Showing posts with label Focus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Focus. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2022

Best of 2022 - Using Focusable as a Progress Journal

As I do at this time every year, I'm taking the week off to ski and play with my kids, shovel snow, and generally not think about work. I have some of the most popular posts of the year scheduled to republish this week. New posts will resume in the new year.

About a month ago I started using Focusable to help me focus on my work even when I really didn’t want to. That includes working on a particularly frustrating project that I have to get done. The project is rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website from the ground up. That includes rebuilding and or editing some databases and doing a lot of quality assurance checks. The work is rather tedious, frustrating, and something I’d just pay someone else to do if I could.

I started using Focusable to help me focus on the work of rebuilding my Practical Ed Tech website. It has helped a lot! I’ve gotten more done in the last few weeks than I did all summer. Last week while recording my reflection in between time blocks in Focusable I realized that I was journaling my progress. In each reflection I was stating what I had just tried and what I was going to try next.

When I start to work on my project again today after a weekend away from it, I’ll watch my last Focusable reflection video to remind myself of where I was when I stopped and where I need to start the next step of the project.

Applications for Education
Focusable was built for the purpose of helping students learn how to focus on their work while ignoring distractions. An ancillary benefit of using Focusable is creating a little journal to document progress on a project. If you give students a little direction like “state what worked and what didn’t,” they can use Focusable to develop the skill of focusing while also documenting their progress on a project. You can then use your Focusable teacher account to view your students’ progress.

See A Great Tool to Help Students Learn to Focus for a complete overview of how Focusable works.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Three More Ways Focusable Can Help You Focus

Disclosure: Focusable is an advertiser on my websites. 

Last week I wrote about how Focusable is helping me get things done more efficiently. That blog post featured how Focusable works once you start working. What that blog post left out was how Focusable can help you get started when you have a task to do but you'd really rather not do it. 

When you're having trouble getting started on a task that you need to do, try one of the pre-work exercises that Focusable offers. When you are signed into your Focusable account you'll find breathing exercises, visualization exercises, and stretching exercises that are designed to help you focus and get started on your work. In this brief video I provide a demonstration of where to find those exercises and how to complete them.



For a complete overview of what Focusable is, how you can use it, and how you can use it with student read this article or watch the overview video that is embedded below.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Three Ways Focusable is Helping Me Be More Productive

Disclosure: Focusable is currently an advertiser on my websites.

In the past I’ve used browser extensions to block websites that distract me from getting work done during my day, but eventually I would still find a way to distract myself. Recently, I started using a different approach thanks to the help of Focusable. Focusable is not a browser extension. Focusable is a tool to train yourself to focus on the work that you need to do. So far, it has been quite helpful whenever there is something that I need to do, but just can’t seem to get started doing.

I’ve been using Focusable for almost two weeks now. Here are the ways that it has helped me use my time a bit better during my work day.

I can do anything for five minutes!
I can do anything for five minutes. I can use those five minutes to mindlessly scroll Instagram looking for a quick dopamine hit or I can start working on a task that you need to get done. Focusable has helped me use those five minutes to get things done.

In Focusable you create something called “progressions” which is another way of saying goals or tasks that you need to complete. Each progression begins with a five minute block of time. Often, the first step in getting something done is just starting to work on it. Whenever I’ve started a progression in the last two weeks, once I complete the first five minute block I’m ready to keep working on the task at hand. In other words, working for just five minutes is enough to get me in a flow to keep going.

No more “I’m just going to look for a minute” breaks.
Focusable progressions have time blocks of five, ten, and twenty minutes (you can adjust the times, but those are the default recommendations). The goal is to work on your task nonstop during those time blocks. Between each block Focusable prompts you to reflect and breathe. I’ve found it to be a fun exercise to not look away from what I’m working on until I hear the chime from Focusable telling me to stop. Previously, I would just stop and take a break whenever I felt like it, which could mean a break after writing one sentence or after two hours of picking my way through a difficult problem.

Resetting With a Focused Break
For the last month I’ve been working on a particularly vexing problem with one of my websites. I’ve had moments when I wanted to chuck my laptop like a frisbee! It’s in those moments that I need to walk away and reset, but not walk away for too long because then I’ll lose momentum. Focusable has been helpful in not only getting me started when I don’t want to work on the problem and it has also been helpful in reminding me to take a break after thirty-five minutes of working on the problem. At the end of every set of three time blocks, Focusable prompts you to take a break away from your screen for ten minutes.

These focused breaks have also been helpful when I feel like I’m getting annoyed or frustrated while working through my inbox or replying to social media posts. Rather than continuing down a frustrating path that leads to me venting, I have the reminder from Focusable to walk away from my screen.

Learn More About Focusable
Focusable was featured in this week’s Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. In that newsletter I also included this video that provides an overview of how Focusable works from a teacher’s perspective and from a student’s perspective.



By the way, I used Focusable to help me focus on writing this blog post.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Focusable Looks Like a Promising New Approach to Online Instruction

Focusable is a new service from the same people that brought us Swivl and Synth. Focusable is currently in a private beta (public beta to launch in August) so there isn't a lot of information available about it. That said, what I've seen so far makes Focusable look like a promising new approach to online instruction.

The concept of Focusable is to help students focus on completing a learning activity (or series of activities). This is done through something that Focusable refers to as a flow. The flow includes a task, a timer, a reflection tool, and breathing (focus) exercises designed to keep students moving toward the completion of a learning activity. It appears to be different than just telling students to "set a timer and work for X minutes" because the flow uses very short timers followed by a reflection and a breathing exercise intended to get students to flow back into the assigned learning activity. 

You can sign up for beta access to Focusable on their homepage. It is there that you can also watch a short demo video of the Focusable concept. You may also want to read their announcement that introduces the Focusable concept and their article about the optimal learning experience

I've signed up for early beta access to Focusable because I'm curious to see how well their approach works. If it works nearly as well as they promise, it could be a great way to give personalized online instruction.