function to OneFocus, another Mac utility which gives you even more granular controls over which apps can be used during a time period, effectively blocking all other apps. That makes OneFocus a bit easier to use, yes, but also easier to break from the routine of staying distraction free.
Remember, your time is valuable. You only get so many minutes and hours in your lifetime, so focusing on what needs to be done instead of being distracted by seemingly urgent activities that do not result in accomplishment, rewards you beyond expectations.