30 days of focus: Day 4 update

Welcome to day 4 of my 30 days of focus personal challenge!

There were a lot of things vying for my time today. Some were good (like hanging out with my wife) and some were bad. (Well, they weren’t bad but there were a couple of unwanted distractions I wasn’t able to avoid). But I still got some work done, including my first project to be crossed off my list! Awesome! Crossing stuff off of my list is SO motivating!

  1. Restart a client’s ebook about neighborhood-specific real estate investing
  2. Complete the above ebook
  3. Restart a client’s ebook about virtual wholesaling
  4. Complete the above ebook
  5. Restart a client’s ebook about a specific technology for real estate investing
  6. Complete the above ebook
  7. Restart a client’s direct marketing copy
  8. Finish the first draft of my book
  9. Complete a business plan for a client
  10. Write and schedule 3 months of autoresponders for GraphiteInvesting.com
  11. Publish 25 articles on an internet magazine that I contribute to
  12. Catch up on overdue content to be published on a joint venture real estate blog
  13. Complete all of the September content for the above joint venture real estate blog
  14. Complete an email sequence and free report for one of my joint ventures — FreeVideoSqueezePage.com
  15. Restart regular emails at FreeVideoSqueezePage
  16. Complete all of the September content for my mortgage loan client (approx. 2000 words)
  17. Complete all of the September content for my credit repair client (approx. 5000 words)
  18. Complete all of the September content for my real estate investing client (approx. 12000 words)
  19. Schedule daily episodes through the end of the year at HowToInvest.TV Worked on this today. Half-way done!
  20. Complete all of the September content for an investing website that I contribute to
  21. Put together what I need to do some real estate investing in 2013
  22. Fix a broken website (which used to earn some money but broke down at the beginning of summer) so it starts to earn money again.
  23. Finish bathroom renovation — Worked on this today.
  24. Restart my workout routine (3 sets of circuit training with 20 lb weights, 3 times per week)

30 days of focus: Day 3 update

Welcome to day 3 of my 30 days of focus personal challenge!

It’s a challenging day because I worked on a few things but didn’t get to cross anything off my list. That’s kind of demotivating. It’s actually a good lesson for myself about the importance of breaking projects into smaller pieces so that I can hit some smaller goals. Here’s what I’ve been working on…

  1. Restart a client’s ebook about neighborhood-specific real estate investing
  2. Complete the above ebook
  3. Restart a client’s ebook about virtual wholesaling
  4. Complete the above ebook
  5. Restart a client’s ebook about a specific technology for real estate investing
  6. Complete the above ebook
  7. Restart a client’s direct marketing copy
  8. Finish the first draft of my book
  9. Complete a business plan for a client
  10. Write and schedule 3 months of autoresponders for GraphiteInvesting.com
  11. Publish 25 articles on an internet magazine that I contribute to
  12. Catch up on overdue content to be published on a joint venture real estate blog
  13. Complete all of the September content for the above joint venture real estate blog
  14. Complete an email sequence and free report for one of my joint ventures — FreeVideoSqueezePage.com
  15. Restart regular emails at FreeVideoSqueezePage
  16. Complete all of the September content for my mortgage loan client (approx. 2000 words)
  17. Complete all of the September content for my credit repair client (approx. 5000 words)
  18. Complete all of the September content for my real estate investing client (approx. 12000 words)
  19. Schedule daily episodes through the end of the year at HowToInvest.TV Worked on this today. Only one third of the way through
  20. Complete all of the September content for an investing website that I contribute to
  21. Put together what I need to do some real estate investing in 2013
  22. Fix a broken website (which used to earn some money but broke down at the beginning of summer) so it starts to earn money again.
  23. Finish bathroom renovation — Worked on this today.
  24. Restart my workout routine (3 sets of circuit training with 20 lb weights, 3 times per week) — Worked on this today. So sore!!!

30 days of focus: The wake-up call

When I look at the most successful people in the world — whether in business or sports or any other arena — one of the qualities they all share is focus.

Focus is drive, determination, self-discipline… it’s the ability to fix your mind on one goal and work relentlessly until it is achieved.

That sounds great in theory but when it comes time to sit down actually do the work, it’s much more difficult. We can get easily pulled off course by other things… like social media or television or fatigue or the day-to-day demands on our time by other people.

It’s easy to see how spending a couple of hours a day on Facebook or watching television isn’t the best use of our time. But there are times when those “distractions” are valuable uses of our time… just not the thing we want to focus on.

I found this in my own life: I’ve wanted to write a book for a while but always put client work first. It’s a good thing to have a lot of clients and to make them the priority but it distracts me from my own book-writing goals. And I used to be very diligent in my workout until my workout area became the temporary storage location while I renovated part of my basement.

The reality is that we only do the things that are truly important to us. My clients are important to me but are they more important than working on a book? With all due respect to my clients, they aren’t. And my workouts are important to me but apparently not important enough because I stopped working out as soon as my workout room was used as temporary storage.

If I was truly focused on my book and my fitness, I would have figured out another way. The good news is, that is exactly what I’ve done (even though it took me a while to realize it and then a little longer to put the pieces into place). I’ve dramatically cut back on my client list to make more time for my book, and I’ve started working out again in another part of the house.

That’s the wake-up call: The things that are important to us are NOT the things we say are important to us. They’re the things we spend our time doing. If you say your business is important to you but you spend your time watching television then your business isn’t important to you. If you say your family is important to you but you spend your time doing other things on your own or with your friends then your family isn’t important to you.

A classic example that I see over and over again is with people who hate their job and desire to start their own business. But they never do. They claim to want freedom but their actions expose their true focus: Security and predictability from a job.

If we want to focus, we need a re-alignment. We need to change our habits and actions so that we spend time on the things that are truly important to us.

What is important to you? How much of your day are you working on it? What obstacles and struggles set you back?

30 days of focus: Day 2 update

Welcome to day 2 of my 30 days of focus personal challenge! It’s a challenge where I try to regain some of that drive and self-discipline I used to have but have struggled to keep as my business changed. In the 30 days of focus introduction blog post, I listed a bunch of stuff I wanted to accomplish, which I can do if I achieve the level of focus that I want to achieve. I’ve copied and pasted that list here and added a couple of things that I forgot to include in the original list. I’ve bolded the stuff I worked on since my last update and added a couple of notes. I’ll cross off the stuff that is done.

  1. Restart a client’s ebook about neighborhood-specific real estate investing
  2. Complete the above ebook
  3. Restart a client’s ebook about virtual wholesaling
  4. Complete the above ebook
  5. Restart a client’s ebook about a specific technology for real estate investing
  6. Complete the above ebook
  7. Restart a client’s direct marketing copy
  8. Finish the first draft of my book
  9. Complete a business plan for a client
  10. New: Write and schedule 3 months of autoresponders for GraphiteInvesting.comWorked on this today
  11. New: Complete a joint venture project for GraphiteInvesting.com — Worked on this today
  12. Publish 25 articles on an internet magazine that I contribute to
  13. Catch up on overdue content to be published on a joint venture real estate blog
  14. Complete all of the September content for the above joint venture real estate blog
  15. Complete an email sequence and free report for one of my joint ventures — FreeVideoSqueezePage.com
  16. Restart regular emails at FreeVideoSqueezePage
  17. Complete all of the September content for my mortgage loan client (approx. 2000 words)
  18. Complete all of the September content for my credit repair client (approx. 5000 words)
  19. Complete all of the September content for my real estate investing client (approx. 12000 words)
  20. Schedule daily episodes through the end of the year at HowToInvest.TV
  21. Complete all of the September content for an investing website that I contribute to
  22. New: Put together what I need to do some real estate investing in 2013 — Worked on this today: I’ve been looking at commercial and residential properties and filling in the gaps of knowledge I need to talk to some professionals about.
  23. Fix a broken website (which used to earn some money but broke down at the beginning of summer) so it starts to earn money again.
  24. Finish bathroom renovation — Worked on this yesterday and today. I painted some sealant on the bathroom floor and am waiting for it to dry.
  25. Restart my workout routine (3 sets of circuit training with 20 lb weights, 3 times per week) — Worked on this yesterday but only got through one of the 3 circuits. I need to work up to the full workout!

30 days of focus: Introduction

I’ve been thinking a lot about focus lately. And if you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months, you may have noticed the thread of focus/determination/self-discipline weaving through a lot of my posts.

Part of the reason stems from the new level that I’ve reached in my business. I’m at the point where I don’t need to do any marketing to get new clients for the next few years. I just show up and write and all is good. And although I recognize that this is an enviable place to be in business, and it’s taken some focus to get here, I’ve also come to realize that I miss the hungry drive of my early business efforts.

Waaaay back when I started my business, I HAD to focus to write so I could make enough money to eat and pay the bills. And there is still SOME focus in my day-to-day business today (I’m not eating bonbons in bed) but I don’t have as much riding on the results as when I was first starting out and it’s had a noticeable impact in what I do.

I’ve found it too easy to show up and do the minimum of what is required. I’ve found it too easy to make excuses for not doing things or for letting things drop. Not only is client work being affected but so are joint ventures and personal projects like my book, home renovations, and my fitness. Even habits like what I eat or when I get out of bed in the morning — all of which are tied to focus — are impacted. There are times when I’m very busy (sometimes to the point of burnout) but I realize that I’m not necessarily busy with the right things at the right time. And my business is shifting (away from freelance writing for financial and real estate clients and toward work that is published under my own name), so some of this focusing problem is from my changing goals. And I’m wired to get excited about new things for a while until the project shifts from “new” to that middle, slogging dip, and then I lose interest.

So there are a lot of things that are keeping me from focusing to achieve my goals. I’m often unfocused or I’m focused on the wrong things or I quickly lose focus.

I want the focus of my early business and the success of today. (Yes, I want my cake and I want to eat it, too).

These thoughts about focus had been simmering on low for a while, not fully formed, until I started following the Olympics this year. I realized (possibly for the first time) that the athletes competing were just regular people who happened to have A LOT of focus. That focus inspired them to make sacrifices and overcome setbacks so they could compete.

It shone a mirror on me as I wondered what I could achieve if I not only regained the focus I lost but also achieved the level of focus that helped people get to the Olympics.

I’ve tried to regain my focus lately in a few different ways. For example, you might have noticed that I’ve started trying to write 10,000 words at least one day each week. Some success on that front reminded me of how good it felt to focus on something, work hard, and achieve what I was focused on.

And now I’m ready to take it to the next level. I need to get educated about focus, break some bad habits, adopt some good habits, and figure out what the right things are to focus on. I need to rewire my brain to focus sharply on the right things at the right time and to stay with it until completion. I need to sharpen my focus so that setbacks and obstacles and distractions don’t stop me in my tracks.

To that end, I’m starting a 30 days of focus challenge. It’s a personal challenge in which I’m “focusing on focus” (and the determination, self-discipline, drive, productivity, etc. that are all related to focus). I’ll be blogging exclusively about focus for the entire month, including tips and skills and ideas about focus, along with updates of what I’m working on and how it’s going.

I’m going to list the work I want to do in the month and post daily updates about my progress. (Warning: It won’t be very exciting to read). If you feel like participating, I’d love to have some company on this journey toward greater productivity. Here’s a list of what I want to achieve this month. Feel free to post your own list in the comments section below.

30 DAYS OF FOCUS TASK LIST

The following list is the list of professional and personal goals I’d like to achieve this month.

  1. Restart a client’s ebook about neighborhood-specific real estate investing
  2. Complete the above ebook
  3. Restart a client’s ebook about virtual wholesaling
  4. Complete the above ebook
  5. Restart a client’s ebook about a specific technology for real estate investing
  6. Complete the above ebook
  7. Restart a client’s direct marketing copy
  8. Finish the first draft of my book
  9. Complete a business plan for a client
  10. Complete a joint venture project for GraphiteInvesting.com
  11. Publish 25 articles on an internet magazine that I contribute to
  12. Catch up on overdue content to be published on a joint venture real estate blog
  13. Complete all of the September content for the above joint venture real estate blog
  14. Complete an email sequence and free report for one of my joint ventures — FreeVideoSqueezePage.com
  15. Restart regular emails at FreeVideoSqueezePage
  16. Complete all of the September content for my mortgage loan client (approx. 2000 words)
  17. Complete all of the September content for my credit repair client (approx. 5000 words)
  18. Complete all of the September content for my real estate investing client (approx. 12000 words)
  19. Schedule daily episodes through the end of the year at HowToInvest.TV
  20. Complete all of the September content for an investing website that I contribute to
  21. Fix a broken website (which used to earn some money but broke down at the beginning of summer) so it starts to earn money again.
  22. Finish bathroom renovation
  23. Restart my workout routine (3 sets of circuit training with 20 lb weights, 3 times per week)

That’s everything right now… but there might be more added as the month goes on.

So my goal is: Learn to focus better and focus on completing these tasks.

My 30 days of focus starts NOW!