What went down the last few months and what to expect this fall
There is progression from distraction to focus, and from focus to flow. This much we’re sure of. Thanks to you, we think we’re starting to figure out the sequence of it. This idea of a sequence, if we get it right, has the potential to empower both teachers and students like never before. What makes us confident in this direction is that you partnered with us to make it happen. So we owe a huge thank you to all of our beta testers who gave the initial version of Focusable a shot. And because of you, we’re increasingly optimistic about what it could be in the fall. Here’s why.
What was unclear when we started building Focusable was how the key elements of focus and flow fit together exactly. We released a beta version this spring with our best stab at it, bringing in educators and students from Hawaii to Nova Scotia, all drawn to the idea that we could simultaneously create more productivity and enjoyment in learning. With each conversation, there were insights and redirects in our thinking; little by little, this helped advance our approach. It wasn’t until we were reflecting on the learnings from spring beta testing that we hit a more dramatic breakthrough: we started to unravel this idea of a sequence from becoming focused to being in flow.
What happens after that moment? How do we get learners through this progression?
This is the question we were asking ourselves during testing. We started to think that we needed something to bind the experience together. And that is when we stumbled into the value of time as a binder. Binding learners to time creates accountability, awareness, and a disciplined learning experience. So coming soon, within Focusable, timers will now be at the heart of each activity. It is our hope that with time-binding, the sequence between focus and flow will be ignited, connected, and can be practiced – like a skill.
We also started to think that we needed something to help better order the experience. This was not so much on the screen, but more so in your own mind. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, dwells substantially on how to use goals to do this. We realized that with some simple embedded prompts in our recordings, we could help create a stronger sense of order over how you apply your focus, and set the foundation for more rapid progress from focus to flow.
With timers at the center of the experience and prompts for you to order how you’ll spend that time, we believe that the other Focusable activities – designed to help students push through the ups and downs of getting into flow – not only become more meaningful, but the experience becomes more whole. A big shout out to Laura Kennedy (@Lkennedy37) who pushed our thinking on these individual activities. And thanks to Michael Buist (@BuistBunch), Kealakai Lindsey-Meyer, and Tim Belmont (@tbelmontedu), who challenged the way we approach recording with thoughtful feedback. Altogether, we think this sequence of events brings Focusable to the next level this back to school season.
If you haven’t already, sign up here to prioritize focus this fall and get free access to Focusable in August.