(NBC News) We’ve all had to adjust to the “new normal” of the coronavirus pandemic. Some people have discovered they love working from home, others, not so much.
PhD candidate Renee Bradford has a million things on her plate, and when she sits down to work… she needs to get stuff done, but being productive is something many of us struggle with when we’re alone. “There’s the need to just focus and zero in on the work and make the most of your time,” she says. “So I was looking for something that will help me to settle into that.”
She found an online service called Focusmate.
Taylor Jacobson came up with the idea for Focusmate when he started working from home a decade ago. Users book an appointment and get paired with someone else who wants to accomplish something during the session. They meet on a video call and after exchanging pleasantries, simply tell the other person what they intend to accomplish and then get to work, leaving the video call active the whole time.
When time’s up, the participants check to see how far their partners got in their tasks.
Users say just having another person present, even over video, and holding each other accountable makes them more productive than going it alone.
“You feel like you’re extra productive because you don’t want to move because they’re you’re all there together,” Bradford says.