How about some accountability?

May 10, 2020

I recently joined a club that holds “work cycles”.

These are scheduled 2.5-hour group sessions on Zoom, in which every person in the group is just working on their own thing. At the start, we spend ten minutes sharing with each other what we plan to do. Then we work. At the end, we spend 15 minutes discussing what we got done (or not) and how it went.

The first time I joined a “work cycle”, it didn’t go very well. I tried to do a task that required a lot of focus (writing content for my newest course, Big-Picture Productivity) but I found it distracting to see all those faces on Zoom while I was working.

The second time I joined, I made a different plan: I told the group I’d work through as many small tasks as possible—tasks that didn’t require such a large amount of focus. It went very well: I worked through about a dozen tasks and small projects that I had been putting off.

The third time, I meditated (yes, on camera!) for 30 minutes and then got to work on my small tasks. I again got lots done.

I generally consider myself a productive person, but I, too, sometimes face procrastination, distraction, and resistance. Somehow, just being on a Zoom call with others who are also working melts away all of my resistance. It’s like working in a public coffee house, except the effect is even stronger.

If you’re working from home, but struggling to focus, consider doing the same. People have recommended Focusmate to me, which sounds pretty much like the work cycles I did, although I haven’t tried out this particular service.

If you’re not getting much done now, what have you got to lose?