The Art of Practical Goal-Setting: My Experience with FocusMate

Finding time and productivity


Unlocking your full potential might sound like a self-help cliché, but what if there’s a tool that actually helps you do it?

A year ago, I was at 0; today, I’m celebrating my 3,500th session with FocusMate (FM) and will celebrate my 1-year anniversary in five weeks.

The Journey So Far

I was averaging nearly 1,000 sessions per quarter, and while reaching 4,000 sessions in a year was enticing, it would mean cramming 500 sessions over the next five weeks. Ultimately, the arbitrary goal proved to be impractical and counter-productive.

It’s a lesson in the importance of setting achievable goals and pacing, not just in personal development but also in business. Imagine setting a revenue target that’s beyond your team’s reach; it might sound exciting, but the stress and potential for burnout could harm your business in the long run.

The Power of Accountability

Similar to BC and AD for history, there is a clear distinction between my life Pre-FM and Post-FM.

Before FocusMate, a task that should only take five minutes (really fifteen) would sometimes need an hour. Sometimes, project work requiring only a few hours would mutate into taking an entire day.

Accountability partners have been critical in shifting me from being “time-blind” to “time-aware” and focused on one specific task. This focus has improved my efficiency and the quality of my work. Now, I know that the five-minute task is one of several steps that need fifteen minutes to complete. This task would be blocked in my calendar into a 25-minute FM session, and in-depth project work might be two 50-minute or one 75-minute session before moving on to the next project and task.

The Experiment

To reach my 4,000-session goal, I calculated the average number of sessions needed per day and adjusted my calendar.

A normal day would be a mix of 25, 50, and 75-minute sessions. To reach 4,000 sessions in five weeks would require 100 per week; I also had to consider that a day of meetings in the city, going for a bike ride, or being sick for a few days would impact my available time – this might have required twenty 25-minute sessions per day.

The Reality Check

The reality set in at the end of a few weeks filled with 25-minute sessions; I was miserable and exhausted.

According to various studies, such as Multitasking: Switching Costs by the American Psychological Association and The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress by Gloria Mark, Daniela Gudith, and Ulrich Klocke, task-switching can result in a 20-80% loss of time, depending on the complexity of the tasks.

Books like “Deep Work” by Cal Newport and “Hyperfocus” by Chris Bailey discuss the importance of uninterrupted focus, something I found lacking in shorter sessions.

Adjusting Goals

“Switch” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath discusses the importance of flexibility and adjusting when facing practical challenges.

Recognizing the impracticality of my initial goal, I decided to adjust my goal down to 3,750 sessions by my one-year anniversary. These revised goals are achievable and allow for better allocation of resources, be it time, mental energy, or even financial resources, ensuring that I am investing wisely.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Psychological Well-being: Arbitrary goals can lead to stress and burnout. A practical goal is more sustainable and mentally rewarding.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Practical goals allow you to focus on the quality of your work, ensuring that you’re not just meeting a numerical target but also producing your best work.
  • Flexibility: Life is unpredictable. Practical goals allow adapting to unforeseen circumstances without the guilt of not meeting a target.
  • Time Management: Arbitrary goals can distort your sense of time, making you rush through tasks. Practical goals align better with a realistic assessment of each task’s required time.
  • Personal Growth: Setting a practical goal involves a deeper understanding of your own capabilities and limitations, leading to personal growth.
  • Resource Allocation: Practical goals allow for better allocation of resources, be it time, mental energy, or even financial resources, ensuring that you are investing wisely.


At less than $10 per month, FocusMate pays for itself exponentially. My journey with FocusMate has been an enlightening experience. It has taught me the importance of setting realistic goals, the value of deep work, building positive, consistent habits, being more intentional with my time, and recognizing the need for flexibility. I encourage you to evaluate your productivity methods and perhaps try FocusMate.