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These are the 8 Laws of Focus (May Focus Digest)


Welcome to May!

This monthly digest is for folks who want to create a more ideal schedule, get organized, and stay in control of the things that matter.

If you are new to the digest… here’s what to look forward to around the beginning of every month:

  • A short article on a single concept around focus.
  • A couple quotes that we’ve enjoyed thinking on.
  • Links to interesting or related articles from our corner of the internet.
  • Upcoming events and resource spotlights for our Club Members.

Live: Calm Inbox Workshop (Tuesday, May 14)

Come join me for an hour next week to do some housekeeping and upgrades to your email.

I’ll share with you the basics of how to set up what I call your Calm Inbox. We’ll also set aside some dedicated time to create some basic email rules that will save you tons of time in the future, and I’ll share ideas for how to better manage email in general. Plus, plenty of time for Q&A. See you there!

How to Join: This live, Calm Inbox workshop is for everyone inside the Focus Club membership. Sign up here (just $10 for your 10-day trial), and we’ll get you all the details to join us for the Calm Inbox Live workshop next week.

The 8 Laws of Focus

I define a “focused life” as simply having clarity on what matters most and then spending as much time as possible on those vital few things.

This changes over time for all of us. Sometimes gradually. Sometimes all at once. Which is why it’s important to have the skills and tools so you can get clear again and then get your calendar back in alignment.

That said, here are the 8 Laws of Focus. These will help you know what’s at work, so you can use these to your own advantage to make sure you’re spending as much time as possible on the few things that matter most.

1: The Law of Clarity

The very definition of focus is maximum clarity. It is impossible to live a focused life without clarity.

This is true for the big-picture of your life, all the way down to the small tasks you do each day. You must be clear about what is most important.

Without clarity, it is impossible to set boundaries and priorities. Without priorities, it’s impossible to plan and to walk out your life’s mission. Without clarity, you will find yourself unable to focus on the things which deeply matter to you and your schedule will be filled with other people’s priorities for your life.

2: The Law of Boundaries

Those without clarity will see boundaries as tedious restrictions that hold them back. Those who lack focus will try to embrace a life without boundaries — they will try to do it all. They will say yes to everything.

A lack of boundaries is a symptom of a lack of focus. And it leads to a lack of margin, which, in turn, leads to burnout. When you are living in burnout, you are unable to give your time and attention to what matters. You are unable to walk out your values.

Boundaries liberate you to live a focused life! Proper boundaries protect the things that you care most deeply about. Boundaries empower you to stay focused on that which is most important and to avoid the pain of burnout and the frustrations of unfocused responsibilities.

3: The Law of Ownership

It is a personal choice to live a focused life, and you must take personal responsibility for walking out your vision and values. As such, your goals must flow from your values because your needs are your responsibility – it is your job to take care of yourself and to do the things that only you can do.

Without ownership and personal integrity, you may find yourself ignoring the activities and roles that only you can do, or placing wrong expectations onto others in your life.

4: The Law of Margin

Margin is necessary for a focused life. Margin in our life means we have breathing room. Without it, you will be unable to give your time and attention to that which you care deeply about.

Akin to the Law of Tradeoffs, to recognize the Law of Margin is to celebrate your limits. When you have Margin in your life, you will have strength to lean in to your values, accomplish your goals, and, ultimately, to be present for the relationships in your life.

5: The Law of Sowing and Reaping

While you cannot control your outcomes, you can control your input and your effort. There are many factors at play in the Law of Sowing and Reaping. You will only ever reap what you sow… but, at the same time, not all outcomes are guaranteed.

Additionally, over time, as you develop routines and habits, they compound into significant results. A singular action, done once, will not produce any significant results. Yet, over time, consistent action compounds into significant results.

6: The Law of Tradeoffs

As David Allen said, you can do anything but you cannot do everything. In order to give your perpetual devotion to any one thing it will require the perpetual neglect of many other things. Focus, therefore, requires tradeoffs.

You can only focus on so many things at a time, and you can only focus for so many hours during the day. Instead of ignoring the limitation on your energy, embrace it and find ways to routinize and automate the non-trivial areas of your life so that even when you are not giving them your full attention and devotion, they are not being fully neglected.

7: The Law of Action

A focused life is a life of action. It means engaging with your values, pursuing your goals, and following through with your commitments. It means proactively directing your attention to what matters. There is no such thing as a passive life of focus.

If you find that you are coasting through life, then it means you are no longer taking action. If you are coasting, then it means: (a) you are going downhill (rather than climbing upward); (b) you are living off the momentum of your past effort; or (c) you are being towed along by someone else.

There is one thing that all successful people have in common: they have a strong bias toward action. They don’t let ideas sit around. They don’t wait for their goals to just happen. They show up every day.

8: The Law of Attention

Where you direct your attention, that is the direction you will go. Our mind does not easily differentiate between “positive” or “negative” focus; we simply focus on what we are giving our attention to.

For example, when driving in your car: If you stare at the lamp post and try not to hit it, you just might drift right toward it. Why? Because that was the direction you were focusing on and giving your attention to, and thus that is the direction you will naturally go.

The Law of Attention means what we direct our thoughts and focus on is what we will move toward. Thus, direct your thoughts and focus on the positive directions and desired outcomes you want rather than the negative directions and undesirable outcomes you wish to avoid.

Organize Your Email (and get back hours of your life each week)

This month, we’re all about inbox mastery, which means you can get the email management masterclass, Calm Inbox, for just $49.

  • Get back hours of your life. Every single week and potentially hours per day!
  • Have more focus in your day and save time on the work you’re doing.
  • Get your work done faster because you’ve got less distractions coming your way.
  • Less stress and anxiety because you won’t be thinking about email and social media all the time, and you won’t be constantly managing the crazy.
  • Show your email who’s the boss. You’ll get organized and in control of your email.

Focused people have a system for managing all the incoming “stuff” that comes their way. Calm Inbox shows you how.

The low price for this course is only available for a short window of time. Get your copy of the Calm Inbox email masterclass here.

Noteworthy Reading

Narrow your focus to gain traction. How many active projects and priorities do you have in your business and life right now? If you’re struggling to gain traction, perhaps it’s your lack of focus that’s causing your lack of growth.”

P.S. Save the dates: June 11 – 18. We have something big happening. More details soon.