When you work a traditional 9-to-5, working from home (for yourself) can feel like a real treat. You sit in a comfortable chair of your choosing, you can blast music as loud as you want, and pants are optional.
But anyone who works remotely full-time or runs their biz from their home office knows: it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Much of the time, you’re fighting distractions that are pulling you away from your work. Thankfully, Focusmate can help you… well, focus. We talked about productivity and human habit with Focusmate’s creator, Taylor Jacobson, on this week’s episode of Wealth by Design.
[01:46] Who Taylor is and how he created Focusmate
[05:05] How Focusmate uses virtual coworking to help you get work done
[07:48] The versatility of Focusmate (it’s not just for paperwork!)
[09:00] How Focusmate creates a distraction-free environment
[10:44] Why we still need accountability in the digital age
[13:18] Using behavioral triggers to get into a “flow state”
[15:23] The three things you need to do to focus
[16:47] The toughest part of running your own (online) business
[19:07] How changing up your scenery makes a difference, too
[21:10] The ways that community input advise Focusmate’s growth
[24:24] Why the traditional workplace needs to evolve
[27:36] How Taylor’s life would change in “revivement”
[28:47] The non-sexy big thing that Focusmate is working on right now
Procrastination is a drag. Avoiding something may feel good in the moment, but it just creates even more stress in the long run. But even though we know that procrastination is “bad” and productivity is “good,” that doesn’t make it any easier to actually get our work done. Especially when you’re your own boss.
Focusmate works because you have an accountability buddy to keep you in check. Here’s how it works:
When you join a Focusmate session, you’re paired with a random coworker — and they come from all over the world! But you can set up private groups if you find that you’ve matched up with some really great people in the past. Taylor mentioned that one of Focusmate’s goals in the future is to allow users the option to choose their favorite partners to work with individually.
After hearing Taylor explain how Focusmate works, we assumed that its magic worked best on traditional office tasks. Emails, reports, budgets, that sort of thing. However, Taylor pointed out that Focusmate isn’t limited to work. You can use it for other things on your to-do list, like self-care practices, workouts, or meditation. Focusmate is incredibly versatile. Fun, right?!
How does the methodology behind Focusmate work? Dustin mentioned that he geeked out over “The Science Behind Focusmate” page (linked in the show notes below!). What does it all boil down to? Understanding the psychology behind our actions and using that to your advantage by adapting your behavior and responses to triggers.
Let’s say you set a goal for yourself at work: you want to spend two hours a week researching what your competition is doing on their website and social media channels. You know that this research will help you discover any current trends you might have missed, and it may even affect your own social media strategy. However… you fail to stick to this goal. Other tasks get in the way. (Or, more likely, you just get lost down an IG rabbit hole #guilty.)
Before you know it, the workweek is over and you’ve pushed that task to the next week. And the next. Repeat.
One reason this might happen? You’re setting yourself a vague, generic task to get something done at some point… you know, whenever. It’s different with Focusmate and accountability practices in general. You have a specific commitment to another person, not just yourself. It’s a lot harder to break that commitment. That’s one of the many ways Focusmate works: by anticipating your behavioral triggers and providing solutions for it ahead of time.
Taylor even shared that some Focusmate users said that they were productive long after their coworking sessions even ended! Their mental state was so deeply ingrained in work mode that they tackled other stuff they had to do, even if they technically were “off the clock” at that point. We think that’s pretty cool.
Whether it’s fully remote or in-person, running any business is tough. However, choosing what to focus your energy on in your business is one of the hardest things entrepreneurs face. And it’s a constant battle prioritizing your tasks, especially in the beginning stages. You already started your own business, which means you brought a fantastic idea to life. That’s not the last great idea you’ll have and wanting to explore other ideas can be tempting.
Taylor explained that choosing which business ideas to pursue is something he struggles with most. It really can be too much of a good thing. If you focus your attention on too many projects at once, you lose out on efficiency. And those ideas you picked won’t really reach their full potential if your concentration is scattered. Sometimes you have to learn to say no, even to yourself. (Plus, as you know, we’re not big fans of multiple businesses).
This is just a taste of what we chatted about with Taylor this week. Make sure to check out the full episode for more about Focusmate, how it works, and what to expect from Taylor and his crew in the coming months!
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