Think: Distractions Not Included

LogoWorking on your Mac these days can be quite exhilarating; with all the wonderful apps and tools at your disposal, multi-tasking has become easier than ever. The downside, of course, is that now there are so many things on the go to help us be more organized, more productive, and more efficient with our work that it’s becoming harder and harder to focus on actually doing it. The folks over at Freeverse are here to help, though, with their deceptively simple piece of productivity software called Think.

Think helps us rediscover the long lost art of focusing by trying to keep the myriad distractions on your screen from actually interrupting your concentration. It does this using a method very similar to the tried-and-tested ways you might remember from writing apps like WriteRoom. Specifically, Think creates a sort of backdrop over your entire desktop, and places behind it all programs other than the one you’ve selected, leaving you with a cleaner visual environment that’ll help keep you focused on the highlighted application. Unlike its similar cousin Backdrop, though, Think does not necessarily obscure the other windows entirely; it can simply mask them with a translucent veil that keeps them from being too aggravating.

The interface is intuitive and simple – striving to be as unobtrusive as possible, in keeping with the app’s general ideology of no distractions. When you open Think, you’re confronted with a panel that lets you choose which application you’d like to be highlighted, or “illuminated” as Freeverse puts it. Once you’ve selected a program all the others are shoved behind the backdrop, and you’re left with nothing but your illuminated program and Think’s subtle control panel.



The control panel is a useful device that allows you to change the colour and transparency of the backdrop, bring up the application selection panel again, or quit Think altogether. The application selection panel will also pop back up automatically if you quit the illuminated application. If you need to look at another window as well, besides your selected one, you can simply use Cmd-Tab or select it from your dock and Think will pull it up above the backdrop. Then, when you’re done with it, simply click anywhere on the backdrop and Think automatically returns you to just your highlighted program.

A very neat little feature that one might not notice is the actual Think icon in the Dock. When you have a program illuminated, its icon is shown inside Think’s icon to remind you of which app you have highlighted. Advanced users should also make sure to look at the Goodies tab on the Think website for instructions on how to use the Terminal to tweak some additional “advanced” settings for the app, including transparency settings for the control panel (including mouse over settings) and even the ability to remove the control panel entirely.

Think is available for OS X 10.4.9 or later and can be downloaded for free from Freeverse’s product page.


7 Responses to “Think: Distractions Not Included”

  1. Matt on March 27th, 2008 6:51 am

    I too have this feature in Vista SP1…
    As I have not activated it has turned my wallpaper black for a distration free desktop experience ;-)

  2. Rory on March 27th, 2008 9:46 am

    I just installed this, what a great app. I’ve already found it is great for using with GIMP, it provides a nice way of keeping all of the docks in the foreground (I always seem to lose the one I’m looking for behind some other window).

  3. Walter Mitty on March 27th, 2008 8:04 pm

    I like this.

  4. Jorge on March 28th, 2008 12:06 am

    Thank you for posting this. It is very useful, and I also appreciate the link to Backdrop.

  5. Steve on March 28th, 2008 7:55 am

    I used Think for a while but was underwhelmed–the Mac already has very similar capabilities.

    i) Select a solid color desktop (via System Preferences/Desktop & Screen Saver). OS X has about 12 colors to choose from. However, I wanted a darker color than those available, so I copied one of the files (from ~/library/Desktop Pictures) and used Graphic Converter (Elements works too) to change it to a dark blue.

    ii) Simply hit command-option-h to hide all other apps.

    Also, if I’m feeling really jiggy, I use freeware MenuShade to automagically hide the menu bar as well.

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