Focusmate Prevents Me From Becoming A Hermit
Making spontaneous connections with humans became difficult in 2020. Focusmate makes life more bearable (and productive).
Time spent in complete lockdown conditioned me to act with caution. Where it before was easier to engage in the occasional, random conversations with a stranger on the street, all of this is now avoided. No more “how are you” or anything. Instead, there are mutual looks screaming “stay away from me” or “don’t you dare breathe on me”.
What would happen if we have to deal with this for years to come? The situation has already caused a division amongst the people. Wearing a mask *properly* or not nearly turned into a reason to reject or mock the other.
Before 2020 it was much easier to travel back and forth between countries. Non-essential travel is now discouraged and more complicated due to newly imposed travel restrictions. That plan to play digital nomad and live a few months here and then there? That might need some rescheduling.
Naturally, the world has flocked online to find connection, as it’s the only option.
When I started freelancing, I enjoyed this newfound freedom of not having to talk with people as much anymore. I enjoy the flexibility of hopping in and out of coworking spaces. You can walk into a social setting, and be surrounded by human beings and their energy, without having to interact with them.
Little did I know this “feeling of being watched by others” actually helped me get stuff done.
On my own, I don’t feel the need to perform. I postpone and procrastinate and get lost in thought. Hours pass by without getting anything meaningful done. I slack off more than I dare to admit.
What about Focusmate?
Out of sheer desperation, I returned to a platform that I hadn’t touched in half a year: Focusmate.
Focusmate is a digital coworking platform where you book 50-minute sessions with a stranger at any time of day. You don’t pick the person, you pick the time slot. This keeps it non-discriminatory. Ten minutes before the session starts, you’re able to join the session. You greet the partner, share what you’ll be working on, and start focusing for 50-minutes.
Once I returned to Focusmate after a long break, I noticed it did wonders for my work output. It also satisfied my (very low) need for social interaction.
I like the hermit-life, but only to a certain extent. It’s refreshing to meet strangers from around the globe, who could be working in a completely different time zone than you. More often than not I gain a new insight from them through the information they have in their bio. Sometimes we end up having a short, meaningful talk at the end. Because the breaks between sessions are ten minutes if you book sessions back to back, you don’t have to worry about the conversation lasting forever.
Mind you, people hop on Focusmate to work, not to socialize. Some people are more talkative and people-y than others. You have those who like to get straight to the point and get to work as soon as possible. Others need to be catered to with a little more care. The main goal of the platform is still to get work done, together.
It’s like having a study or work buddy there, whenever you want. I can only wish something like this existed when I was younger.
Human connections help
Without this platform, my skills to have light interactions with strangers would further deteriorate as I don’t come in contact with humans much these days.
At home, I don’t have to be social to anyone. There’s no one but me and my three house plants. The only humans I converse with are my close contacts, albeit digitally. The most intense human interactions are those with the cashiers at my local supermarket. Or a wave or “hello” from the neigbors at the downstairs restaurant when we pass each other by in the hallways. I like these interactions because they’re short and to the point. It’s nice to see a different human face than the one staring back at me in the mirror in the morning.
If Focusmate did not exist, I don’t know how I’d motivate myself to get to work, structurally. And I wouldn’t have strangers to watch over me remotely when I get work done, while they get their own work under my digital supervision. I’d just be floating on a cloud in an imaginary dimension somewhere in my mind.
I’ve spent over 700 sessions on the platform. And I’ll probably spend 700 more there. You get three sessions weekly for free. Currently an unlimited subscription costs $5 per month (!), and it can be the best $5 you’ll ever spend.
If you’re struggling to get work done on your own, or you’re combatting loneliness while stuck in lockdown, or both, I highly suggest you give Focusmate a try.