Full-screen mode is not for everyone. Some people prefer to work with several windows at once instead of dedicating the whole screen for a single application. The problem is surfacing when you have more than fifteen windows opened at once — each window is persistently asking for your attention.
I’m working on an article with Evernote, Slack, and Safari each running a separate window in the background. The only way I can identify the active application, but not the active window, is by looking at the application name sitting beside the Apple icon in the menu bar.
Full-screen mode is touted to be the solution for distraction — you work with one window at a time. But, we rarely work with just one application. References may come from the notes you took in Evernote. Collaboration happens through a communication channel like Slack.
We have to find a balance between focus and interaction. I need these windows to coexist with each other, but I also want to maintain laser-focus writing environment. I need to know which window is currently selected so I can avoid executing a wrong shortcut.1
With Hocus Focus, I can hide inactive applications after a specified amount of time to free up some space on the desktop, but it doesn’t solve the problem with several windows overlapping each other.
The solution, when you think about it, is simple. We just have to dim the inactive application windows. HazeOver is an application that brings the focus to the active window by dimming the rest of inactive windows with a layer of solid background color on top of them. You can even customize the opacity and background color.
HazeOver is one of the utility I must install when I’m setting up a new Mac. It’s made for people who with several windows at once. If you’ve been feeling the frustration of having too many windows on your desktop, try using Hocus Focus and HazeOver to dim away those distractions.
Gmail users who have enabled the shortcuts will know that mistyping several characters can lead to archiving emails that you haven’t read.↩