I’ve tried just about every productivity hack, tip, and methodology. Over the past decade and a half I’ve researched tons of methods for improving my ability to get stuff done. Some work, some don’t, all of them wear off.

At the end of the day my ability to get something done comes down to a combination of personal energy reserve, technical ability to complete the task, collaboration with team mates, and one other crucial ingredient. Over the short term I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. However, over the long term, my ability to show up day to day and keep pushing on a project is directly related to the level at which the project pushes me. If something is too easy it’s hard to stay excited and motivated. If something is too hard I feel blocked and overwhelmed.

This ability to find something just hard enough, just at the level of challenge, enough to engage me – frankly, that’s something I live for and search for.

When all of these components line up I’m able to enter a state of flow, and that is a beautiful thing. I’m a designer for a variety of reasons. I love the outcomes of my work, seeing things grow and bring joy and value to others. But there’s another component that’s equally important. The act of doing, The Practice, the showing up each day, matters. I want to get into a state of loving what I do, of striving to learn, of forgetting time for hours on end and pouring over ideas to create something better. If a third of my life is devoted to work I want to enjoy that work.

So, to bring that full circle to my point, I listened to a recent Focused episode, interviewing the Founder of Focusmate. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’m blown away. I’ve heard about Focusmate before, had it in my mind as something to try eventually. Thanks to the episode I gave it a try and dove in. Now I’m 3 sessions in and ready to throw a bunch of superlatives out there and tell everyone how amazing it is.

Granted, this is new, and perhaps this will wear off as well. However, there’s something special about meeting with another person, telling them for a moment what you plan to do, then having them as an accountability partner over the next 25 minutes. I love it, and I’m hooked, and want to explore where this goes over the coming days.