It seems that most Mac users hate distractions, but can easily be distracted. That’s why there are so many apps out there to keep you focused. Here are a couple anti-distraction apps that can help keep you focused.
This app has already been featured on MacApper, so you might be somewhat familiar with it. Think lets you focus on one application without getting distracted by the dock or other open applications. It accomplishes this by putting a solid color background that hides all but your selected application. There is a simple user interface bar that allows you to change the color of the background, as well as the level of transparency.
Pros: Think has a clean and unobtrusive user interface. It’s easy to change the background color and transparency preferences.
Cons: I only have two complaints about Think. First, you have to use its built-in application switcher to switch between applications. Otherwise, the background goes away and you’re back to distractionville. Second, there is no built-in keyboard shortcut for Think’s application switcher. You have to press a button on the application’s panel. For someone who uses Alt-Tab extensively, this is a problem.
Backdrop is a similar app to Think. It will create a “backdrop” color of your choice that will hide applications under it. It has the added feature of allowing you to assign a background picture instead of a boring color. I find only marginal value in that feature since a picture would probably be…distracting.
Pros: This is the only anti-distraction app that I’ve seen with the option of having a background image. I suppose that might come in handy at some point.
Cons: Like Think, this app shows up in the Alt-Tab menu and on the Dock. Also, it does not isolate applications. For example, if you switch between a Safari window and your text editor, both windows remain above the “backdrop”. That kind of defeats the purpose of having the backdrop.
Isolator is another app that will give you the solid color background and hides your desktop. However, unlike Think, Isolator is a menubar application. You can configure the background color and level transparency from its Preferences. Isolator is by far my favorite anti-distraction app.
Pros: It is a menu bar app, so there is no icon in the Alt-Tab menu, nor does it clutter up the Dock while it’s running. It also has the hotkey F8 assigned to turn the background on and off, a big plus.
Cons: The only downside I see about this app is that there is no option to set a background image.
Overall, each application offered the basic functionality of a background to hide all the stuff you don’t want to see. However, I think Isolator does it the best. Check them out and let me know what you think.