Working from home? How to stay focused on working with a Virtual Coworker on FocusMate


When you are in your 9-5 (or 8-9) job, you fantasize about how great it will be working from home. How your productivity will go off the roof because you no longer waste time in traffic while commuting to work.

Well, the reality is, working from home comes with all sorts of challenges, and your productivity could take a severe beating if you’re not careful. When you sit down at your computer desk at 8 AM, you suddenly remember all the ‘little’ house chores you can do quickly before you embark on your work.

So you move away from your computer and go off to do the ‘little’ chores. When you are done and come back on your computer desk, you realized it is almost midday by your computer clock. You start panicking because the day is almost half-gone, but you haven’t really started your work.

Sure, commuting to the office comes with its fair share of hustle and bustle; especially with traffic as crazy as Nairobi’s. However, once you are at the office, the ambiance is set for work, plus you always have help at the office to get those ‘little’ chores done. All you have to worry about is getting your job done.

But if office work is not for you, then you still can have your work-from-home setup, but use online tools to get you always focused on your project. We now introduce you to FocusMate, an online platform where you meet follow work-from-home buddies, whom you can pair-up and keep checking on each other to ensure you are actually spending your time at home finishing on your project.

As it works out, you sign up on FocusMate, and state what the time during which you will be working. For instance, you can say you will be working from 8am-11am, then take it up again in the afternoon from 2pm-6pm, and finish it up from 10pm-12am. The site then matches you with another user who has set up such a time, and you get connected via video chat.

You can then tell each other what you will be working on, and pledge to motivate one another to stay focused on the project at hand. Both of you obviously run the risk of sparking it off and getting carried away from being each other’s watchdog and kindling some video chat fetish, but with discipline, the platform can prove invaluable to helping you stay focused.

The idea behind FocusMate is that it tries to create a virtual workmate environment. Just think of it like you are working in the office with your coworkers around you. You will not want them to think of you as a slacker, so you will stay on your work and keep at it throughout the designated working hours.

The same concept applies to FocusMate, your virtual coworker will be sort of a watchdog, (and you theirs) and encourage each other through to the completion of the project.

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