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Summary:

If you’re like me, when you are knee-deep in work at your computer, you don’t like distractions.  I have been known to constantly minimize windows to get the desktop clear so I can concentrate on the one task at hand.  It keeps my focus where it […]

spiritedawayIf you’re like me, when you are knee-deep in work at your computer, you don’t like distractions.  I have been known to constantly minimize windows to get the desktop clear so I can concentrate on the one task at hand.  It keeps my focus where it needs to be and it’s not a big deal other than the constant minimizing of the extra windows.

That’s where the Freeware of the Moment comes in.  SpiritedAway does one thing and one thing only: After a user-configured amount of time (I use 60 seconds), any window that has not been touched automagically disappears.  The program is still running and can be retrieved when needed from the dock but it is no longer in my way.  It sounds trivial but I can’t emphasize how big an impact this has made on my productivity to get these distractions out of my way.  My desktop stays clean, with only the window I am actually working in on the screen.

SpiritedAway sits in the system menu where you can configure the time delay before windows disappear as well as temporarily deactivate it.  You can also tick certain windows to be excluded so they always stay visible if desired.  I do this with my Mail window, which sits off to the right on the second screen where it doesn’t distract me.

The latest version of SpiritedAway won’t work on Leopard, I’ve been told, but there is an earlier version that I am using that works fine.  Thanks to Merlin Mann for pointing out this great free tool.

  1. Try Isolator. I got that from al3x’s interview with one of his friends.

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  2. I generally prefer to hide rather than minimize apps that I don’t want to be distracted by. (Other windows from the same app aren’t usually a problem — I cycle through them using Command + `, so typically the window I’m working on is covering any ones I don’t want to see.) I use Command + h a lot: this hides the app which has the focus but one can also hide all other apps with Alt + Command + h. The problem with minimizing window is that it fills up the Dock very quickly.

    What I’d really like is an app that arranged newly-opened windows exactly on top of any of the same app’s windows that were already open — avoiding that cascading effect, whereby each new window appropriates a little more screen space. On a 13.3″ screen, the last thing one needs is windows with territorial ambitions.

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  3. This is what I just need for my virtual work so I could focus on my task for the moment. I love it!

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