How To Improve Focus and Get More Done

If you are one of the many who use computers everyday to accomplish your work you are already aware of the mountain of sensory input there is coming from that little acreage of pixels sitting on your desk. The call us knowledge workers since we are always sifting and sorting our way through vast amounts of stuff that we already know while adding to that body of information. The problem is how to manage the rate of and appropriateness of what we are faced with.

What really helps is if you can focus on just one thing. It’s a problem for everyone. As an educator I find that children are having a hard time slowing down to reading speed and being able to focus on the subject at hand. Add to this the distractions of things going around us and you have a recipe for wasted time. We have to read things over and over to get the point and thus we become tired and more frustrated because it takes longer to accomplish the task. How do we fix this?

Here is one way to capture what you are working on and keep at least some of the distractions out of view. I mentioned theses little applications once before but here’s how you make them work. As I type this I am looking at nothing but the window in which I am typing. To accomplish this there are three components to getting a blacked out screen so that all you see is one window. No menus, open windows, web pages, clocks or other things to attract your attention.

Step one is simply to hide the dock, you can do this from the Apple menu.

Hide Dock-1

For steps two and three you need a couple of freeware applications, the first is Menushade and the other is Isolator. Menushade simply hides the menubar at the top of your display or lets you adjust the amount of transparency you wish.

Isolator on the other hand blacks out and hides the whole desktop and as you switch between applications only the active application is seen with the rest of background a solid black or another color of your choosing. In the isolator preferences you can adjust colors, amount of transparency etc.

Focus 2-1
Isolator feature active window on black

Apps On Blk-1
Cmd Tab feature showing the open applications. It should be noted that
when you use Isolator you may have to Cmd Tab twice to show all the applications
that you might have open.

We note that this is not the only way to accomplish this lack of screen clutter but this one works pretty well and it’s free.

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