I spend my days working with strangers on the Internet — is that weird?

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

What is Focusmate?

Focusmate is, in their motto’s words, “where life gets done.” It’s a platform that pairs people who have stuff to do together in a video call for 50- or 25-minute sessions. One can do anything they need to do — write, read, study, do problems, cook, clean, play an instrument, meditation, even exercise — as long as they are on camera (practically) the whole time. Mostly, working as I do during North American daytime hours, it means a lot of computer work.

Why would anyone need something like that?

About five seconds after learning that Focusmate existed, I knew I needed it in my life. Remember going to the coffee shop to study with a friend in college? I was that friend who could really only make progress on important readings when we worked together. As for writing, in those pre-laptop days, I would have to do it alone at home, which explains that it wouldn’t get done until I had to pull an all-nighter in the hours before an essay was due. It was stressful, unhealthy, and the essay itself would have certainly been better if I had worked on it a bit every day over several weeks instead of 12 hours in a row right against the deadline.

Do I have ADHD? Perhaps I’m just human.

Since signing up for Focusmate, I have written more and felt better about my work than I have at any time I can remember in my life. Saying that I find it blissful would be only slightly overstated. I have published one long blog post every work week, showed up on social media with a thoughtful contribution daily, created one new short program every month (I teach vegan cooking), and delivered all of my clients’ meal plans on time — and without stressing about it — practically every week. Improving my work — both in terms of quality and raw output — has allowed me to connect with more people (not just on Focusmate!), learn more, and serve others better.

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Brigitte Gemme

Brigitte Gemme

Vegan mom and cooking coach, runner, writer, reader, PhD in sociology, morning person. Chief Meal Planner at Vegan Family Kitchen.