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Boosting Productivity and Well-Being with Focusmate: An Interview with Founder & CEO Taylor Jacobson

Boosting Productivity and Well-Being with Focusmate: An Interview with Founder & CEO Taylor Jacobson

Chené Murphy
In this feature, we interview Taylor Jacobson, the Founder and CEO of Focusmate, a platform designed to help individuals around the world focus and take action on what matters most to them. With the rise of remote work and social distancing measures, Focusmate has become an essential tool for many individuals looking to improve their productivity and mental health. We discuss how Focusmate works, the science behind its effectiveness, and its impact on mental health and well-being. Additionally, we explore future developments and plans for the platform.

What is Focusmate and how does it work?

Focusmate is a community of people around the world who give and receive support to help each other focus and take action on anything they want to do. 

It works by letting you schedule a video call with another member of the community for 25, 50, or 75 minutes to work together. You’re not working on the same thing, just working side-by-side to keep each other company and provide accountability while you each work on your own tasks. 

In the first minute of the video call, each partner asks the other what they’re going to use the time for. One person might be outlining a blog post, while another might be answering emails, doing yoga, meditating, or doing the dishes.  It’s a non-judgmental, safe, supportive space to do whatever is important to you. A large contingent of members have ADHD or other forms of neurodiversity.

You can save your favorite partners to work with them more easily in the future and tell us your preferences for who you want to work with, such as only working with other women, to build your own network or community within the platform.

How has Focusmate helped individuals improve their productivity and focus during remote work?

The average productivity improvement for our users is almost threefold — 161%. It’s a powerful format that helps people become reliable to work when they want to. 

This may sound simple, but for many, time can slip away. The ability to schedule sessions provides a backstop to ensure you get started on any task, anytime. It also helps people stay consistent and productive by continuing to schedule sessions. 

Many users use Focusmate as the backbone of their day, to start their workday and stay consistent. 

Additionally, when users are not working, they feel better.The end of a Focusmate session feels definitive, allowing for the enjoyment of non-work time. 

People also use Focusmate for self-care. 

In sum, using the platform impacts self-care, well-being, and people’s quality of rest. It also changes the way people relate to themselves as someone who can follow through on anything, which is a significant identity shift.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the popularity of Focusmate? Has there been an increase in users due to remote work and social distancing measures?

The last few years transformed the business. Before the pandemic, many people thought Focusmate was a fringe thing or that it was only useful for people with problems. Suddenly, everybody was experiencing similar problems, breaking down, struggling, and becoming more vulnerable, and they were searching for ways to deal with these challenges. The conversation around Focusmate changed entirely during the pandemic as people realized its obvious benefits, and the business exploded.

Can you discuss the science or research behind the effectiveness of Focusmate and its impact on mental health and wellbeing?

There is a significant body of research that supports the effectiveness of Focusmate, particularly in relation to the nervous system and the impact of stress on mental health and well-being. Procrastination and lack of focus are generally caused by stress, which is another way of describing the body’s fight or flight response. While this response is appropriate for real danger, modern society exposes us to chronic stress, which can lead to health and mental health issues, as well as difficulty focusing.

As social animals, our nervous system is designed to work in the company of other people. We can regulate our nervous system with others, particularly when we are around safe individuals. The social factor is critical to Focusmate’s effectiveness. The predictability and “ritual” of the experience also creates safety, further shifting the nervous system into a state of calm, also known as “rest and digest”. In this state, blood flow is optimized to the brain, enabling creative, productive tasks. In contrast, in the fight or flight state, blood flow is optimized to the spinal column, preparing us for survival rather than focused work.

In terms of mental health and well-being, our capacity to focus is intricately connected to feeling calm, at peace, and well. Virtually all mental health disorders and conditions are manifestations of chronic stress. Being able to focus and be productive is an indicator of good mental health in that moment.

What are some future developments or plans for Focusmate? Are there any new features or updates in the works?

Focusmate’s goal is to guide individuals through their ideal day, and the company is working towards achieving this vision. The immediate plans involve helping individuals curate their ideal Focusmate experience by enhancing the capacity to find, save, and easily work with preferred partners. This will be done through functionality around favorites, preferences, and matching algorithm enhancements. We want to help individuals build their community and network within the Focusmate platform, helping them feel excited and safe to get on Focusmate and work alongside their partners. 

To Learn More or Try For Yourself Visit


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