The number of coworking spaces around the world is expected  to grow to more than 30,000 by 2022. It’s a concept that makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider the growing number of freelancers, telecommuters and solopreneurs in today’s job market.
But if you’re only interested in the focused productivity sessions, and not so much in actually leaving your home office to spend the day in a separate location, then you might be interested in a relatively new concept from Focusmate .
Virtual Accountability Partner
Focusmate is a virtual coworking experienced that’s designed to give you access to other professionals so you can share ideas, get feedback and have accountability assistance for short periods of time. But unlike traditional coworking, you don’t have to actually go to a separate location to take advantage of those benefits.
To use it, you just set up an account online and then carve out 50 minutes of time that you want to work on a specific project. Focusmate will connect you to another user that you can sit with as you work on your project and they work on theirs.
Founder Taylor Jacobson said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “Two users anywhere in the world can sit side by side, remotely on a video call, while they work on their own projects, and business. It’s like going to the library with a study buddy, except it all happens online, on demand, for anyone, and any task.”
The idea is that this type of interaction can help you limit distractions and keep you focused on the specific task at hand. In addition, it can also just give you some social interaction at certain points throughout the day, without you needing to head out to the store or do another non-work-related activity. For solopreneurs and freelancers who spend all day every day pretty much on their own, this can offer a welcome change of pace.
Jacobson had firsthand experience with this type of interaction before launching Focusmate. In fact, it was a session with a coaching client where the idea behind the company really started to take shape.
He explains, “The idea spun out of my former business, coaching executives and entrepreneurs to overcome performance obstacles, as well as my own experience struggling to stay productive while working from home. One individual, Jake, had an investor presentation coming up and was way behind. We both knew coaching wasn’t working and he needed something more hands on. We tried an experiment where we got on Skype together for a couple hours and just kept the video on while we worked. We’d message each other with every task to stay accountable. He was making a presentation, I was writing a blog article, which I can procrastinate for months. It worked insanely well — literally neither of us has ever been so productive.”
Focusmate is free to use for unlimited sessions. You just need to be at least 17 years of age and have a computer with audio and video chat options. It’s also meant strictly as a business or professional platform, so it’s not the right platform for those who are looking to ask personal questions or find friends nearby. You simply show up to your designated time, share what projects you’ll be working on with your accountability  partner, and then spend the rest of that block of time actually getting things done.