Cold Turkey Blocker and FocusMate

What other productivity software are you working with...
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Joined: 21 Oct 2020 23:33
Location: Through the Looking-Glass

Cold Turkey Blocker and FocusMate

Post by WirlyWirly »

I think a lot of people would consider XY to be a productivity program, at-least I do, so I thought I might share a couple of my favorite productivity programs that have changed my life: Cold Turkey Blocker and FocusMate.

Cold Turkey Blocker: This program allows you to create a list of sites/windows/programs that you would like to be blocked out of. You then create a schedule of when those blocks should be enabled/disabled. If you try accessing one of the filtered items during a blocked period you will be forced out until the blocked period ends. It works REALLY well, I like to break things but even I can't figure out how to get around these blocks. If you find yourself being distracted by certain sites or certain programs then this will literally cut you off Cold Turkey! It can even lock you completely out of your computer, for times when you shouldn't be on it. I use this feature myself an hour before bedtime or when there are other things I should be doing. The schedule itself can also be locked for a certain period of time, so if you're a real masochist you can define your filters and then create a schedule that won't let you disable it for days/weeks at a time! This filter and scheduling system works incredibly well on their own, but when you pair it with FocusMate it's a whole new level...

FocusMate: More of a webapp, at first glance FocusMate sounds a bit strange; You and a stranger get together for a 50min video-call (session) to help each other stay accountable. FocusMate has a calendar with 50min slots. You sign up for a slot, get matched with someone else, and then you both join the call at the designated time. Once you're in the call it's very straight-forward; You greet each other, vocalize your goals for the session, and then keep your camera rolling while you get to work. There's no chatting and most people will mute their microphones. At the end of the 50mins you'll hear an alarm go off and that's when you both check in with one another to see how it went. That's it, easy-peasy. if you do back-to-back 50min sessions then you'll have a 10min break in-between, so the pomodoro technique of focusing also applies. It might sound strange, but the accountability you get from knowing there's someone working and expecting you to do the same really gets you zeroed in on your goal. The site is full of students/workers/artists/anyone with something they need to get done.

When the lockdown first hit in March 2020, I was laid off but I had money in the bank. Rather than look for another job, I decided to take advantage of my unemployed-ness to learn something new. What I ended up doing was using Cold Turkey Blocker to block myself out of distractions while on FocusMate sessions. When the FocusMate session would start so would my filters, when the session ended my filters cleared up during that small 10min break. At the end of the day my whole computer would lock me out so that I'd have nothing to do but go to bed. Without access to my distractions and someone else there to hold me accountable, I was a machine; Everyday I studied for 8-hours, did 2-hours of piano practice, and 1-hour of working out. This was my schedule everyday for the better part of 4 months. By the end of it I had taught myself software development and landed my current job, easily doubling my income and opening up my potential.

Without Cold Turkey Blocker and FocusMate I know I wouldn't have accomplished my goal. These 2 programs literally changed my life and I still use them to this day... My only regret is that I hadn't discovered XY at that time, otherwise I probably could have sped things up :tup:

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Joined: 08 Jun 2022 23:21

Re: Cold Turkey Blocker and FocusMate

Post by thepauler »

Thanks for sharing! I need this even though I didn't get laid off.

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