Working with strangers on the internet. It never occurred to me that this could be an effective way to get things done.
Flow Club provides ‘virtual co-working sessions designed to drop you into productive flow.’
The idea is simple: you join a video call with a bunch of strangers, and you tell them what you are going to get done in the next hour. Then you mute your mic, and you get to work. At the end of the hour, you tell the others what you’ve accomplished.
And even though I love the concept, it wasn’t for me.
Because in these sessions you make it ‘official’ that you are going to work on something, I’d shape my environment to reflect this:
I brought my best habits to the table, and started each session with a list of about 15 detailed tasks, to crunch during a 60m or 90m session.
Having your camera on makes you more conscious of your own actions and makes sure you stick to the tasks at hand.
I felt a bit of positive pressure to get all of the tasks I had listed to done.
Due to the social/accountability aspect, you are more conscious of any distractions you might get to face during your focus time. It showed me the distraction trigger I was previously unaware of. Whenever I’d expose some difficulty in a task, my mind immediately proposed a distraction:
Whenever this happens now, I smile cause I can see what’s happening, and I happily push through.
1 - Seeing other co-working strangers struggle with the basics was quite confronting. Some would use these sessions to start their day, literally from their bed, and listed:
as their tasks for the session.
I was happy that they found this tool to help them – and it seemed to work. But there I was, with my super well-defined list of tasks, getting all of them done, and feeling insanely productive at the end of the session. It made me feel bad for those who didn’t.
2 - I was unable to properly listen to my music while I was in the Flow Club video call. The audio quality somehow gets degraded (by my OS) when I’m on a video call (the same thing happens when I’m in a Zoom call). I tried to resolve it but did not find a straightforward fix.
3 - Sometimes when peeking at the screen, looking at others focusing can really affirm your own focus (this must have been a distraction too). But I’ve also been in a call with a ‘voice artist’ who just kept on miming (mic muted of course) in the microphone and dancing around on screen. Highly distracting.
4 - There are also ‘chat only’ sessions, which is the same thing but without verbally discussing your plans and accomplishments with your team of strangers. I found these to be less effective. The act of saying out loud what you’re planning to do actually wires your brain to do it. It’s the whole point and call thing.
I joined 2 to 3 sessions each week, as much as my (work) schedule allowed. I did have time in the evenings, but I’d like to spend that time doing focus work by myself, and not on a video call – those mess with my sleep!
At $ 40/mo, I found the price a bit steep. If this tool changes your life (and it does for some) – it’s a steal though.
Feeling out of place, combined with my limited use and the $40/mo price tag made me feel I’m better off spending this money on a subscription to something else.
The time I spent doing Flow Club was quite a unique experience, it taught me I have my shi*t together and that all I needed was to stick to the basics:
In the end it wasn’t for me, but I can recommend you give Flow Club a try, it may teach you a thing or two.