For a guy who truly believes in Deep Work, I must confess that I’m struggling with the ability to focus. I have a mind that wanders and suffers from the ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’. The gap between my To-Do list that I prepare in the morning to the ‘Got-Done’ list in the evening is embarrassingly large. So, I have been experimenting with any tool or technique that can help pin my arse to the chair and get work done.
So, when I chanced upon FocusMate.com in one of the discussion forums, I quickly checked it out. (see! An example of an easily distracted mind). I signed up for a session and must say that it was an interesting experience. The way how it works is that you pick a 50 minutes slot. The system pairs you with another person who aims to do focused work for those 50 minutes. At the beginning of the session, you quickly introduce yourself and the one task that you aim to finish. This takes not more than a minute. Then you get down to your task. The video camera is turned on throughout the session as a way to keep each other accountable. I did 3 sessions in the last two days and have to say that it had a good impact on my ability to focus. I resisted the temptation to speak to my colleagues or walk away from my desk because I know I’m accountable to this stranger across the World who I just met a few minutes ago.
At the end of the 50 minutes, you quickly share what work you got done, bid a pleasant goodbye and carry on with your life. No networking. No bonding. The focus is just on getting work.
I like it so much that I’m aiming for two more sessions today.