Your screen is your working desk. Every pixels on the screen should support you to finish the main task on hand. They should never distract, complicate, or clutter.

One way to shut down distraction is to turn off useless notifications. But that’s not enough. When working on a task, you rarely use single app — even creative task like writing needs references.

Let’s do a quick test. If you use Mission Control, try to activate it and see how many windows are on the screen. If you don’t, try to hit Command-Tab and see how many active apps are running. You probably don’t need all these active apps or windows for your task.

Inactive apps and windows are redundant

Without doubt, they’re useless. When dealing with enormous of useless information, your energy depletes faster to filter out the essential from junks.

It’s like when you’re trying to pick out several red marbles from the jar full of blue marbles. You have to take out the whole jar, separating the red marbles from blue marbles, carefully putting the blue marbles back into the jar. Everything you’ve done is for picking out the red marbles.

What if the jar is only full of red marbles?

You’re no longer exhausting effort to separate the marbles. Everything you pick is right. When everything are essential on the screen, you won’t drift away from what you’re supposed to do.

How to hide inactive windows automatically

There are several ways to hide inactive windows automatically. You can either turn on single window mode via Terminal, or use Houdini to hide inactive apps after certain fixed time. You can also select an app icon from Dock while holding Option-Command to hide other windows.

Houdini is heavily inspired by Spirited Away, a similar utility to hide inactive apps that stay inactive for a period of time.

Configure Houdini Time Setting

With Houdini, you can set the time period for each app before they get hidden. Houdini will list all the running apps in the menu bar where you set the amount of time from fifteen seconds up to five minutes. You can drag the slider to the left edge if there are any particular apps you want them to stay visible all the time — eg. Using Marked and Writer Pro during editing.

So you’re no longer need to take out all the marbles; Houdini will do the job. All you need to do is a single swipe of Mission Control to show all the important windows on screen.