It wasn’t that long ago when multitasking was all the rage. Employers preferred those who could juggle many tasks and projects at once, and that fever carried over into Mac applications which supposedly helped us to become more productive and efficient by overlaying different functions.
Multitasking is juggling. Distraction free is what gets things done, hence the growing trend toward David Allen’s Getting Things Done method (GTD). Today we have plenty of minimalist apps and distraction free apps because we’ve learned than a juggler really is doing just one thing at a time (very quickly, of course).
Even Apple is in on the trend with what amounts to distraction free apps in OS X. Distraction free? Yep. That’s fullscreen mode. Many Mac apps these days take advantage of the fullscreen mode to eliminate the visual clutter of multiple app windows on a screen. To see how it works, open an app, click the little green button in the upper left corner of the app’s screen. Voila! Fullscreen mode, and by nature of having only a single visible app, distraction free.
A number of Mac add-on utilities perform similar functions to help users avoid the distractions so prevalent with multiple open apps, multiple windows for each, plus all the background utilities from Mail to Messages to Facebook and Twitter raging in the background.
If you’re looking for a solution to the screen focus issue and fullscreen mode isn’t your thing just yet (the very lack of distractions can be distracting) then try Hides, which does to your Mac’s screen what the name implies.
The Single App mode lets you focus on the foremost app; the one right in front of you. All other apps are hidden so they won’t disturb you visually or otherwise. That’s focus and that’s what gets things done.
Hides is something of a first step toward becoming a Mac power user because it also features keyboard shortcuts so you can switch between apps, clear the Desktop, and get that distraction free visual environment with a couple of clicks.
If fullscreen mode isn’t your thing, and I find it somewhat distracting to have apps which normally don’t use the whole screen take up residence from one end of the screen to the other, then you may appreciate Hides more focused approach to pushing the app you want to the front of the screen without owning every pixel on the screen.
Hides is from the same developer as the famous Cookie app which kills off browser cookies before they can take root on your Mac. It’s one of my favorite set-it-and-fogettaboutit apps.
Hides isn’t set it and forget because you need to invoke it to bring the app you want to the front while the other apps are dismissed into the hidden background, but you can see the value right away. Hides is only a couple of bucks so it’s throwaway money but the developer thoughtfully provided a trial version, too.