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How To Use In The Zone – The Productivity Browser Extension

First Steps:

As soon as you install Focus, you’ll notice a new icon on every chrome browser tab. During your first install, you’ll be redirected to a sign up page. You can also click on the icon on every browser tab and complete your login.

On sign up, the ‘F’ icon on the right will turn into a menu on hover showing all the features available on the tool.

New Tab Control:

The extension also takes control of your chrome new tab. Once installed and signed up, your new tab should look like shown below:

Pin the extension:

You can pin the extension so that it always shows up on the extension bar as shown below:

Guide to Use Each Feature:

Everyone has their unique style to get things done. Therefore, feel free to use the tool as per your needs.

If you don’t know how to get started, here is how we recommend you to use the tool.

Tasks To Focus:

Purpose:

  • To help you focus on the right tasks every day
  • To avoid wasting time on the wrong tasks

How to use:

  • Set 3-5 tasks to focus for each day
  • Start a Pomodoro for each task(optional)
  • Only aim for tasks for the day because the list is cleared each day

Best practices for high productivity:

  • Spend 5-10 min at the start of your day to plan and list tasks to target for the day
  • Don’t use this as your To-Do list
  • Don’t aim for too many tasks each day(Less is more)
  • Peek into the list half way through your day and before the end of the day
  • Aim to target tasks which help your long term goals
  • Mark a task complete as soon as you finish it(provides you a dopamine rush)

Who is this best suited for?

  • Those who begin each day without a plan
  • Those who have too many things to do everyday
  • Those who procrastinate most of their daily tasks to the next day

What is the science behind the Tasks To Focus feature?

When you target too many tasks a day, you’re subconsciously aware that you cannot complete them all. Therefore, you’ll only complete the crucial ones for the day and procrastinate the others for the next day. Eventually, you cultivate a habit of doing what is essential for that day and pushing the rest thinking “I’ll take care of it later”. But that “later” never arrives.

Instead focus on a few tasks everyday and make a committment to complete them. You’ll achieve better results by aiming for 5 tasks a day and completing all of them instead of targeting 10 and finishing only two. In Productivity, less is more. Aim for quality over quantity.

A second reason why you should not target too many tasks in one day is to avoid multitasking. When you have a large list of things to complete, you tend to switch from one task to another. You feel you’ve accomplished tons of work, bu in reality you’ve lost hours on attention residue.

When you aim for fewer tasks each day, you’ll focus on one thing at time and move on to the next. One at a time. When you do this everyday, you build momentum and knock off all your tasks everyday and inch closer to your dreams.

Pomodoro Timer:

Purpose:

  • To help you maintain focus and reduce distractions while working
  • To avoid multitasking
  • To avoid procrastination on every task
  • To challenge yourself to work faster
  • To develop mindfulness over the time spent on each task

How to use:

The Pomodoro technique involves working on a task for 25 minutes, followed by a short 5-minute break before picking up the next task to repeat the cycle.

Before you start a task, estimate how long you think you’ll need to finish the task. Choose that interval and start a timer. Once the countdown is done, you’ll hear a timer to notify you.

Best practices for high productivity:

  • Don’t skip breaks
  • Do not work on different tasks in one Pomodoro
  • Keep each Pomodoro to a maximum of 30 min. If a task requires longer, complete it over multiple Pomodoros instead of finishing it in one go.
  • Keep the breaks short
  • Use Pomodoros only for deep work tasks which require your complete attention(Eg: Your core skills)
  • DONT use Pomodoros for shallow work and exhaust yourself(Eg: Checking emails)
  • Make an effort to avoid distractions
  • Start small – Aim for 4-6 Pomodoros of 25 min a day if you’re new to the technique. Don’t overdo it.

Who is this best suited for?

  • Those who cannot focus on the task at hand
  • Those who are easily distracted
  • Those who want to increase their speed at a task

What is the science behind the Pomodoro Timer feature?

Human beings have a short attention span. Therefore, when you have many tasks to complete, you have trouble holding your focus in one place. By using a Pomodoro Timer, you set a countdown clock which triggers your brain to channel all its energy at one job. A 20-30 min attentive period, followed by a short break helps you get things done one after the other.

As per psychology, we tend to complete a task with the least possible effort. So, as per the Parkinson’s Law and the principle of least effort , you’ll consume all the time available even if you have the potential to finish things faster. But, when you turn on a timer, the clock and your brain starts ticking. You challenge yourself to complete

Lastly, Pomodoros helps you focus on the tasks that matter. if you lack a structure to your day, you’ll find yourself engaged on one task after another until you reach the end of the day. Unfortunately, such an unorganized approach forces you to postpone the long term goals you care about. But, if you set aside a couple of Pomodoro slots every day for the goals that resonate with you, you’ll keep moving forward towards your target.

Distraction Blocker:

Purpose:

To reduce the time spent on websites which harm your productivity

How to use:

  • Automatically populates a list of distraction sites as blocked sites(Social media platforms) when you sign up
  • Add all websites which you waste time on
  • Mention time slots when distraction blocking should be turned on. Allows multiple slots to be added. For example:Mon – Fri: 8 AM to 8 PM, Sat: 10 AM – 12 PM

Best practices for high productivity:

  • Keep it on during your entire working hours
  • Allows a snooze feature which allows you to use a blocked site for 2 min. Use this only when you really need to access the website.
  • If you want to use social media websites during your lunch break, set your time slots accordingly. For example, if your approximate lunch time is 1 – 2 PM, set your distraction blocking slots as Mon – Fri 9 AM – 1 PM, Mon – Fri: 2 PM – 6 PM. Don’t make a habit of turning off the distraction blocker because you’ll make that bad practice a habit. The purpose of Focus is to cultivate good habits, not bad ones.
  • Don’t disable the distraction blocker. If you do, you’re giving in to temptation.

Who is this best suited for?

  • Those who work on the browser for more than 3 hours a day
  • Those who spend time on unproductive sites like social media, news, shopping or random browsing

What is the science behind the Distraction Blocker feature?

All human beings are creatures of habit. Whether you realize it or not, your subconscious mind handles more of your actions than your conscious mind does. Therefore, many of your habits are ingrained within you which enable you to perform specific actions on impulse. For example, you open the refrigerator when you walk beside it or open Instagram even if you phone did not beep. If I asked you why, you’d mention “I just felt like doing that.” You’d not have a clear reason to explain why you did what you did.

One such productivity error is opening unproductive websites between work. The distraction blocker reminds you every time you try to access an unproductive site.

Tab Control:

Purpose:

To avoid keeping too many browser tabs open

How to use:

  • Allows you to set a personal limit on the number of browser tabs open(For example – 10)
  • When you open more browser tabs than the limit, a notification will pop up on the right top indicating that you’re above the limit
  • The app, however, does not prevent you from opening as many tabs as you like
  • Shows you the list of all current open tabs and allows you to close/switch to the required tab

Best practices for high productivity:

  • Use the tool to keep as few tabs open as possible
  • An ideal number to target is 10 – 15(The number can vary based on your profession)

Who is this best suited for?

  • Those who work on the browser for 3 or more hours a day
  • Those who keep too many tabs open

What is the science behind the Tab Control feature?

Keeping too many tabs impairs productivity in the following ways:

  • Finding the right tab takes extra time. Even though it’s only a few seconds, the number tallies up to a significant amount when you work for long hours on the browser.
  • Every open tab consumes your computer’s resources. The more tabs open, the higher the chances of your system slowing down thereby slowing you down too.
  • An open tab creates a trigger for a distraction. When a Facebook tab is open, it shows the notification count on the tab itself. You feel the urge to click that tab and check what it is. Similarly an open Amazon tab can trigger you to randomly look for an item to shop.
  • When you keep too many tabs open, the tab block becomes smaller and smaller making the heading difficult to read. Therefore, even if you want to close some tabs, you cannot figure out which one is which. Having the entire list of open tabs provided as a vertical list makes it easy to close unnecessary tab

Make Every Day Super Productive:

Purpose:

To help you make the best use of time every single day

How to use:

  • Use the guided meditation link provided to start your day productively with 5 min of meditation
  • Go through the checklist of things for a productive day and follow them diligently
  • Write down your reflection at the end of each day(What did you do well and what mistakes did you commit, no matter how trivial they were)
  • Use the guided meditation link provided to end your day with 5 min of meditation to destress yourself

Best practices for high productivity:

  • Starting and ending your day with meditation is powerful. If you’re new to meditation, start with 3-5 min. If you’re a regular, you can extend the time.
  • Cultivate a habit of writing down your achievements and mistakes for the day. You don’t need to view them again. Writing them down helps your subconscious mind remember them better. For best results, revisit all your reflections once or twice a month.

Who is this best suited for?

  • Those who waste many hours every day
  • Those who spend long hours working but still struggle to achieve the progress they desire
  • Those who are unable to spare time to pursue their long term goals
  • Those who want to build a structured approach to achieve their goals

What is the science behind the Make Every Day Super Productive feature?

People have the misconception that if they spend long hours working, they’re plodding ahead in their career. But, being busy and being productive are two different things. Many of the people who work over 10 hours a day are unhappy because despite putting in so much effort, they’re not making progress towards a long term goal.

By following this recommended structure for a productive day, you’ll make every single day count. Meditating early morning has many benefits. But, people don’t want to try because meditation is looked as an activity which takes a long time and that not everyone is cut for it. To solve that problem, Focus recommends meditating for only 5 minutes in the morning. To make that easy, the button takes you to a short guided meditation Youtube video(new video everyday).

Today, since most of us are operating from home, we have no segregation between professional and personal life. As soon as you get off our chair, you find your family around and your brain cannot make that switch so quickly. Therefore, you’re thinking about work all the time. If you spend 5 min meditating as soon as you end your day, your mind manages to leave behind the work worries and helps you engage more closely with your loved ones.

Every day you get some things right and some things wrong. How much you learn from them plays a pivotal role in your long term success. Though you’ll learn from your mistakes from the experience itself, you’ll improve yourself much faster if you take 10 minutes to reflect on your day that went by and write down your achievements and mistakes. You can revisit your entire list once or twice a month to remind yourself of what you need to continue doing and what you need to start doing. Even if you never look at them again, the mere process of writing your learnings down will help you register them better in your subconscious brain.



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