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Displaying current focus in i3

I've set up i3 to display the task I'm currently focusing on in the top bar by hacking together a simple solution using i3blocks, zenity and a bunch of shell scripts.

Motivation🔗

This is especially good for procrastinators since you'll constantly be reminded of what you should focus on and have no excuses to veer off into doing something else.

Implementation🔗

First, add a new block script under ~/.i3/blocks. Let's call it focus.

> cat ~/.i3/blocks/focus
#!/usr/bin/env bash

test -f /tmp/focus && cat /tmp/focus

It will simply output the content of the /tmp/focus file if it exists.

Wire it into i3blocks by adding a section to ~/.i3/i3blocks.conf

[focus]
min_width=700
align=left
color=#ffffff
label=
interval=2

Next, we'll need a script that prompts us for input when we want to change the focus text:

> cat ~/.i3/change-focus.sh

#!/usr/bin/env bash

out=$(zenity --entry --title="Change focus" --text="Focus on: ")
if [[ "$?" == "0" ]];
then
    echo "$out" > /tmp/focus
fi

Finally, we'll want to add a keybinding in ~/.i3/config:

# set the task you want to focus on
bindsym $mod+space exec --no-startup-id ~/.i3/change-focus.sh

Demo🔗

The end result looks something like this:

Focus Dialog Demo


Last update: 2020-04-15