How I focus: Two Focus sessions per day.

Makzan’s Dispatch 2020 week 12

10 years ago when I was starting my game development company, I used the Pomodoro technique®. The key point there is to boost for 25 minutes of focus work and then break for 5 minutes. The theory is that we can only focus for 25 minutes before our energy is too low and get distracted.

I tried different ratios for the focus work time and break time. 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break; 30 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break; 25 minutes of work and 10 minutes of break; and even an extreme 30 minutes of work and 30 minutes of break. At last, I settle at something very different. I focus work for 2 hours in the morning and then focus for 2 hours again in the afternoon.

This is a bit more like the time blocking technique from Cal Newport, but not as precious as that. I call my 2 focus hour “focus session”. Here is how it works.

There are total 2, at most 3, focus sessions per day. One in the morning, usually from 10:30—12:30. One in the afternoon, from 15:00—17:00. If I have something urgent to complete, I will have another from 22:00—00:00, after my sons get asleep.

During the focus time, I treat the block of time as if a Test Project competition time in WorldSkills. That’s given the requirements and a well-defined outcome expectation, I try my best to focus and accomplish it. The outcome may be a deliverable or a milestone of an on-going project.

I treat the time as a competition time because when I was a competitor, I know that I can achieve loads of tasks within a short time. During the competition, I had to do it because when time’s up, it is over. In my daily tasks, this mindset gives me a total focus of 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon.

Being highly focus consumes a lot of energy. That’s why having 2 sessions per day is enough. And I only allocate focus sessions in workdays. Besides the focus sessions, I took the time to take rest, or clean up misc. admin stuff, or catch-up with colleagues.

This is how I focus.

Links worth sharing

Github app for mobile is here
https://github.com/mobile/

Color dot font
https://andrepeat.com/color-dot-font

This reminds me the Blokk font and Redacted font.

AlphaGo Documentary is now on Youtube

Free resources online when staying home

Some resources I found to enjoy while staying home these weeks. By the way, I’m reading books from HyRead via local libraries for free. I also keep learning on Coursera and edX, tons of things to learn online.

Vienna State Opera
https://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/en/staatsoper/news/detail/news/the-wiener-staatsoper-is-closed-but-continues-to-play-daily-online/

Audible Stories
https://stories.audible.com/discovery

17 museums from Europe for virtual visits
https://www.demotivateur.fr/article/visiter-des-musees-sans-bouger-de-son-canape-le-plan-parfait-pendant-la-quarantaine-19057

Among them, I enjoy virtual visiting Van Gogh Museum. I also enjoy the interaction of the Britsh Museum.

Cambridge Textbooks (Was free but temporary unavailable)
https://www.cambridge.org/core/what-we-publish/textbooks#

Code worth sharing

Fit text with CSS variable

https://codepen.io/shshaw/pen/LYVBVve

Until next week,
Thomas Mak