Concentrated working

I’ve been using Concentrate for a while and thought it about time to write a few words about this excellent program.

Why use it? Because it focuses my attention and it breaks a task down into manageable chunks.  I have 6 activities – plugins, support etc – and each has broadly similar elements with the main difference being the urls that are opened. The core elements:

  • Quit applications. NetNewsWire, Thunderbird, Firefox, Opera, Unison, MacBreakz.  These cannot be launched while the activity is running.
  • Block websites. Range of my most visited including planetf1.com, toucharcade.com, amazon.co.uk
  • Launch Applications. Depending on activity it is Safari, Mailplane, Mamp, Fraise
  • Set Adium / Skype to Away
  • Open websites and specify urls
  • …..and when it’s all over it brings the apps back and Growl’s me a message  (it says Done!).

I spent some time ages ago timing what I did and how much time I could do something before distractions kicked in and won. Around 30 minutes was good so each activity has a 30 minute limit. A couple of activities I find really hard work sometimes and the thought of 30 whole long minutes is simply too much. So I have a 15 minute version and when they start I get a Growl:

It’s only 15 minutes, don’t get scared now.

It works too.  I do not keep track of what activities I have done nor do I watch the time devoted. Some tasks fill the 30 minutes every time and always will, some are shorter and they too will always be but the organisation works, I do focus more and I am sure I am all the better for it. And after the 30 mins I can get a coffee, scan the sites I like, walk the dog and know I have done something and a manageable chunk is waiting for me.

Great program and one I would not now like to be without. Concentrate.

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