There’s that bloody animation again!
That damn random movement in the bottom right corner of Google Docs just destroyed my concentration. This morning I almost had that perfect word for the dullest sentence in my masterpiece but now it’s gone. I might as well go look at the cute puppy pictures on Twitter for the rest of the morning.
For good or bad, I work a lot in Google docs either because I am writing something that I need to access across different devices or I am collaborating with other team members. So many new features have come online in the last few years that it is finally becoming a tool worth using for most projects.
BUT there is one feature I have wanted to smash with a sledgehammer every since it first exposed itself: the randomly moving, attention grabbing, concentration-breaking, distracting-as-hell explore button in the bottom right corner.
The example above isn’t the random fly-out annoyance that really breaks my concentration. I am simulating it with a mouseover because I won’t let it bug me any longer. If you wait long enough, it will show off one of its several variations of criminal behavior, each more distracting than the last.
Come on, Google! Is this tool about productivity or irritation?
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I have fought my way through hours of writer’s block, finally hitting my best productivity only to have my concentration murdered by that stupid icon exploding into motion in the corner of my eye.
This morning, I’d had enough and brought out my Ad Block Plus hammer to use on this annoying nail.
If you want to join the ranks of the laser-focused, superheroes who have vanquished the beast, just follow the steps below.
Before we start the bash-fest, you’ll need Ad Block Plus installed in your browser. It’s really easy to add, so if you don’t have it already then go install it in your browser first. When you see the comforting stop sign show up in your browser, go to your document in Google Docs.
Saving sanity one step at a time
Here are two easy ways to block the animated Explore button.
Easy way #1 (only 2 steps — preferred)
In the Google Docs tab (aka, your document), click on the ABP stop sign and click on the Options choice in the drop down.
In the Ad Block Plus options view, click on the Add Your Own Filters tab and paste the two filter rules below in the text box one at a time, clicking the “+Add Filters” button after each. You should see them appear in the larger box.
Filter Rule A:
Filter Rule B:
IF Easy way #1 worked, then skip to the TA-DA! below “Easy way #2.”
Easy way #2 (sorta 3 steps)
In the Google Docs tab (aka, your document), click on the ABP stop sign then click on the Block Element option in the drop down.
As you mouse over your browser window different parts will highlight in yellow. Highlight the entire button, not just the text or icon.
When you click on the yellow highlighted button you will see the Block Element tab appear. Click Add.
If you read through “Easy Way #1” you probably noticed that there were two rules but you only have one. To get the other rule, wait until this bugger shows up again in its second, even more annoying form and go through the same “Block Element > Highlight > Select > Add” steps. You will then have blocked both.
If that Explore button isn’t already gone as soon as you go back to your Google Doc browser tab then hit reload your page and it will vanish.
Now go do something productive with all that focus and sanity.
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Why do I jump through these hoops and not just try harder to ignore the frustrating bits of chainsaw shrapnel that life throws at me? Because I want to get the most out of my time and efforts. Part of that plan involves working from home. If you are trying to work from home, check out the other Stercus Creek articles, webinars and videos.
And if you happen to be in a dev bootcamp or finishing up a degree and want to work remotely, then check out the only webinar that will get you the remote job you want.