Needless to say, keeping up our continued level of productivity during a global pandemic is really hard. Over the past three weeks, I have been very hard on myself about my ability, or lack thereof, to keep certain projects going and finding time to write. As an academic, I feel very fortunate to be able to work from home — it has provided one source of stability during these uncertain times. However, my typical routine has been severely altered which has in turn thrown my writing schedule out the window.
Adding to this uncertainty, now that this barrier between the two is barely visible, is the attempt to distance one’s work and home life. As my wife is also able to work from home, we have had to restructure routines and take turns working in different rooms to ensure we are not encroaching on each other’s ability to get work done. This can be difficult as a simple inopportune request or comment can take one out of a flow state that is hard to get back into (very difficult for me).
Thankfully, before I was barred from going to campus, I was able to grab my Luxafor Bluetooth from my office. It has been a game-changer for ensuring we don’t get disturbed during bouts of heavy work, such as writing (like now), recording a lecture, or hosting a zoom meeting.
Luxafor is a company based out of Europe that focuses on removing the distractions from work, allowing you to be more “productive.” In their product lineup, they have the Bluetooth ($89 USD) and the Flag ($31 USD). The Bluetooth, using a node that attaches to your computer or laptop, allows you to signal your availability to others even at a distance (say outside your office door). The Flag is similar in that it can show your availability, but it is tethered to your laptop or computer which works great in an open office or working at a coffee shop. They have additional helpful office items such as a planner, noise-canceling headphones, and a Pomodoro timer.
Although aimed at the tech industry — they are currently being used in the offices of major companies such as Google, Microsoft, & Hulu — I, as an academic, have found my Bluetooth to be a boon for my work productivity. Starting in 2017, as a newly minted assistant professor, I found myself trying to balance having an open-door to discuss work/life with students and colleagues with the increased distraction from people dropping in during times of heavy work. As my first office had no window, I found closing my door to be claustrophobic and really impacted my mental health. Really, it was a lose-lose.
Thankfully, I stumbled upon Luxafor and bought one of the first editions of the Bluetooth. In addition to making me look like the “cool” professor, it has helped immensely. I was able to show when I was available when I wasn’t, and — thanks to their ability to show a wide range of custom colors — when I was elsewhere in the building or on campus.
Using free software available from Luxafor, I am able to quickly show my availability which I have matched to a color-coded sheet outside of my office door. That way even if my door is closed because I need it quiet (my office is now in a well-used corridor) or I want to listen to music while working, I can show that I am, indeed, in my office and available.
In moving my work to the home environment, this little device has continued to be helpful. In my little office corner in my wife’s studio (that she thankfully carved out for me), I can show when I’m good to talk or not.
In my time with the device, I have found it to be extremely user friendly and the software to work well (nearly 100% of the time). As it is a new, smaller company, updates have causes some tech issues — though this seems to be fixed with my second edition Bluetooth device. When there have been issues, they are often remedied very quickly and customer support is fantastic.
If your like me and need distraction-free blocks of time (especially now when we are trying to balance home and work needs), this device or one of their others might be helpful — it certainly has been for me.
Note: This was not a paid review, though I am an affiliate of Luxafor and the links through this post are affiliate links — meaning I make a commission if you click on one and make a purchase. This extra funding helps me continue to do reviews like this and provides a little extra support. I would never amplify a product or company that I didn’t support myself.
This post was originially shared from my personal site: https://www.colombodougovito.com/blog/2020/3/30/a-tool-to-help-stay-productive