March 9

There’s got to be a better way! Focus Tools

Focus Tools


This week’s question comes from Beth herself: This week I’m assembling the best tools to help me stay on track as I push toward the finish line on Book #4. Help me stay focused… What tools can you add to this list?

Candy J: Question on focus tools – my answer from a small office of five folks. Microsoft Outlook is pretty robust, and if we all share a Master calendar, we won’t overbook, schedule on top of things, or miss appointments. With the color-coding option for each calendar event, we can see classes, meetings, luncheons, vacations, outside meetings, show what room it will be in, and all the details of it for everybody to know. Then the Meetings function allows you to send the upcoming meeting and agenda in one email to the whole group, attach it to the members’ calendars and (hopefully) have a clean attendance list for planning. With five folks and 1600+ members, any little no-cost option that works is stellar!

Aaron G: I saw this gadget and thought it was impressive! I believe something like this could really help me to stay on-task and maximize efficiency.

Danya: Strict Workflow is another neat Chrome Plugin that does the Pomodoro timer thing, plus blocking sites. Freedom was great to help me achieve my 2016 goal to give up social media (and I lived to tell the tale), and again for this year’s goal of not reading the news. I also have it set to Nokia-ise my phone after 8pm (it can only call and text). I do something similar in Word for the Outline, but I like to keep it open all the time, so I create a table of contents and then Window > New Window (Mac Word 2016). Then I keep this on a second monitor. Your way is better for moving sections of text though – thanks! My favorite pomodoro-style iOS app is Forest. It grows a tree, and if you leave the app before your 25 minutes is up, the tree dies. Who wants to be an unproductive tree killer? You can see all your productivity for the day adding up into a Forest and earn points. The points can be used for different “trees”, or to donate towards planting read trees.

Dan D: Check out It has had a huge impact on my productivity. It is based on Toyota’s kanban (billboard) system and it has a built in Pomodoro timer. The free version is amazing and perfect for solo.

Lance E: I play music in the background either from Pandora, a USB drive, or music on my computer. It helps me focus. It is usually instrumental music. When the day is really bad, there is a version of “Silent Night” that really relaxes and focuses me!


There's Got to Be a Better Way




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