If you want to talk to someone who has really embraced using Focusable to begin changing the way he and his students work, you should talk to Keith Piccard. “I’ve experienced nothing but gains out of using Focusable,” he explains. “I used to be more about trying to multitask, and now I’m more focused on one thing at a time.”
Keith already finds that he’s pretty good at context switching – adjusting his brain to new situations when needed. This includes turning completely off from work when he’s spending time with family or out in nature. But when he’s lesson planning, reading student work, or preparing for the day, he loves creating a Progression. “The time feature almost makes me competitive with myself,” Keith says, “I think, ‘I wish I had 30 more seconds’ which helps me know that I was actually in flow.” He loves the commitment to one action he now sees from himself, especially in the morning when it can be easy to get overwhelmed about where to start. “I now associate Focusable with being productive.”
Like so many high achievers, Keith often needs help taking that pause to reset and refresh his mind. “I like stepping away and breathing to get me out of the bubble of work – that’s something that I need reminders with.” Focusable’s prompt to take a break, as well as built-in breathing and visualization exercises, help to make stopping just as much a part of the Progression as active work. This kind of meta-awareness is what Keith is hopeful of developing in his Grand Valley State university biology students.
Keith first started introducing Focusable to select university students while we were still in beta. Now he can’t keep it out of their hands. “ One of my new students overheard me talking about Focusable with someone else. He initiated the conversation, and asked if he could use it, too. He’s a good, solid student, but is admittedly very distracted and is really looking to work on it. Well, he was raving about Focusable in class yesterday – it really helps him stay focused and engaged with his own thinking and behavior.” Keith speaks of this student’s commitment to his own progress with pride, but also says the inquiry hasn’t stopped with him. “Since then, others have now been asking if they can try it – so I sent them all a link to join our class group.” We can’t wait to see where this group takes their awareness, focus, and mindfulness after a few weeks have passed.
Keith’s willingness to experiment at the university level is serendipitous; we had not considered post-secondary school a primary use case at this time, but it’s proving inspiring on a few levels. “I have a lot of ex-military,” says Keith. “One of them told me, ‘I can really see how this could help people with PTSD.’ And [in the same conversation] I then gave him tips on how I’d use it for studying.” The undergraduate experience brings with it a lot of mental weight and expectation that you suddenly need to deal with – on top of studying towards a degree. “It’s important to understand where you’re at in life and I think Focusable is really good for that.”