In the internet age, everybody wants a piece of your attention. Whether it’s your latest gaming addiction or the clickbait site you love to hate, distractions are everywhere. And while we like to tell ourselves that we’ve got enough willpower to tune out the noise, it’s not always true. If the digital world is making your procrastination problem worse, you may need a little extra support to help you block sites.
Luckily, there’s Focus, an easy-to-use website blocker for Mac built to shut out distractions so you can get things done. It lets you compile a list of the apps and websites that suck up your time and attention, then blocks them for preset periods. Whether you need an hour of quiet time or a weekly regimen to keep you on task, its customization features can handle your particular needs.
No more aimless scrolling through posts or endless games of solitaire — the app blocker ensures that your time is well spent for as long as you need it to be. Finished for the day? The app is easy to toggle off so you can indulge your guilty pleasures. Here’s how to get Focus to work for you.
Toggling focus sessions
To start a basic focus session, click the app’s menu bar icon and select Focus for 25 Minutes. Once you’ve begun, you’ll see a countdown clock next to the icon. If you need to stop for any reason, click the icon again and select one of the break options. If you’d like to stop focusing altogether, click Unfocus.
You can also create sessions of custom duration right from the menu bar icon. Just select Custom Focus and use the arrows to set the exact time of your session in hours and minutes. When you’re ready to begin, click Focus.
Selecting modes for your workflow
The app provides a range of modes to suit any workflow. To choose the one that’s best for you, click the app icon and choose Preferences. Under the General tab, use the checkboxes to pick from a list of styles. These options include Hardcore mode, during which Focus can’t be turned off, and Password mode, where changes can only be made by entering a password.
Click the Other tab to fine-tune your experience. You can set hotkeys with the top-most field and use the checkboxes to adjust your technical preferences.
Editing your block list
You retain total control over which websites and applications Focus blocks. To edit your lists, click over to the Blocking tab. Use the drop-down menu to choose between the lists of websites you want to block and allow while the app is active. Use the + and - buttons to add or remove URLs from the list.
The Applications tab lets you block individual programs on your Mac, just as you would distracting websites. Click the + button and choose from your Applications folder to stop an app from running.
Creating custom schedules
If you’ve got a consistent work schedule or a big project coming up (finals week, anyone?), Focus can help you designate blocks of distraction-free time.
Go to the Schedule tab to manage your plans on a daily or weekly basis. Use the arrows or fields to specify the length of your Focus sessions, and the drop-down menu to specify a recurring day or span of time. Use the checkboxes to activate or disable each schedule — you can create as many as you need with the Add Schedule button.
When you’re ready to apply the schedules you’ve set up, click Save Changes.