You only have 168 hours in a week. How you manage your days really makes the difference in how much you get done. I know people who think just because they are physically at work that they are working hard at their job (Insert buzzer noise here). Wrong answer. You need to be able to fit all of your tasks in AND complete them. Keep Focused is a small application that lets you manage your tasks easily, one at a time.
We have talked before about the Pomodoro Technique of Time Management. This technique is one that I use all the time. In fact, I use it when I am writing, like right now. It helps focus stay on one thing for 25 minutes, then there is a small break. Keep Focused could also be used on a portable USB drive too.
Using Keep Focused
Since there isn’t a lot to Keep Focused, there really isn’t any setup other than downloading it. One you double click on the exe file, you should see a window something like this.
The anatomy of the window is pretty easy to figure out. First off, start by writing your task in the text box.
Once you have it all typed in, you click OK. That’s all there is to using this window. Pretty easy so far, huh? I thought so.
The other parts of the window are where you want the session log to store and to view the session log. If you haven’t used Keep Focused yet, there is no log and you should see an error. After you use Keep Focused, you will see a log like this when you click the View Session Data File button.
What Keep Focused looks like while running
When you have your task entered, the window will disappear. You will see a small little window thingy that pops up in the middle of your screen that stays on top of all other windows and applications.
Keep Focused will count down from 25:00 to zero. When this happens, you will get an alarm to let you know to take a break.
When you acknowledge the 25 minutes are up, the counter starts over with a 5 minute break. This is when you can check your Facebook or SMS messages.
Because the little window starts out in the middle of your screen, you will likely need to move it. If you hover over the small hand icon to the left of the window, you will see a cross appears. when you see this cross, you will be able to click and drag the window where you want it to be.
If you finish your task early, you can click on the white box next to the hand icon to stop the counter. This box is NOT a pause button. The point of the application is to keep focused on the task at hand, not pause it every 3 minutes to check your phone or comment on Facebook or Twitter.
Like I mentioned earlier, Keep Focused is very small and can be run from a USB stick. This makes it ideal for using while mobile or if you are working on a shared computer. If you try using the Pomodoro Technique for a couple weeks, heck, even a couple days, you will see that once your body quits fighting the urge to give in to distractions, you probably won’t go back to your old ways.
What is your biggest distraction while working?