(This is NOT a sponsored post)

Doesn’t it feel like there’s always more to do than time to do it? You have lofty goals and no matter how spiritual you are, you can’t manifest everything. You have to do the work. If you’re growing a business while working a “day job”, raising a family or caring for aging parents, the window of productivity can feel painfully insufficient.

As I write this, I’ve just completed what was possibly the most productive day of my entire year so far, putting in eight uninterrupted hours of work on a client project. That may not sound impressive, but if you really know me, you know that if I’m in front of my computer, I struggle to focus on one thing for more than a couple of hours; after which I’m completely drained and need a nap.

When I was in a high-stakes job in corporate America, I thought I had ADHD and even tried taking medication to keep me focused. I later realized my behavior is on par for my Meyers-Briggs ENFP “Campainer” personality type – it’s just how I’m wired.

When you work for someone else, the consequences for missing a deadline are often a big enough threat to get you focused at some point. But what happens when you’re your own boss and the only one enforcing the deadline is you?

My most effective weapon against procrastination and a lack of focus is a desktop app called Focusmate. From the comfort of your home, office or as it is for most of us these days – office at home – you can literally connect with a work buddy via video to keep each other on track to complete your desired tasks.

How it Works

  1. Decide when to work. Select the times when you want to be productive. You can schedule sessions days in advance or just a few minutes before you’re ready to get started.
  2. Launch your video session. Start each 50-minute session by greeting your partner and declaring your goal. Then get to work.
  3. Get your work done. Work quietly in tandem with your Focusmate and experience the power of human accountability. Need to go to the bathroom or refill your coffee cup? You can’t just disappear. Type a note in the chat to let them know you’ll be right back.

Why I Love Focusmate

It’s Simple

It follows the Pomodoro technique (in this case 50 minutes instead of 25), where you focus on a specific task, set a timer and work uninterrupted until the timer goes off. No checking emails or sending text messages allowed! When your sprint is complete, you take a short break and start another session. I’ve used the Pomodoro technique for everything from writing to organizing my closet. However, before Focusmate, the timer alone wasn’t enough to keep me from drifting off to other activities. Don’t judge me…remember, it’s how I’m wired!

Accountability On-Demand

Most of us are externally motivated – Author Gretchen Rubin calls us “Obligers” in her book The Four Tendencies. If we tell someone else that we’re going to do something we’re more likely to do it than when we simply make a commitment to ourselves. Focusmate added the external accountability I needed to finish this blog post instead of giving in to the notion that the baseboards really need to be cleaned right now.

I’ve hosted virtual work sessions with members of Startup Life Support (the entrepreneur’s support group I founded), but Focusmate allows you to benefit whenever you need it, not just when the people you know are available.

It’s Cheap

You can book up to three sessions a week at no charge. For unlimited sessions, it’s only $5 a month. No long-term commitment.

Focusmate isn’t just for entrepreneurs. I’ve been in sessions with people working on everything from college assignments, work projects, taxes and even workouts.

If you have tasks that you’re struggling to get done or simply want to amp up your productivity with more structure, check out Focusmate and let me know what you think. And if you’re looking for a community of entrepreneurs to hold you accountable to the bigger goals you’ve set for yourself and your business without burning out, I invite you to be my guest for Startup Life Support.

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