Update? More like an overhaul.
Our early users have found great success using Focusable. It has helped them concentrate on hard projects, be more productive, eat with awareness and so much more. But since we launched, we also noticed how many didn’t use it as often as we thought, or more specifically, hesitated to use it.
After some time it started to dawn on us that we had some things wrong. What if we were thinking about things in reverse? What if instead of starting our experience by helping you focus, we needed to start by getting you ready to focus?
We saw signs that this was true from early on. Invariably, whenever someone would discover the features we had implemented to help you take breaks after long durations of focus we got an emphatic response. Breaks! We need more of those. And in our community discussions, we kept getting pulled towards the topic of rest and recovery.
What wasn’t clear at first was why these breaks were so needed. But the more we talked, the more we realized the depth of everyone’s battles with overstimulation. Overstimulation from devices. Overstimulation from the demands of work. Overstimulation from social media. Etc.
We realized that we needed to prioritize mindful breaks first and foremost. Breaks to help you defeat daily overstimulation and get you to the relative calm you need to be able to focus.
This wasn’t the only thing we had wrong.
Initially, we thought tracking your thinking was the most important thing to do – to help you build awareness of your attention itself. This matches all the research on how to improve your focus. We felt video was the best way to capture your thinking in real time – so we made it required.
But not everyone understood this or saw value in this. Recording was intrusive to some tasks and many environments. It became clear we needed to back off this requirement.
At the same time we started to realize that we had overlooked something obvious – the importance of time. While timers were already an integral part of our experience to help you focus and we had started to track time on Progressions, we weren’t tracking or setting goals overall. We realized the value of most mindfulness activities in research gets established by time spent.
So late in October we started reworking our experience with these two insights in mind – starting our experience with mindful breaks and tracking time towards research proven goals.
To help describe this new experience, we developed a new tagline – “A fitness tracker for your mind”. This captures our belief that the ability to focus is as determinant to mental health as physical fitness, diet and sleep. You can watch a video overview of the new experience here.
How should you think about using it? Instead of checking email or scrolling Instagram, use Focusable to help you take short mindful breaks during the day to recharge from overstimulation. Use it between meetings, classes or at the end of your day. Any crack or crevice of time will work. All you need is a few minutes.
Then leave the app.
This simple act helps you be more focusable in anything you do. Do it 2-3 times throughout the day and you’ll hit your research backed 12 minute goal. Do it daily and we’ll track it in a streak.
There is a new timer switcher to support this. “Recharge” is for mindful breaks that help you manage overstimulation. You can use the time to do nothing, the ultimate mindful activity. If that’s not for you, we also have a whole new set of activities made to bring you a sense of relative calm. Longer breathing exercises. Eye exercises that reduce strain from too much screen time and muscle relaxation exercises to reduce stress.
What about the focus application? We’ve learned that not all focused tasks require using Focusable. But some really, really benefit from it. So when you are writing, reading, or maybe even just limiting your use of social media and you think Focusable can help – it will be there to help you charge up your focus. It’s just one click away after your mindful break.
In fact, I am using it right now to help write this post and it’s working like it always does.
When you select “Charge” in the timer switcher, that time will be tracked towards your 90 minutes a week focus goal. And you’ll be provided with the same great activities to maintain productive struggle, draw you deeper into the details and keep your energy levels up.
There are countless other improvements. It will require less clicks to use and yet help you do more. And yeah, video is no longer required – it’s just there for you when it makes sense. And we are finding there are still many scenarios where it does.
We’re excited and hopeful we can help improve your mental health with better focus.
We hope you’ll login and give it a try. All it takes is 5 minutes to see the benefit.