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