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Maximize Your Efficiency: Kevin Izevbigie's Productivity Hacks

Dec 5, 2023 by Vreny Blanco · 6 min read · Interviews, Digital Wellness

Kevin Izevbigie
Image with permission from Kevin Izevbigie

Have you ever wondered how some people achieve their professional goals and still find time for family and hobbies? The secret lies in their time management and efficiency! To find out how they do it, we asked Kevin Izevbigie for a few productivity tips.

Kevin is a successful software engineer specializing in JavaScript and Common Lisp. He has a unique perspective on the world of software development and efficiency.

In this edition of Ask the Expert, we explore Kevin’s strategies for maintaining focus, dealing with distractions, and finding the ideal work-life balance to achieve his goals.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I am Kevin Izevbigie, a freelance software engineer with former experience as a financial modeller and marketing agency founder. I am from London, but I live in Bangkok with my wife and little girl – she is the best. Today, I am a JavaScript and Common Lisp freelancer at The Backend Engineer. I mainly focus on web applications and data-driven applications. This is fairly new.

Most of my engineering career has been building tools for my own companies (I owned a marketing agency for a decade). My main focus there was building tools to help me analyze massive amounts of Google ads and Facebook ads data. And the web application supporting the analysis.

I recently sold the shares of that company. Since then, I’ve been a freelance developer. Plot twist – I studied accounting (CIMA). After university, I became a commercial accountant specializing in Excel software (VBA programming) and data analysis.

How do you stay focused and productive?

I was deeply into “productivity” five years ago. Now, I think most things related to productivity are a distraction from the truth. The truth, I discovered, is that my ability to get more done was about subtraction. So I experimented with it. “If I were to ignore everything, including my productivity tools, and put all of that energy into the fire of the task at hand… what would happen?”

The most insane thing happened, one day of this kind of working, resulted in 3-4 days of output. I was hooked.

There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. Outsource the removal of technology distractions to 1Focus.
  2. Mastery of Cal Newport’s “Deep Work”. Which is more of a set of focus rules, than it is a tool.

I discovered that my ability to get more done is about subtraction.

How do you avoid distractions?

I work alone in my home office.

I mainly eliminate distracting websites completely with 1Focus. I set 1Focus for 23 hrs 59 min between 4:00 and 3:59. I also block things like games during Deep Work blocks.

I haven’t found a solution to ignoring my 2 year old daughter when she says: “Daddy, come!” :)

Do you have a morning routine?

I used to.

I used to do a lot of things in the name of “productivity”. I have since removed my routine, and I get straight to work.

The morning is when I have my clearest energy and mind. So the first thing I do in the morning (after coffee and a few mins with my daughter), I knock out a Deep Work session.

Do you use any time management techniques?

Only one – sit down, shut up, and do the work. This is boring though. Most truths are.

Sit down, shut up, and do the work.

How do you manage to work when you are unmotivated?

I am obsessed with my mission. Obsession is an unlimited energy source.

Kevin in a conference
Image with permission from Kevin Izevbigie

How do you find a work-life balance?

I am a fairly new father. If you had asked me this 3 years ago, I’d say that work WAS my balance. Because my work is my hobby and my work.

But today, I make an effort to always spend time with my little girl.

This is where Cal Newport’s Deep Work comes into play. In 5-6 hours of deep work (2 sessions), I can get an enormous amount of work done. Then, I can unapologetically hang out with my little girl and wife.

Also, when I need to rest, I rest.

What do you do for fun?

Programming was my hobby. Then it became my career. It’s still my hobby today.

I like to discover new ways to monetize HTTP requests.

What motivated you to download 1Focus?

I completely disagree with the notion that “willpower” is enough to resist temptation. Tech companies spend hundreds of millions to design websites, technology, and games TO BE addictive. They use our very human nature to do so.

Bringing willpower to this battle is akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight. I decided to fight technology with technology. As a Mac user, 1Focus was the only one I tried that “just worked!”

Why do you find 1Focus useful?

Unlike most software these days, it does exactly what it says it does. More importantly, set it and forget it.

Which feature do you like the most?

The best feature is the wildcard block strings.

Note: You can learn more at Block URL Keywords on Mac.

What do you think is the key to success?

There is no blueprint for success. Or step by step plan. Those with sufficient obsession will succeed.

I am obsessed with my mission. Obsession is an unlimited energy source.

Do you have any advice for readers regarding focus and motivation?

Yes. The number one best use of your time is to discover where you really want to be. Then, just do it. That sounds simple but in my experience, most people are not really honest about what success really looks like.

But, why am I talking about success when the question is about motivation? One can be motivated and focused endlessly if they are pursuing their own true version of success.

Once you are clear on where you want to be, focus is simply about removing distractions (with 1Focus) and doing the work.

The number one best use of your time is to discover where you really want to be. Then, just do it.

Where can I learn more about you?

I write and freelance at thebackendengineer.com.

Image with permission from Kevin Izevbigie


We would like to thank Kevin Izevbigie for sharing his valuable insights on productivity with us.

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