There is nothing to being productive. You sit down and you work, right?
You and me both know that it isn’t always that easy. Sometimes you’d do anything but work. In those times, you call Focusmate, the superhero that gets you to sit on your ass and work.
You know that it’s not that easy. There are things you love working on, things that you always have the time and you’re always in the mood to work on. Those aren’t what Focusmate is about.
Focusmate is about getting you to do the hard things. Those things you don’t always feel like doing, the things you don’t have the time or energy for. Focusmate pushes you to make progress on those things. It pushes you to get started, pushes you to keep going, and ultimately ensures you’ve finished them.
- Focusmate is a free tool that provides you with a “study partner for work” (to keep you accountable)
- The peer pressure from someone getting things done and watching you prevents slacking
- At the end of the post, you can find a detailed guide on how to use the service
- It’s free and very effective in getting you to sit on your ass and get things done
What is Focusmate?
Focusmate promises you to:
So what is virtual coworking? Remember how at school studying with a classmate was always more fun?
Focusmate is very similar to that. Except for the fact that you actually become more productive, not the other way around. (the number of kids in the room is inversely proportional to the amount of studying done)
In a nutshell, here is what you do (find the detailed version at the end of the post):
- Schedule a session with a few clicks on the Focusmate website
- Just before the session (neatly waiting in your calendar), you visit the link for the call
- Enter a video call (that’s important) with the other participant
- Do a quick introduction and share your goals for the session
- You get things done!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Focusmate is the study partner for productive work.” quote=”Focusmate is the study partner for productive work.”]
A video call with a stranger?
No, a work session with a coworking partner. Having another person around while you’re supposed to work is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable.
You see, it’s easy to make and excuse while you’re not working. It’s easy to believe your own excuses. It’s easy to believe your own bullshit. Having someone around breaks that pattern and makes avoiding responsibility that much harder.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Lying to yourself is easy. Lying to other people is hard.” quote=”Lying to yourself is easy. Lying to other people is hard.”]
Peer pressured to succeed
The other day I went to the movies to see the new Transformers movie. I never liked the movies and didn’t intend to go see the new one, but you know… everyone was going. Before I knew, I was at the movie theater buying tickets.
Now imagine it’s 3 PM and you’re in super-procrastination mode. You ate a good lunch and you’d give your left arm for a nap. Sadly, you have work to do. Also, it’s time for your Focusmate session.
What happens when the session starts? Is your partner watching you? Is it that obvious that you’re feeling lazy? You’ve never measured… are you doing enough work, really? Did she notice that moment you were glaring at the wall (and thinking about dinner)?
You should start working because the other person is watching you… and judging you (in silence)! You can feel it.
Of course, that’s complete nonsense. The other person is engaged in work, she’s not thinking about you. Nevertheless, you can feel it. And that’s awesome. You’re feeling the peer pressure from someone working that makes you wanna to work.
- First, you’ll feel pressured to work by just the presence of another human being watching you. This might be a bit daunting, but only for a bit (the productivity boost is worth it).
- Then, you’ll start getting used to it. Not daunting anymore.
- Finally, you’ll have successfully built a habit of working, leveraging that peer pressure. Now, you just feel like working while being next to someone else working.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Just having someone watch you while you work makes you more #productive.” quote=”Just having someone watch you while you work makes you more productive.”]
How to use Focusmate
There are two different aspects of using Focusmate – scheduling and working. This is perfect because in much the same way our brains have a planning mode and doing mode. Separating those two concepts will make work easier. It will also let you plan in a convenient time, in a time when you’re not overly-emotional and your head is clear.
Step One: Schedule
After you sign in, you’ll be greeted by the dashboard:
As you can see, I’ve marked the timezone indicator in the top-left corner. Make sure it shows the correct timezone!
Now, pick a time when you want to get stuff done. Even a few times. You can click on a free slot to let the app find you a partner:
Or, you can just pick someone who is looking for a partner and be done with it!
That’s about it. To wrap up, go to your inbox and accept the invitation to add it to your calendar.
Step Two: Get to Work
It’s finally time for your session. Click the link in your calendar to enter your session.
So here are some guidelines to get the most out of a session:
- Chat at the beginning and the end of the session. Get to know the other person a bit and share what you intend to finish.
- Don’t turn off your camera. It’s much more effective to use it, than not.
- Turn off your notifications and otherwise disconnect to avoid distractions for both of you.
- Post a message with every new work item you’re tackling in the chat. Helps you keep track and the other person to see your progress (and get motivated herself).
- Get to work!
Finally, you can schedule a daily session to ensure you have a few hours of guaranteed productivity.
Is Focusmate for you?
I don’t know, give it a try! I’ve found it extremely useful. I was finally able to finish a work project that I dreaded working on for weeks. Now, I’m frequently using the tool to check items off my to-do list.
Also, check their official guide for the service.
Can’t wait to see you there!