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Zenware For Better Focus

by Pete Quily on February 12, 2008 · 2 comments

Less = More.

That’s the concept of Zenware the software category of reducing the increasing amount of clutter clogging our computer screens. Jeffrey MacIntyre had a good article in Slate magazine about it. Via Webworker Daily.

The philosophy behind zenware is to force the desktop back to its Platonic essence. There are several strategies for achieving this, but most rely on suppressing the visual elements you’re used to: windows, icons, and toolbars. The applications themselves eschew pull-down menus or hide off-screen while you work. Even if you consider yourself inured to their presence, the theory goes, you’ll benefit most from their absence.

ADDers are known to be easily distracted so I though some of you might be interested in this method of reducing the temptations to distract out on several programs while you’re working on one. Since many ADDers are known to be running several programs at once, let alone several browser windows in several browsers, sometimes you may want to take a break from all that multitasking with a bit of Zenware.

Webworker Daily gives a useful list of those Zenware apps. More are in the comment section

I like the Mac based Writeroom (Windows users can try Darkroom), it’s a word processor that blanks out the whole screen so you get no screen distraction at all.

Backdrop fills your screen with a blank screen so you can focus on one app or take screenshots Dropcloth for Windows users.

The zenware concept reminds me of the time I spent in some of the Zen rock gardens in Kyoto Japan. Very serene peaceful places. If you ever get a chance to Japan, I’d highly recommend checking them out if you enjoy increasing your peace of mind and presence. If you’re in Vancouver you can always go to the Nitobe Garden (Japanese) at UBC or the Sun Yat Sen Garden (Chinese) in Chinatown if you want to balance out the never ending ADD search for stimulation with some calm inducing activity.

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Rob Blomquist February 13, 2008 at

Openoffice.org is a Office Suite containing word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software, and a database. It is free. What I like about it is that its appearance does not have incredible tool bars that open, dancing paperclips or weird fonts. It just has what a user wants, and a simple interface. Its even boring.

Oh, and I use it maximized to blot out the screen.

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