The Focused MacBook Pro

With the Focused MacBook Air project a success, I’ve turned my attention to the MacBook Pro.

With the kind of jet-engine-esque noises the MacBook Pro was making, I was convinced the hard drive was going. Turns out it was just a bad fan. Unfortunately, this meant I actually had to deal with the overfull hard drive.

I picked up a $80 Western Digital 1TB Elements USB drive from Target[1]. Cloned the MacBook Pro hard drive, then wiped it clean, and did a fresh install of OS X Lion.

When the install was complete – I followed the Focused MacBook Air checklist on the primary account.

If you’re going to Focus your MacBook * – don’t use the Migration Assistant – it’ll just pull over all your distractions. Clone your drive and get familiar with rsync.

Then, I created a second account – and named it: 'Mail, Calendar, Chat' dedicated to the communications apps that I’ve quarantined from the primary account (and the MacBook Air).

I’ve also kept the date/time indicator in the menu bar – I’ve found it handy when coordinating appointments and deadlines.

Sometimes, work on the Focused side needs to be emailed or send over a chat. To accommodate this, I’ve connected the Focused & Communications sides with a alias folder (‘Common’) on their respective Desktops [2].

Drop something in that folder on one side, and it’s available on the other.

Clean, easy, focused.

Yes – this setup means to check email, or whathaveyou, I need to sign-into a different account. That’s a pretty good deterrent to being distracted by mail or Hacker News while I’m waiting for a long process to finish.

1. I like Western Digital’s Elements series – they’re good enough to work reliably and cheap enough that you can buy a couple at a time just to make sure.

2. Mac OS X Hints – 10.5: Share any files between users on the same Mac

6 Replies to “The Focused MacBook Pro”

  1. What systems have you used to make it focused though? What stops you from going to gmail.com on the other account to get your email etc?

  2. I use mail.app for email and I don’t have it set up on the ‘work’ side. Same for instant messaging and other communication apps – I just didn’t set them up. I’ve found that having them in another account is an obvious context switch. One I’m much more deliberate about making. After that, its about being an adult.

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