Yesterday, in partnership with our sister site, The Focus Course, we kicked off a short video series on the topic of focus and productivity.
(If you missed the first video, no sweat. It’s short and you can catch it right here.)
The videos are all being posted on The Focus Course website. But we’re also sharing them here along with the full notes. Below is the second video in the series. Enjoy!
In this video I reveal the “framework” so to speak that I use to stay focused, organized, and on track. It’s what I call the 5 Components of a Focused Life.
In the first video of this series, we discovered why you need a focused life and some of the challenges you’ll face to get there.
Lastly, in the next and final video that we’ll be posting tomorrow (Thursday), I’ll show you how and why it all fits together so you can reap the benefits of this in your own life.
Intro to the 5 Components of a Focus Life
As we get in to this, know that you can’t have one apart from the others. You need all 5 to reap the benefits in your daily life.
These 5 components are at the very heart and soul of the Focus Course. When I learned them more than 15 years ago, it completely changed my life.
But, as I mentioned in the previous video, it never occurred to me to teach it to others. But once I did begin teaching it, it really took off. We’ve had thousands of people go through this training.
What I love about this approach to focus is that:
1. It is relevant to everyone in every season of life.
2. It gives you a very clear roadmap of WHAT to focus on to make change and progress in your life.
3. It combines the big picture stuff and also the day-to-day stuff in a way that nothing else does that I’ve seen.
You see, most productivity advice focuses on the wrong thing at the wrong time.
You may hear about how you need to use XYZ app. Or how you need to have this specific morning routine. Or how you need to new goals, or whatever.
But without the bigger context for how it all fits into the big picture of your busy and nuanced life, then these different pieces of advice can be toxic.
Because they cause you to focus on the wrong thing at the wrong time. And then, as a result, you will still be stressed out and thus decide that focus is just not your thing.
But when you understand the components of a focused life, you can see how everything fits into the bigger picture and you can have clarity about where you need to focus your attention in any given season of your life.
As I mentioned previously, there are very common challenges I hear from folks all the time:
They don’t know how best to be using their time to do the things that are most important to them. (i.e. they lack clarity)
Even if they did know, their schedule is completely full and they don’t know where to find the time. (i.e. they do not feel in control of their time and energy)
And I have been in that spot myself many times.
The good news is that it’s not wrong to be there — it’s actually super normal and is simply part of being a human.
The problem is when you get stuck there, or when you just give up and start living there.
Now, with that said, let’s dive in.
The 5 Components of a Focused Life Are This
- Life Vision (Your “why”)
- Goals (your “what”)
- Action Plan (Your “how”)
- Schedule (Your “when”)
- Routine (Your safety net)
(In the next video we will go into how these all fit together with one another and why it is that you need all 5 to reap the benefits.)
When you understand these components, you can see how everything fits into the bigger picture. You can have clarity about where you need to focus your attention in any given season of your life.
Do you see now why it is that most productivity advice focuses on the wrong thing at the wrong time? For example, if you’re “why” is not clearly defined then you shouldn’t be trying to establish a better morning routine.
It is far better to be slow and inefficient at doing the RIGHT things, than to be super-productive at doing the WRONG things.
Where Are You At?
I want you to think for a moment: which one of these areas feels the most important to you right now?
- Are you crystal clear on your Vision and Values?
Do you know exactly what your goals and desired outcomes are?
Do you have a clear action plan for how to make progress toward your goals?
Does your schedule give you the space you need to work toward those goals and to also do the things in your life that matter?
Do you have routines that help you make progress and stay healthy?
If you answered NO to any of the above questions, then awesome! It means you’re breathing.
Life is never something that can be put onto autopilot — it is a constantly moving target.
Knowing these 5 components gives you a massive advantage.
It’s life-long tool you can use to keep up with the “maintenance” of focus for your life.
These 5 components may sound simple, and they are. They are based on conventional wisdom and decades of research that’s far beyond just me and my dorky little video. And that’s what’s so awesome about them: They’re proven.
But getting them incorporated into your life is not as easy as it seems. And I’m sure you know that all too well.
I have spoken to so many people who considered themselves to be productivity experts. But after going through The Focus Course they realized they only KNEW about productivity — they weren’t actually applying what they knew to their life and doing it.
How many so-called “productivity experts” do you know who are working 50-80 hours per week? Who drop the ball all the time? Who miss out on important events because they are working … (again)? Or how many “organized” people are there who cannot keep commitments they make to themselves or to others?
The solution is not in a better app or a workflow.
As a rule I work my 40 hours per week and that’s it. And this is something that I am able to do because I am able to focus on only the things which are essential, and I’ve been able to establish boundaries that keep me from overcommitting and constantly giving in to every seemingly urgent issue.
It is one thing to have read the books and watched the TED talks and to know about this stuff.
But it is another thing to be APPLYING this stuff and REAPING THE BENEFITS of it in your life every day.
Imagine waking up FOR your day instead of TO your day.
Imagine having the BREATHING in your day to actually recharge?
Imagine having clarity about what it is that matters to you and what it is that you’re going to do about it.
Imagine starting a new project and then actually finishing it.
Imagine being so focused at work, that you’re able to clock out at the end of the day and not bring work home with you in the evenings or on the weekends.
These are not pipe dreams or luxuries.
Living a focused life should be your normal lifestyle.
But sadly, for most people, it’s not. Most people bring work home with them. They do not make progress on their goals. They do not finish what they start. And they do not feel in control of their schedule and their time.
But not you.
Now that you know the 5 Components, the question becomes how to fit them together and how to reap their benefits in real life.
In the next video I am going to unpack more about what each of the components mean and how they knit together.
As I said at the beginning, you can’t have one apart from the others. You need all 5 to reap the benefits.
That’s what we’ll talk on next. See you then…