7 Effective Ways To Avoid Distractions Online

By Frederique Bros
on 6 April 2015

I scare myself when I count the long hours I spend in front of my computer – over 60 hours per week and sometimes for not doing real productive work – What is wrong with me?

First, I was browsing social media every hour – true with over 50,000 followers it’s a bit hard not to.

Plus on my Mac BookPro, I have emails, alerts, reminders, a calendar, and the list goes on! As a result, I lost track of what I was supposed to do.

7 Effective Ways To Avoid Distractions Online

Here’s the good news though: there are apps that can help solve this productivity problem. In this article, I share 7 Mac apps that help you to focus, whether it’s dimming the screen, blocking social networking sites, or closing inactive applications. You can use one or mix a couple of these apps to fit the way you work.


Concentrate is a utility designed to help you focus by getting rid of distractions and temptations. To avoid distraction, it allows you to block apps that you don’t need for a specific activity while automatically launching the apps necessary for the task. To overcome the temptation to waste time, you can block websites like Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks while you work.

Price: $29
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later


Isolator is an open-source menu bar application that helps you focus by dimming your desktop with only the active windows visible to you. You can easily customize the app’s preferences to fit your needs, such as filter type, fade speed, and others. Lastly, it allows you to hide your dock to keep you from opening apps that could distract you from work.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7

Focus Mask

Focus Mask is another Mac application designed to get rid of distractions while you work. But more than just putting the active windows on stage with the rest behind the curtain, Focus Mask allows you to selectively choose which window to bring to the front and to isolate a part of a window through easy shortcuts. You can do this either through pattern detection or by manually highlighting the chosen portion by dragging and clicking the selection.

Price: $0.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later


Think is another great open-source Mac application for distraction-free work. You can choose which applications to use by using a transparent control panel that hovers while you work.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later

Spirited Away

Spirited Away is a menu bar Mac application that checks the activity levels of the apps currently in use. The app then hides those apps that have been idle for a period of time, freeing your desktop of clutter and distraction.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later


Houdini is another menu bar utility app that hides inactive applications to help you stay focused. The app sports a simple interface and allows you to configure the settings for each hidden application. It’s inspired by Spirited Away and is free to download from the Mac App Store.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later


Anti-Social takes on a different approach as it only blocks off the “social parts” of the Internet. This means that you and your favourite social networking services are at the mercy of Anti-Social. Simply set the amount of time you wish to block these social sites and focus. The only way you’ll be able to get out of Anti-Social is to reboot your computer, which I think is a great motivator to keep you focused.

Price: $15
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

Image Credit: Depositphotos

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