Late last summer I embarked on a project to revamp a bunch of things on the backend of my Practical Ed Tech website. It was a project that I’d rather have avoided, but I had to do it. At about the same time I learned of a new productivity aid called Focusable. Since then I’ve used Focusable whenever I’ve found myself trying to procrastinate.
What is Focusable?
Focusable is a free app and website that anyone can use to teach themselves to focus on completing difficult tasks, to ignore cheap social media distractions, and to recharge after completing a stressful task.
How it Works
Focusable is unlike browser extensions and mobile apps that you can use to block distractions. Instead of trying to block distractions for you, Focusable teaches you how to ignore those distractions on your own. It’s a bit like the old, “teach a man fish” idea.
To get started using Focusable you can go directly to GetFocusable.com and sign-up for a free account. Once you’re signed into your account you’ll see a dashboard with an option to “recharge” or “focus.” Click on focus and you’ll see a timer that you can set for as few as two minutes or as many as twenty minutes. Start the timer then go work on the task you need to do.
When the timer goes off in your Focusable dashboard you can record a short video reflection about how you’re feeling. You can also skip that reflection if you want to get right back to work. I like to record little reflections because they become a little progress journal over time.
Focusable provides little recharge or refocus activities that you can do between blocks of time spent working. The recharge activities are things like guided breathing exercises, guided stretching, and guided eye exercises.
Start a Streak and Keep Going
Focusable lets you track how much time you’ve spent on focused work and how many recharge activities you’ve done. You can set goals for yourself and try to keep a daily streak going for as long as possible.
The hardest part of completing any project is often just getting started on it and working on it every day. I’ve found that using Focusable to get myself started on the first five or ten minute block of work time is usually all I need to get myself on a streak of productivity that lasts for a few hours.
Why Do We Procrastinate?
If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard to get started on tasks that you know you need to do even though they’re not particularly hard tasks, watch this TED-Ed lesson on why we procrastinate. It does a great job of explaining the biggest psychological cause of procrastination. That cause being the fight-or-flight response in our brains to tasks that we perceive as difficult or otherwise stress-inducing.