Avoid Distractions While Writing With The Block Editor

Published in WordPress.

This morning you probably reviewed the latest highlights of your favorite sport or TV show. You looked at your social networks and replied to some WhatsApp messages. Then you read an interesting article in a website you always visit during your breakfast, which took you to another post, and another… Oops! The hours seem to fly! It’s so easy to lose concentration and jump from one task to the other…

If you don’t want to procrastinate and you want to increase your productivity I recommend you to acquire some of the habits and strategies to be more productive that we are discussing in this blog : tips for working better from home, how to apply the Pomodoro method or how much time we save in social media with Nelio Content, among others.

In this post, in relation to increasing our productivity as bloggers, I’ll tell you about the different alternatives provided by the Gutenberg block editor to avoid distractions while we write.

As you know, when we start a new post, the editor looks like this:

New Entry
Appearance of the block editor when creating a new post.

On the left, top, and right we have different toolbars that help us define different properties and the look we want our posts or pages to have. But when we want to focus exclusively on writing the content of our post, the toolbars are still a distraction. Let’s see how we can change the settings of this editor to better focus on content production.

#1 Hide the Right Sidebar

When writing a WordPress post, the fewer distractions around you, the better. And you probably don’t need to view the Settings right sidebar with the properties of the document or the block you’re in all the time.

How to remove this distraction: click on the cross at the top right of this sidebar.

Hide right sidebar
Click on the cross in the right side bar to hide it.

and the sidebar will go away. If you need it back, just click on the gear icon (Settings) and you’re done.

Gear icon
Display the right sidebar by clicking Settings.

#2 Switch to Full Screen

Another distraction is the left sidebar of the Dashboard. You also don’t need it while you’re writing your post, and much better if you have the full width of the screen free of distractions, don’t you think?

How to eliminate this distraction: click on the three-point icon, Show more tools & options, and then activate the Fullscreen Mode.

After activating Fullscreen Mode, the Editor Dashboard disappears.

Once activated, we can write on the screen of our computer exclusively viewing the text.

Full screen size
Editing the post in full screen size display mode.

And to turn this option off again, click the same icon again and then click on Fullscreen Mode.

#3 Put The Focus On a Single Block

Another interesting setting with the new WordPress editor is that you can indicate that only the block in which you are writing in is highlighted and the rest of the blocks are shown in a less highlighted color.

To activate the focus mode only on the active block click on the three-point icon for Show more tools & options, and then activate the Spotlight Mode.

Activate focus mode.
Activate the Spotlight Mode so that the block in which you are writing is more prominent than the rest.

Below you can see the difference between having it activated or not:

As you can see, in the right image the block in which you are writing in is more highlighted. To disable this option, just like before, click on the same icon again and click on the Spotlight Mode.

#4 Move The Floating Toolbar of The Block o The Top Menu

Here it’s more a matter of taste on whether you prefer to see the floating toolbar of the block just above the block or if you want to have it fixed at the top of the editor, more integrated to the top menu.

Floating toolbar block
Floating toolbar block in the WordPress block editor.

In general, the impact the first time you see the floating menu in the block editor is anything but attractive and that’s why it generated a lot of discussion in the WordPress forum:

As a writing environment, Gutenberg is obscenely clunky. Little labels and toolbars fly around when I move from paragraph to paragraph. It’s visually distracting and disruptive – I want to be able to click and edit without having to worry about a toolbar jumping in the way. The sidebar seems designed to encourage users to go around with font sizes and colors rather than writing. It breaks basic OS-level text editing features like being able to highlight text and drag it to a new location.

Matthew Hollett

To change the toolbar from floating to fixed click on the three dots of More tools & options and check the option Top Toolbar.

Checking Top toolbar option.
Checking Top toolbar option.

Once checked, you already have the toolbar fixed at the top of your editor.

Fixed top tool bar.
Fixed top tool bar.

With this you have removed having floating the block toolbar. Maybe it already looks more like Microsoft Word editor. And of course, to get the floating block toolbar again, you turn the Top Toolbar off again, and that’s it.

Note that one of the complaints about Gutenberg‘s block editor regarding a text editor like Word or WordPress Classic editor is that you can not select and move a piece of text that includes part of two blocks without selecting those two whole blocks. We continue to find this difficulty or problem with this editor and do not know very well if there is an intention to change it.

I personally think that although the block editor may seem a bit cumbersome at first, you get used to the new block operation quite quickly. And the result of the posts and display of the images has improved a lot.

But if you think that, in spite of avoiding the distractions I have mentioned in this post you don’t feel comfortable writing with this editor, you can use any other text editor and then copy and paste your post. Another advantage of the block editor over the classic editor is that it improves compatibility with other editors and the copy and paste action produces better results.

If you liked this post, you’ll probably also be interested to know that you have a course of the Gutenberg block editor (in Spanish) to learn how to quickly create all kinds of content on your website.

Featured image of Chase Clark in Unsplash.

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