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Why this software?

For whoever downloads the software, my hope is that this software will aid in the following:

  1. Raise awareness about their computer use patterns
  2. Lead them to set goals for how they can better use their computers
  3. Help the many people who are fighting battles (procrastination, trouble focusing, overuse of email/facebook etc.) by giving them a tool that will make it easier to break the bad habits

Why did I create iFocus?

iFocus started out as a small script that I wrote to keep myself from getting distracted while I was writing papers. I noticed that if I was able to ignore all my errant thoughts for 10-15 minutes, I would get in a work mode that would allow me get a lot of good writing done. I decided to add extra features and release a version for the public after thinking closely about the work habits of the other college students around me.

Specifically, the problems I noticed are:

  • Computer overuse
  • The IT revolution has allowed us to do more of our everyday tasks through our computer. But it has also allowed us to do things that we didn't do before. We have come to consider email, social networking tools, search engines and even blogs and forums as a necessary part of our daily lives. However, the outcome is that we spend countless hours with our computers each day and that it is difficult to tell which computer tasks are indispensable and which aren't.

  • The fashionability and attractiveness of multitasking
  • Fast computers and internet connectivity have tremendously increased our productivity. But multitasking operating systems also prompt our minds to work in different ways.

  • The high potential for distraction that our software poses
  • New emails, tweets, facebook messages and contact requests, as well as advertisements, newsletters, software update notifications -- they all stand in the way of what we set out to do at any given time. Just a decade ago, people had a considerably larger ability to do uninterrupted reading, writing, research and even correspondence.

  • The continuous availability of on-demand information
  • It's hard to think of this as a disadvantage, but the fact is that because it is so easy to request information and to communicate, it has become more difficult for us to focus on our ideas and tasks. Because each almost thing that crosses our mind can be taken care of, investigated or relayed to others, it is increasingly difficult to limit the scope of our tasks. The instant and continuous availability of information and communication tools has also changed our expectations about what it is possible to do in a given amount of time.

Interesting research

See the links section.

About the developer

The developer is a undergraduate at Harvard College. He is pursuing a degree in Social Studies and is writing a thesis about philanthropy in the USA. In his free time, he likes building websites.

Personal thoughts

The motivation to build iFocus came from seeing countless classmates develop terrible computer use habits. I don't mean to be judgmental, and I admit that my habits and work ethic are far from perfect, but at the same time, many people will also say that they could be more efficient and productive when it comes to how they use their computers. For those who are not aware of where the improvements could be made, my hope is that the software will reveal where some of the wasted time and energy went (twice as much email as they thought? too much switching around?). For those who are already thinking what to do about the problem, I hope that iFocus will help them stick to their plan and experiment with setting realistic goals.

Contact the developer