These are the best little microfiber cloths I’ve ever used for cleaning my eye glasses, sunglasses, camera lens, and my laptop screen. I have dozens of them stashed all over the house, in my cars, and at my office.
Whenever you set out to make change or embark on a bold venture, there will be resistance.
One area of resistance that comes against our efforts to live a focused life is what I call “Counterfeit Rest”.
When you have rested, you ought to be recharged and have more energy.
Thus, try to find restful activities that give you energy rather than things that drain your energy.
When I teach about this in The Focus Course, we make note of the fact that true rest usually requires a little bit of effort (i.e. reading a book, cooking a meal, taking a walk…)
A while back, my pal, David Sparks, wrote about getting trapped inside a cycle of “false urgency”.
And so David began asking himself this regular question:
“Where have I created false urgency?”
I spent years working as a marketing director for a large organization, and the overwhelming cultural vibe was based on urgency: Everything was urgent all the time. We were constantly changing directions, doing new things, and reacting to whatever urgent issue was arising.
When I quit that job and began working for myself, it took me years to detox from that urgency mindset.
Even in my work and life, I felt that if something was’t urgent, then it wasn’t even important. And so, as a result, I would often neglect any task or area of life that didn’t have an urgent and pressing matter.
This urgency mindset creates a HUGE dilemma!
When we have an overwhelming urgency mindset, it blurs the lines between that which is actually important and that which is not. Everything begins to feel important all the time… and that, in turn, creates a lot of anxiety, stress, and worry that otherwise need not exist.
In the Focus Course, we have a whole section of our training dedicated specifically to this exact issue because it is so common and so difficult to get out of.
One of the ways we help folks overcome an urgency mindset is by helping them to (1) identify the important work and then (2) celebrate that work.
This simple cycle of identify <> celebrate can slowly re-train your brain to value (and even seek out) non-urgent tasks and activities. The result is less stress along with more motivation to work on long-term important areas.
If you’re curious where you land regarding urgency, we created an Urgency Assessment that you can take for free. It’s completely anonymous and works great to give you a baseline.
Between 6am and noon is arguably my most precious / important / valuable time of the day for getting things done.
That’s why I keep all of my devices in Do Not Disturb until noon.
This way I am free from any and all notifications, pings, buzzes, until the morning is over and it’s time for a lunch break.
Tomorrow — Tuesday, July 26 — I am hosting a private, live interview with bestselling author Josh Kaufman.
Josh is also the author of one of my all-time most-gifted books: The Personal MBA.
Over the years Josh has become a dear friend, and I have gotten so much brilliant advice from him. I cannot wait to bring him into the community to share with you as well.
If you care about business, growth, and productivity, then this will be a conversation you definitely want to be part of. Here are the main things we’ll cover during the live interview:
⚡️ Decision Making: How to get better and faster at making decisions without overthinking things or doing it wrong.
⚡️ Time blocking for creative work: Tips and ideas for building a better schedule.
⚡️ Common business advice: What are some of the biggest pitfalls Josh has seen inside businesses and their owners / leaders — and what are his suggestions to avoid or fix them?
⚡️ Plus Live Q&A: Your chance to ask any questions live (or submit them ahead of time and catch the answers during the replay).
This is an exclusive interview that I’m hosting just for the brand-new Accelerator membership. And I would LOVE to have you join us.
Here’s how to join:
- Sign up for the new Focus Accelerator
- We’ll send you a link and details to join the live Zoom room for Josh’s interview
- We’ll also connect with you directly to help you get settled in with all the material and training that is inside the new Accelerator.
Amateurs keep their options open. They say yes to everything. They have no boundaries. And they are overwhelmed by the urgent and buried under a million random acts of focus.
On the other hand…
Professionals and top-performers are focused. They design their habits in order to accomplish their goals.
Your habits should not be random…
Your habits need to be an intentional part of the bigger picture of your life. Your habits should be the actions you do consistently that move you forward toward the outcomes you want in your life.
Here is a good one from the archives that I’ve been revisiting myself. As you understand more about “whole brain creativity”, you can also learn how to communicate to others in ways they will connect with.
Your ability to manage your ideas is one of your most valuable career skills.
And I loved this Twitter thread from Dickie Bush about how to create thousands of topics from a single idea.
Fantastic leadership advice from Claire Lew:
One of our greatest desires we have as leaders is to appear competent to our team. That’s not a bad thing! Being competent is good. But the keyword here is “appear” – we want to “appear” competent as a leader.
(Side Note: I had the privilege of interviewing Claire for our Creative Focus Summit a few years back, and she gave some fantastic advice to leaders, not the least of which was (a) how to handle advice; and (b) what to do with new ideas you have. Her interview is available in the Accelerator Vault.)
The 5 components of a focused life are this: Vision → Goals → Strategy → Schedule → Habits
That above framework will help you identify where the REAL issues are with your focused life and exactly what to do about fixing them. In short, your habits should support your goals. When they do, it is liberating.
If you want a deeper dive, join me for the free, 1-hour class I’m teaching on Wednesday July 20.
I grew up being modeled that the only way to lead by example is to do more, be more, and know more than the folks you are leading. But that model of “leadership” is literally unsustainable.
I very much believe in leading by example, but there are other, more sustainable ways to lead by example.
There are two problems with do more, be more, know more. For one, it causes our ego to get in the way. And, secondly, it is a short-sighted and lazier approach leadership.
In the long run, it is far better to be candid in your communication and have clearly defined expectations of your team. Then, lead by example in terms of your work ethic and your margin and work boundaries.
From time to time it can be empowering to try something new for a short amount of time.
Try something and recognize that it’s not the new normal forever. Let it be a short-term action which will bring about an agent of change into your life and give you fresh perspective and clarity.
Not everything needs to be a long-term commitment. It’s okay to go extreme for a bit and see what comes of it.
For those with routines, habits, and lifestyle practices — there will always be the next time you do an action.
This is liberating because it allows you to focus on repetition rather than perfection. You no longer need to have the “perfect date” or the “perfect family dinner” or the “best possible workout” … you simply need to focus on having consistent repetitions of those things.
Perfectionism is based on scarcity. Repetition is based on abundance.
If you’d like to get a little more organized and focused in your life, then check this out…
Next week I’m teaching a free, one-hour class that goes behind the scenes with my two personal productivity frameworks.
This is great even for folks who hate productivity and organization. (Seriously!)
When I taught this class about 6 weeks ago, it had the most registrations of any workshop we’ve hosted before.
You don’t want to miss this.
What we’ll cover at the workshop
- How to eliminate 90% of the busywork, urgency, and procrastination from your week.
- How to get more breathing room in your schedule (even if it feels impossible).
- How everyone in my company is able to take off two months (paid) every year.
- Our two productivity frameworks: The 5 Components of a Focused Life and the 4-Focus Method
- BONUS: Free “Productivity Flywheel” cheat sheet.
- BONUS: Productivity Templates: Get a free copy of our daily, weekly, monthly planning templates.