Get Back Hours Per Week (Part 3)
Continuing in our partnership with our sister site, The Focus Course, here is the third and final video in a short series we’ve been doing on the topic of focus and productivity.
If you missed the first and/or second video, no sweat. They are short. You can catch them here: Video 1 and Video 2.
The videos have all being posted on The Focus Course website. But we’re also sharing them here along with the full notes.
Below is the final video in the series. Enjoy!
In the previous video we went through the 5 components of a focused life, which is what’s at the very heart of The Focus Course. And, if you recall, it’s important that you have all 5 in place in order to reap the benefits in your daily life.
In this third and final video I want to explain each component a bit more and share how they all fit together.
But first I wanted to share with you some feedback from people who have been through our Focus Course. I wanted you to hear how this stuff has impacted others, and how it can also impact you.
This is a testimony from on of our Focus Course members, Ben:
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the Focus Course – I never considered myself unfocused, or unorganized in any way. And I have a job the demands my focus and organization. What became apparent to me after just a few days into the course was that I wasn’t leading the type of life I wanted to – I wasn’t working the way I wanted to.
The part that really hit home for me was when Shawn asked me to plan out my ideal week on a day by day basis. To say what I would ideally like to be doing at each time, each day, each week, based on my life goals. I put that on my calendar and watched myself not do what I really wanted to be doing day after day.
That was the alarm bell that I was doing things that weren’t making me happy. I wasn’t taking a lunch break, I wasn’t stopping work on time, and I never carved out time for writing. I was falling short on goals because I wasn’t making time to achieve them.
There’s always a point that makes everything click, and that was the point for me. I began to see that focus is about more than just fancy software – it’s a mindset.
Before this course I knew nothing about that mindset, but having gone through it I feel like I have the tools to continue working toward achieving the focus I want in every part of my life.
Without having changed anything other than my focus and the way I look at things, I have more than tripled my available/active time alongside my studies and work. I feel more refreshed when I get up, I set clear goals for what I need to do during my days, I have found time for things I was never able to integrate during my week, and even my relationship got some extra time.
I will often come back to The Focus Course and reflect on the things I’ve learned during these few weeks. There’s always a way to improve things, but I have never felt this accomplished. Thank you so much for this experience, Shawn. It’s been a real pleasure going through this course. You have really changed my view for many things in my life.
I first learned about the power of a focused life about a decade ago but struggled to make it a reality. Just as my husband and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace just after a year into our marriage, I knew I needed something like that for my time. Your Focus Course was the very thing I needed. As a married woman with three children I see more and more the need for a focused life and making the time count. I don’t mean this cliché but I know when I give account for my life one day, that the Focus Course will have helped my life and me not squandering time.
As you can see, this stuff is truly helpful and beneficial.
Like Ben, Hollie, and Florian… most people want to improve how they are spending their time. Through the Focus Course, we help folks get organized and back in control. And after going through the Focus Course, our alumni have more focus, are owning their time, and have traction with their goals.
Today, you’re going to find out more about the 5 Components of a Focused Life, how they knit together, and how you can use this to your advantage.
You Must Start With Vision (Your Why)
Everything you do should be based on your vision and values.
Consider times when your calendar does not align with your values — it’s extremely frustrating, right? Because you’re not doing the things that matter to you.
Thus you’ve got to start with why. Because the vision for your life is what gives you direction. It’s a plum line by which you can measure all the choices you make, etc.
Without clarity about your vision and your values — your decision making framework is based on how you feel in the moment, and that is very dangerous. Because when it comes to focus and meaningful work, our instincts can’t often be trusted in the moment.
Your Vision and Values Set up Your Goals
Once you know your why, then it is far easier to set goals. Goals are merely the desired outcomes you want for the areas of your life. And, ideally, these goals are in alignment with the big vision you have and the core values you hold fast to.
Why would you pursue a goal that didn’t align with that which matters most? That’d be the height of silliness. Yet people do it every day. Why? Because they’re not clear on their long-term vision. And they don’t know what their values are.
While some people have an idea of what their vision and values are, they cannot articulate it and they don’t actually have it written down anywhere. In The Focus Course, you get the opportunity to create a vision for your life and to discover the values you hold. The way we approach this is unlike anything I’ve seen out there, and it removes much of the difficulty and ambiguity from the process.
Create an Action Plan for Your Goals
With your goals and desired outcomes in place, now you need an action plan.
An action plan is just that: your plan of action. What are you going to do in order to move forward toward those goals of yours? What is the first step you need to take?
Why does this matter? Anything you want to accomplish must manifest itself into your day-to-day life. Having a goal is great, but if you’re not doing anything about it — what’s the point?
Your little tasks and daily projects should all be moving you forward toward the big-picture victory that you care about.
It is in the action plan and the scheduling where a lot of folks fail. Either because they lose sight of the bigger picture, or because they are unwilling to take the time to get clear on what needs to be done to start moving forward.
In the Focus Course you are shown exactly how to create an action plan for all the goals in your life, and how to make the time for them in your daily and weekly schedule.
When Are You Going to Make Progress?
With your action plan figured out, now you need a schedule. Because, as I said, anything you want to do has to manifest in real life.
The schedule is your time budget that allows you to know when it is that you’ll be able to focus on making progress on your goals?
Moreover, a schedule is liberating. Because with it, you know exactly when you can (and cannot) get to something. For example, I know that every weekday at 8:30am I will have time to sit down and write and do my most important work. Thus, I am liberated from fretting about work in the evenings or on the weekends.
In The Focus Course, you are given the opportunity to assess how you are currently spending your time and we walk you through the steps to adjust your schedule so you have the breathing room you need and also the time to focus on the projects and goals you care about most.
Use Habits and Routines to Stay on Track
Lastly, your habits and routines are so very important.
For a long time this stuff was wildly underestimated, but in the past few years the topic of habits and routines has begun gaining a lot of momentum because people are realizing just how powerful it can be.
A routine — or a lifestyle practice — is something that allows you to balance all the areas of your life.
I won’t go into all the details right now, but look at it this way:
When there are areas of your life that aren’t getting the attention they need, it can be frustrating. You get anxious about it. But what can you do about it?
There is only so much time in the day and you only have so much energy to devote to certain areas of responsibility.
However, with healthy routines and lifestyle practices you are able to keep all the areas of your life in a healthy state.
There is more nuance to it than that, of course. You can’t use routines to do everything in the world all in a single day. But you can use them to keep all the areas of your life in a healthy state over the long run.
In The Focus Course you are shown examples of healthy routines and lifestyle practices, and you then are given the chance to create your own. We then help you implement them into your life in a way that takes root (rather than starting something that will fizzle out).
The Power of a Focused LIFE
As you can see, the starting line for improving your productivity and focus is not in a better app or even a better system.
You could be using all the best apps and yet still feel overwhelmed by all the possible next steps you could take, and as a result you don’t regularly take any action at all.
You could have an awesome system for capturing tasks, but still find that you rarely finish your projects because you’re always moving on to the next new thing before completing the last one.
Or you could be great at scheduling your time and yet still feel stressed because when you’re working in an area of responsibility, you often find that you’re second guessing yourself and feeling guilty, wondering if there is something else you should be doing instead.
Without an underpinning of clarity about your vision and values, you will say yes to any and all opportunities. And as a result, you’ll be unable to focus on the essential because you won’t even know what the essential is.
A lack of clarity means your time and tasks will be out of balance. It means you don’t know what to do nor when to do it.
In short, a lack of clarity may be costing you quite a bit of time and energy.
How to Fast Track Your Focus
No calendar app or task-management app is going to help you establish the right foundation.
If you want to stop spinning your wheels; if you’re tired of ending the day feeling like you didn’t actually get anything done; if you want to create work that matters; if you want to keep your work and personal life in balance… then you have to ask yourself some hard questions. You have to make changes.
The fastest route to reclaiming your time and energy is to use a proven system.
From overcoming procrastination, to getting organized and back in control, to getting clarity — it is all intertwined. Which means that getting on top of one area will help you get on top of the rest.
The Focus Course is that proven system. You’ll learn about the best principles which are proven to increase far more than just productivity, but also your overall quality of life.
What sets The Focus Course apart from other training material is the way it guides you in the implementation of these principles through small and simple action items they do each day (taking less than 15 minutes).
The implementation strategy will help you go beyond head knowledge and into experiential knowledge — thus, helping bring about a more profound and lasting change.
After going through The Focus Course you will be spending your days and your weeks on the things that matter. From work to family to your personal life and hobbies.
The Focus Course takes into the whole picture. From the high-level things you need to know, down to the granular things you need to do.
The course has done the hard work for you. All that’s left is for you to show up.
We walk you through, step-by-step, for every single component of a focused life and how they all fit together. And we show you how to maintain momentum, which is the whole point.
The fact that our alumni are calling us up a year or more after going through the course, is huge. Most people can’t keep a goal for longer than a week or two.
Registration Opens on Tuesday, November 14
Right now, as we’re approaching the end of 2017, it’s the ideal time to jump in and work through the Focus Course.
That’s why, on Tuesday morning, November 14, I am opening up registration to the Focus Course.
You’ll be able to find it right on the Focus Course homepage — thefocuscourse.com — and we’ll also be sure to let you know via email or Twitter when registration opens up.
In the meantime, did you see this fun bonus video about living with focus in an age of distraction?