Look around your screen right now. It’s okay, we’ll wait.

At this very moment, applications are fighting for your attention. Between chat windows, Finder windows, Web browser windows, and everything else, it’s amazing any of us can concentrate at all. As it has become easier to multitask, we’ve become more likely to have two dozen windows on the screen at any given moment. Innovations like Expose makes finding what you want in the sea of visual stimuli easier, but they’ve done little to remove those distractions.

Focusing takes concentration, and concentration takes energy. You can only concentrate on so much at a time, and you can’t create more energy. What we need to do is change how we work.

Let’s limit our attention to one application—any application—at any time. Let’s make it easy to change focus when we have to. Let’s allow ourselves to bring other apps up quickly if we need them, but put them out of sight again just as quickly.

Let’s rediscover how to focus, and get back to thinking.

Becoming Familiar with the Interface

Illumination Panel – This might look a little familiar to you. When you launch Think, the illumination panel will appear, allowing you to choose an application on which to focus—as we call it, “illuminating” it. If you quit the illuminated application, the illumination panel will reappear, where you can choose another app or quit Think.

Backdrop – This is what shields you from the distraction of the outside world. The Desktop and other applications are kept behind it to keep you focused on the illuminated app.

You can temporarily bring a “guest” application above the backdrop by clicking on another app in the Dock. Clicking into the backdrop will refocus you on the illuminated application, returning the guest to exile.

Control Panel – Think’s control panel floats above other applications, and as such, is always available to you.

Think in the Dock – Think’s Dock icon serves two purposes. First and foremost, it’s a convenient way to raise Think and show the illumination panel. Clicking on Think in the Dock is the same as clicking the raise button in Think’s control panel.

Secondly, Think’s icon displays some useful information to you. Notice that when there’s an application illuminated, its icon is displayed inside Think’s icon.

Because clicking in the backdrop refocuses the illuminated application, it helps to know which app is currently illuminated. You can glance at the Dock if you ever need to know – Think will keep its Dock icon updated to help you remember!

Not that you’d ever forget, of course.