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Focus Challenge Day 1: Creating Time to Focus

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Focus Challenge Day 1


Today is day 1 of our 5-day Focus Challenge. Thank you for joining us!

Our goal by the end of this challenge is to help you clearly identify the one thing that will provide the most traction towards creating the future you’ve always dreamed of. But before we can really start making progress and dive into how to develop your focus muscle, we first need to make time for it. If you don’t create time on our calendar to focus, there’s a good chance you’ll never do it as you get sucked into the business of the day. You’ll get stuck putting out fires, or what Charles Hummel calls, the tyranny of the urgent.

It’s really easy to find yourself in this position. If you’re not careful, you can very quickly get stuck responding to the things that are “urgent” and you’ll end up with no time left over for the things that are important.

Important vs. Urgent

“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” – Dwight Eisenhower

Former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower is credited with coming up with the follow matrix, known as The Eisenhower Box:

Eisenhower Box

This matrix breaks down everything you have to do into one of 4 categories:

  • Things that are important and urgent
  • Things that are important but not urgent
  • Things that are urgent but not important
  • Things that are neither important nor urgent

If you’re like most people, the tendency is to live your life on the left side of this matrix. Yes, you find time for some thing that are both important and urgent, but you also spend a lot of time responding to things that are “urgent” but not important. A lot of email falls into this category, for example. The average U.S. worker spends 6.3 hours per day dealing with email, but the same people also say they don’t have time to go to the gym regularly even though they say they want to work out more.

What we want to do is make mindset shift and start living our lives on the top of this matrix. You want to prioritize the things that are important but not urgent and create the time to do them consistently. That’s what this lesson in particular is all about. The truth is that unless you make time for the things that are important but not urgent and prioritize them, they will never happen. You only have a limited amount of time in your day, and unless you protect it diligently it will get used by other things that are “urgent.”

Choosing Your Big Rocks

There’s a story made popular by author Stephen Covey in the book First Things First that illustrates the importance of creating time for the important things in your life. The story goes something like this…

A professor once pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of his class. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

Jar of rocks

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked his class, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.

Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it filled all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?”

“No!” the class responded. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of all this?”

One person responded that there is always time you can squeeze in a day. While that is true, it was not the point the professor wanted to get across.

“The point,” he said, “is that if you don’t put the big rocks in there first, you will not be able to get them in at all.”

Making Time for Your Big Rocks

The way you make sure you have time for your own big rocks is to put them on your calendar. For example, if you say that exercise is important to you, then you need to block off time on your calendar to go to the gym. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck at the office replying to an email that just came in or dealing with a problem your coworker brought to you right before you left for the day.

If you decide that starting a side business or writing a book is important to you, then you need to create the time to take action on it. That’s what this first lesson is all about. Be intentional about choosing what is important to you, and don’t let yourself be controlled by the “urgent” whims of others anymore.


Now it’s time for you to take action on this lesson and create time in your life for the things you’ve identified as important. We’ll clarify the things that are important a little further in tomorrow’s lesson, so this lesson is fairly simple. Look at your schedule for tomorrow and block off at least 30 minutes on your calendar as a Focus Block.

Make sure that you actually put this on your calendar so that you don’t just skip over this important step. Do this for the remaining days this week as well (Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5). This will create the space for you to complete the exercises associated with the other days in this focus challenge and provide the momentum you need to keep going even after it’s finished. If you can make this time consistent (the same time every day), even better.

Once you’ve done this lesson and created your Focus Block, let us know in the comments!

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Posted by Jim  | November 10, 2017 at 1:02PM | Reply


Posted by Kate  | November 10, 2017 at 8:57AM | Reply

Belatedly finished Day 1 challenge.

Posted by David  | November 10, 2017 at 1:22AM | Reply

I’ve experimented many times with marking blocks of scheduled time in my calendar, but with limited effect. for this exercise I’ve been trying to focus for a 90 min block each morning from 5am-6.30am to concentrate on my most important tasks. It’s marked specifically in my calendar.

Posted by Samuel  | November 9, 2017 at 1:27PM | Reply

Just now getting to this. Time is all scheduled.

Posted by Mark  | November 8, 2017 at 11:09PM | Reply

All set!

Posted by Nils  | November 8, 2017 at 4:40PM | Reply

Blocked the appointments for my focus sessions!
Thanks a lot for luring me into the first step of becoming more focused.
Already heard the story about the rocks and read about the Eisenhower Box (and deep inside you know that’s true and important). But right now I’m overwhelmed with my daily things. So I’m looking forward to getting back on track with your guidance!

Posted by Steven  | November 8, 2017 at 4:27PM | Reply

I created a focus block for 8am before I go to work.

Posted by Whitney Elize  | November 8, 2017 at 12:38PM | Reply

Hello! A day late to the game but still want to participate for myself and getting on track with living my best life. I will set aside 30 minutes each day at 2.30 pm, the lull time at work to focus on what I want the next day to look like for me. visualize where I start and how I want it to end. Now, it’s time to mark it in my Erin Condren Daily Planner.

Posted by Lisa  | November 8, 2017 at 8:49AM | Reply

This made a lot of sense to me and is so helpful. Recurring appointment set. :)

Posted by Harsha  | November 8, 2017 at 7:14AM | Reply

Just created 30 min for focus block !

Posted by Diane Thompson  | November 8, 2017 at 7:04AM | Reply

I set up my focus blocks starting early so that I don’t get distracted.

Posted by Anesh Naidoo  | November 8, 2017 at 4:27AM | Reply

Finally set up my Focus Blocks – 30mins for the next 5 days. This is my 2nd attempt at carving out time to work on my marketing plan.

Posted by Kwame  | November 8, 2017 at 3:27AM | Reply

Blocked off 9am -10am. 2 pomodoros of 25 min each

Posted by Tana  | November 8, 2017 at 12:10AM | Reply

Started a bit late on the challenge, but I have been using AE learnings, including the morning ritual, over the last few weeks, and have already greatly improved my focus.

Posted by Ignazio  | November 7, 2017 at 8:56PM | Reply

Ok. Focus time has been blocked off!

Posted by Olly  | November 7, 2017 at 7:36PM | Reply

I’m in. Time has been blocked off!

Posted by Diana  | November 7, 2017 at 6:00PM | Reply

I have set aside 3:00 to 3:30 PM aside for my Focus Block.

Posted by Damon  | November 7, 2017 at 5:44PM | Reply

6.30 – 7am. Done.

Posted by Cindy  | November 7, 2017 at 5:38PM | Reply

Just blocked them in, but I notice how I am not sure that I can stick to them…I guess making the commitment is the first thing and I will do my best….Not sure what I will be focusing on….

Posted by Theo  | November 7, 2017 at 5:33PM | Reply


Posted by Will  | November 7, 2017 at 4:43PM | Reply

Hey All,
Blocked off an hour for training yesterday, trained today!

Posted by John  | November 7, 2017 at 4:20PM | Reply

Blocked out and ready!

Posted by Shelley  | November 7, 2017 at 3:29PM | Reply


Posted by Bunnie  | November 7, 2017 at 1:36PM | Reply

Blocked out and ready to go!

Posted by Valerie  | November 7, 2017 at 1:19PM | Reply

Done I really do try and put focus blocks of time on my calendar for important work – and one thing I try and do is change my location from my regular work area for is this type of work –

I just want to say that I normally enjoy your content but I was very disappointed with this blog post because so much time was spent on the little rocks big rocks and I just think it’s such a waste of time I skipped over the entire thing because I know the story I’m not coming there to look for the stories that’s in every single MBA books and all over the Internet for the past 10 years I’m looking for a new original content to help me focus so hopefully going forward if you guys can To go little deeper into your expertise and come up with some more original content

Posted by Rachel Ibok  | November 7, 2017 at 12:52PM | Reply

Focus blocks have been created! I’m excited to get started.

Posted by Neil  | November 7, 2017 at 12:34PM | Reply

Done. Obviously can’t block in the AM today, so it’s after I get kid2 to dance. The rest of the week it’s mid-morning.

Posted by Gayle  | November 7, 2017 at 12:20PM | Reply

Wow, so much more control of my own time. Instead of being constantly reactionary, these blocks help me feel more in charge.

Posted by Jim  | November 7, 2017 at 12:15PM | Reply

Focus time calendared for 6:30am to 7:00am

Posted by Joe  | November 7, 2017 at 12:15PM | Reply

Focus time scheduled

Posted by Susan  | November 7, 2017 at 11:37AM | Reply

I will have 6:30-7 AM blocked out for the rest of the week. That’s the only time I am assured I have NO interruptions of any kind. I did not realize how chaotic my life is until I started trying to figure out when there was one certain time during my day when I know no one is around to bother me!

Posted by Troy Patterson  | November 7, 2017 at 11:37AM | Reply

I blocked off a half hour for tonight to focus on the challenge tomorrow. Evenings work well once the kids are in bed.

Posted by Arthur norcome  | November 7, 2017 at 11:16AM | Reply

Was already using a focus block but only once a week. In need to get my website up and this should help.

Posted by Gabriel  | November 7, 2017 at 10:49AM | Reply

Focus time scheduled!

Posted by Mario  | November 7, 2017 at 9:12AM | Reply

Well, I did it! I hate these challenges, because they force me to take action. But since I often read things, but fail to start implementing it, I feel like I have to.

Posted by Jean-Luc  | November 7, 2017 at 8:51AM | Reply

I’m IN!

Posted by Tim  | November 7, 2017 at 8:37AM | Reply

I am away on business tomorrow and staying in a hotel – perfect time to block off 30 mins – 1 hour to put everything into perspective…

Posted by Josh  | November 7, 2017 at 7:18AM | Reply

I’m going to set my 30 min focus time to the morning. I want to exercise more but because it’s not urgent I rarely make it happen. I’ll have my focus session first thing and then I’ll exercise.

Posted by Sanjay  | November 7, 2017 at 6:08AM | Reply

I blocked off 30 minutes every morning at 6 am to work on writing the chapter of a book that I have been putting off for the last 3 months.?

Posted by Jennifer Naude  | November 7, 2017 at 6:02AM | Reply

Done, I am going to spend 30 minutes every day on CPD – continuing professional development.

Posted by LISA CHRISTINE YOUNG  | November 7, 2017 at 5:32AM | Reply

Done! I was thinking the 30 minutes before lunch will work nicely for research.

Posted by Myru  | November 7, 2017 at 3:48AM | Reply

I’ve blocked out 30 mins in the afternoon for the next four days. I’ve set it same time everyday, 7:00-7:30pm. I’m planning to use it to focus on my enrolled online courses, for it is where I procrastinate the most.

Posted by Gina  | November 7, 2017 at 3:45AM | Reply

I think my problem is that I have a hard time deciding what is most important to focus on. If you ask your heart before going to sleep, one can be hopeful that in the morning twilight hours, a clear voice or answer will emerge but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. I mean, I am not convinced internally that there is something I really want or desire to focus on. (Yet I am American). I am worried that I will need to spend way more time focusing on how to figure out on what to focus on. . . if that makes any sense.

Posted by Mark  | November 7, 2017 at 1:51AM | Reply

I created a 30 min focus block at the same time each day this week.

Posted by Erik  | November 7, 2017 at 1:00AM | Reply

Done, focus blocks planned for the whole week!

Posted by Obed Matus  | November 7, 2017 at 12:22AM | Reply

I have set apart 30 minutes for focus time. 10:00 to 10:30 every morning. Before I check my E-mail.

Posted by Ella  | November 7, 2017 at 12:17AM | Reply

Done! I’ve blocked off from 9-10pm for the rest of the week. I like to wind down doing something I enjoy before bed. One thing I’ve been really meaning to do is to try setting up my Omnifocus a different way – I can never get it to stick, even though I’ve tried a few different AE setups.

Posted by Bob  | November 6, 2017 at 11:40PM | Reply

I’ve blocked out 30 min at the beginning of my day, and am looking forward to the dedicated time!

Posted by Juan  | November 6, 2017 at 11:07PM | Reply

I blocked off some time for a daily review, for planning the next day, and for some meditation. I didn’t hit the times exactly but I made sure to do it.

Posted by Anita  | November 6, 2017 at 11:06PM | Reply

9 am always works for creativity in my world

Posted by Joe  | November 6, 2017 at 10:51PM | Reply

I’ve set aside some focus blocks for composing music for my next album.

Posted by Barbara  | November 6, 2017 at 10:46PM | Reply

Alrighty. Tomorrow is mid afternoon but the rest are morning blocks. Let’s do this!

Posted by Simon  | November 6, 2017 at 10:10PM | Reply

Done! One hour, each evening at 8pm, into Google Calendar.

Posted by Curtis Keller  | November 6, 2017 at 10:10PM | Reply

Complete. Blocked off 30 minutes in the morning this week to give it a go. May consider adding a 30 minute afternoon block next week.

Posted by Amratansh  | November 6, 2017 at 9:57PM | Reply

I have to complete major portions of reading and note making by the end of December. There is no way I can get it done without being solely focussed on getting it done.

These coming 8 weeks are going to be a major challenge for me and in this context this 5 day Focus challenge seems totally apt for me.

Blocked a 3 hour slot in the morning from 5 – 8 am totally dedicated to this.

Posted by Jonathan  | November 6, 2017 at 9:54PM | Reply

Done, i’ll be working on an analysis for a client that is due this week.

Posted by Brandi McNeil  | November 6, 2017 at 9:53PM | Reply

Carved out the time for the next four days. Really hope this week will help me feel less overwhelmed with my endless todo list!

Posted by Bob  | November 6, 2017 at 9:36PM | Reply

Challenge accepted! I have two little girls (1 &3) with a baby on the way leaving me with not as much time to spend at work as I use to have. It’s time to buckle down and get focused. My 30 minute blocks are in place this week. I plan to use tomorrow’s to identifying my big rocks. Thanks for the nudge AE Team!

Posted by Mike  | November 6, 2017 at 9:26PM | Reply

Scheduled 1-2pm each day this week.

Posted by Bob  | November 6, 2017 at 9:23PM | Reply

Focus blocks created for the next 4 days.

Posted by Evan  | November 6, 2017 at 9:07PM | Reply

I’ve created my Focus Block for the next four days. Thanks for your willingness to teach, and your podcast, started listening to it last week. It’s at the right time in my life to absorb this advice.

Posted by Teejay  | November 6, 2017 at 8:58PM | Reply

Focus block … blocked!

Posted by Christine McMullin  | November 6, 2017 at 8:58PM | Reply

I’m an early riser but I haven’t really been productive in those early morning hours. Starting tomorrow morning, 5-5:30 am will be my focus time. I’m feeling the beginning of a ritual start to take hold!

Posted by Kevin Filbey  | November 6, 2017 at 8:18PM | Reply

30 min blocked tomorrow to finally find some time to self improve as a teacher and public speaker. Thanks guys!

Posted by Wesley  | November 6, 2017 at 7:47PM | Reply

One of my goals for October was to move my alarm and bedtime a little earlier each day, so despite being a lifelong night owl, these days I’m waking up regularly at 5:00, which makes 7:00 the perfect time for this focus challenge. I’m up and ready for the day but the house is peaceful and quiet!

But I noticed that the email today went our around 9:00, so if that’s the case tomorrow, then the time right after I get home seems best, because I still have some energy, the house is usually pretty quiet and I can get in my focus time before dinner!

Posted by Jan  | November 6, 2017 at 7:21PM | Reply

I have decided the best time for my focus block is between when I get home from the office and when my husband gets home. I generally consider this my down time and watch TV or surf the internet. I will block 30 minutes each day for the rest of this week for my next Focus Challenge assignment.

Posted by Randy  | November 6, 2017 at 7:09PM | Reply

Done! Blocked thirty minutes each afternoon to continue learning SQL.

Posted by Andrea  | November 6, 2017 at 7:05PM | Reply

Thank you for this challenge. I think it’s a great opportunity to start bettering my ability to focus on my important tasks, which has proven to be difficult for me.
I’ve set aside half an hour in the afternoon to study more for a job that I applied for because that’s usually when I have minimal distractions.
I hope this challenge helps myself and the others partaking in it. ^^

Posted by Anton de Waal  | November 6, 2017 at 6:48PM | Reply

OK that was not difficult at all – creating three Focus Blocks in my Google calendar. Looking forward to spending this time on my special project!

Posted by Allie  | November 6, 2017 at 6:06PM | Reply

I’ve blocked 30 minutes of morning time for each day this week, but in order to do that, I need to rise 30 minutes earlier. We’ll see how that works . . . I’ll probably need to adjust my bedtime as well.

Posted by healer  | November 6, 2017 at 6:06PM | Reply

my focus block has been marked everyday for 45 minutes and I will use it to plan and prioritize what really matters everyday

Posted by Qianhua  | November 6, 2017 at 6:05PM | Reply

I am a master student in business and have great interest in programming. I wish I could excel my python programming ability by the end of this year and keep building up my data science skills further. I will block one hour every morning for Python learning. I am confident that I can make it!

Posted by Nick  | November 6, 2017 at 5:43PM | Reply

Blocked off 30 minutes in the morning immediately following my morning yoga

Posted by Laurie  | November 6, 2017 at 5:42PM | Reply

I love this reminder. I’ve decided to take advantage of the time change to start my day an hour earlier. I’ll use that time as my focus block every day

Posted by Janeson  | November 6, 2017 at 5:41PM | Reply

I wanted a focus block to wrap up my work day and determine my MITs for the next day. I set it for 5:00 – 5:30 PM every workday.. It felt good to review what I had accomplished today, and I feel more relaxed having a plan for tomorrow. Thanks!

Posted by Michael  | November 6, 2017 at 5:40PM | Reply

Done. Blocked 30 minutes every day for focus on long-term personal development.

Posted by Matthew  | November 6, 2017 at 5:39PM | Reply

Done. And at various times of the day to see how that feels.

Posted by Katie  | November 6, 2017 at 5:32PM | Reply

I’ve blocked 30 minutes each day for the rest of the week. It feels great to lock it in- looking forward to the remaining challenge- thank you!

Posted by Phil  | November 6, 2017 at 5:21PM | Reply

Spent 3 hours doing an important task using pomodoro and got it done! Thanks for the focus

Posted by Ben  | November 6, 2017 at 4:57PM | Reply

Done. I remember seeing this challenge before, but did not dive in and do it. Not letting it get by me again. I’ve got four more focus blocks on the calendar this week.

Posted by Steve  | November 6, 2017 at 4:54PM | Reply

Ok. 1 hour focus session blocked for the rest of the week! I can do this! I need to be intentional and consistent. I will link it to wearing my (lheadphones and listening to the Mr Robot soundtrack. See you on the other side!

Posted by Matt  | November 6, 2017 at 4:36PM | Reply

Not sure my comment made it. I have blocked off 30 minutes each day this week, starting after I have some time to go through inboxes and check in with my staff.

Posted by Jenny  | November 6, 2017 at 4:29PM | Reply

Done! Scheduled Focus Blocks:

11/07 @ 10:20 to 10:50 a.m. – Focus Block, AE Challenge Day 2

11/08 @ 10:20 to 10:50 a.m. – Focus Block, AE Challenge Day 3

11/09 @ 10:20 to 10:50 a.m. – Focus Block, AE Challenge Day 4

11/10 @ 10:20 to 10:50 a.m. – Focus Block, AE Challenge Day 5

Thank goodness for a lesson on clarifying what things are important!!!

Posted by Vaughan  | November 6, 2017 at 4:23PM | Reply

This seems so simple, but I need it and the structure in the worst way!

Posted by CLive  | November 6, 2017 at 4:19PM | Reply

Just got to it, and now ready to go.

Posted by Viktor  | November 6, 2017 at 4:18PM | Reply

I have blocked out 60 minutes for my IELTS preparation at 22:00 on this week. Let’s see if I am intentional enough. I wish everyone to succeed on this focus journey!

Posted by Michelle  | November 6, 2017 at 4:15PM | Reply

I actually had already put it on my calendar for the week!

Posted by Srilekha Nuli  | November 6, 2017 at 4:11PM | Reply

I made my blocks!

Posted by Alice  | November 6, 2017 at 4:07PM | Reply

I did a previous focus challenge, but now I’ve “fallen off the wagon” due to project overload and travel. I’ve set up new focus blocks for this week.

Posted by Kat  | November 6, 2017 at 4:07PM | Reply

Been going nonstop today between work and classes, and I have a huge exam in an few hours… but I’ve blocked off one and tentatively a second focus time tomorrow morning, before my first class (and possibly the second one after my last class, depending on how much energy I have tomorrow)

Posted by Tim  | November 6, 2017 at 3:58PM | Reply

My two focus blocks this week are sleep and exercise. I’ve got my entire week mapped out on my Passion Planner and my goal is to be in bed by 10 so that I can get up at 5:30 and start each day with some physical activity (treadmill, basketball, swimming, etc.).

Posted by Matt  | November 6, 2017 at 3:50PM | Reply

I’ve blocked an hour starting about an hour after I get to work each day this week. The first hour of the day will be for checking inboxes and checking in with my staff.

Posted by Aline Costa  | November 6, 2017 at 3:36PM | Reply

Looking forward for tomorrow’s challenge. Focus Block in my calendar!

Posted by Anna  | November 6, 2017 at 3:31PM | Reply

Blocked off 9-9:30 am each day

Posted by Simon  | November 6, 2017 at 3:19PM | Reply

For the purpose of this challenge, I’ve identified two big rocks; (1) exercise, (2) 10% entrepreneurship. Regarding exercise, I’ve set up a separate google calendar “health” and reserved time for gym/exercise/something healthy for the entire week. Regarding 10% entrepreneur, I’ve blocked one hour each day of this week to make significant progress in this respect. I started setting up my little venture last week after I got an approval for doing so from my employer. But my hitherto achievement was only so so…. Let’s see where I’ll get when making these two projects my big rocks!

Posted by Erzsebet  | November 6, 2017 at 2:26PM | Reply

My timebox is my lunch break.

Posted by Keith  | November 6, 2017 at 2:26PM | Reply

1 hour has been blocked for some focused report writing!

Posted by Oliver Glenn  | November 6, 2017 at 2:17PM | Reply

New member! Time block off for each day in the cal. Looking forward to tomorrow’s assignment.

Posted by Julia  | November 6, 2017 at 2:08PM | Reply

I’ve been here, done this, but need to step through all of it every six months or so, because the sand and water erode the big rocks if I’m not careful.

Posted by Shay  | November 6, 2017 at 2:07PM | Reply

I’ve entered my focus blocks. I’ve always been hesitant to enter something like this on my calendar as I tend to both resist it and be disappointed in myself if I don’t hold to the appointment. Looking forward to this challenge.

Posted by Eric  | November 6, 2017 at 2:01PM | Reply

I’ve blocked off 30 minutes each afternoon for Focus Work. I had hoped to do it in the morning, but couldn’t find a consistent time for the rest of the week due to previous commitments. So we will see how mid-afternoon works out.

Posted by Ashley  | November 6, 2017 at 1:59PM | Reply

Done! Can’t wait to use this focus time each day.

Posted by Corinna  | November 6, 2017 at 1:58PM | Reply

I have blocked off time in the morning before work. If I don’t get it done first thing, it will be left at the roadside.

Posted by Steven  | November 6, 2017 at 1:54PM | Reply

Scheduled the 30 minute block. I think this will be a big kick in the butt to get going in the right direction. I’ve been traveling
for a good 2 weeks then a little slack the last 2 weeks due to low energy…

I almost feel as if I am struggling from overhw helm while trying to give my body time to relax, but it’s time to kick it back into overdrive and accomplish goals.

Posted by Vijay  | November 6, 2017 at 1:53PM | Reply

Being someone who doesn’t like to over achieve, I did what the exercise said. Blocked 30 min for the rest of the week. Did not plan what I will do during that time block.

Posted by Akhil  | November 6, 2017 at 1:44PM | Reply

I have blocked 30 mins to focus more on reading books. This is something I wanted to do since a long time. I am going to read Getting things done by David Allen!!

Posted by Nate Lowrie  | November 6, 2017 at 1:42PM | Reply

I have been scheduling a 50 minute block (and 10 minute break) in the morning to knock out my Most Important Tasks regarding my business and planning. Today’s focus: Documenting 3 processes that are not currently documented so I can delegate them in the future.

Posted by Rajesh Iyer  | November 6, 2017 at 1:35PM | Reply

Tomorrow 10 am to 11 am and 230 pm to 4 pm

Posted by Andres Acosta  | November 6, 2017 at 1:33PM | Reply

Making room in the agenda to have time to focus is something interesting and wired at the same time. It seems so obvious, but at the end you never have time to really think and plan.

Posted by George  | November 6, 2017 at 1:23PM | Reply

Done! Managed to find a few blocks of time that I’ll fill with worthwhile projects

Posted by Alexander  | November 6, 2017 at 1:22PM | Reply

30 min is blocked on my calendar for tomorrow. Ready to rock and roll.

Posted by Don Pavlik  | November 6, 2017 at 1:18PM | Reply

Done, time has been blocked off.

Posted by Atharva  | November 6, 2017 at 1:14PM | Reply

I have blocked off 30 mins right after I wake up at 6:30 am for a 10 min run while I listen to motivational podcasts and then 10 min cardio session followed by 10 mins to plan my day so that I get everything done!

Posted by Sara  | November 6, 2017 at 1:07PM | Reply

Blocked off a half hour to work on writing a research proposal for next year.

Posted by Steve Nikiforuk  | November 6, 2017 at 12:35PM | Reply

Booked one block each morning this week, and even threw one into this afternoon! Ready to rock!

Posted by Karusha  | November 6, 2017 at 12:34PM | Reply

I am looking to make a drastic career move within the next 6 months. It is a massive change, that requires effort on my part to get ready for the change. I have blocked out time for focus on this over the next few days. This is separate to my Eat Frogs time booked into my diary so that I do not get the 2 mixed up. I am keeping the Eating Frogs session for getting my current job under control, while the focus time is to address the career change.

Posted by David  | November 6, 2017 at 12:34PM | Reply

Done. 30 minutes blocked out for the week.

Posted by Steve Nikiforuk  | November 6, 2017 at 12:33PM | Reply

Booked off every morning this week, and even threw one in for this afternoon!

Posted by Thomas J Jankowski  | November 6, 2017 at 12:24PM | Reply

I’m not even lying, today I blocked out 30 minutes for this! still got 20 to go haha, going to spend it blocking out my big rocks for the week.


Posted by Ron  | November 6, 2017 at 12:18PM | Reply

I’ve blocked out my afternoon time! 👍🏼

Posted by Donny  | November 6, 2017 at 12:12PM | Reply

I scheduled my time to 6-7pm. If I can get up early, then I’ll try to move the block to morning.

Posted by Laura  | November 6, 2017 at 12:09PM | Reply

Time is blocked off for tomorrow & the rest of this week in my calendar. Let’s get ‘er done!

Posted by Kate  | November 6, 2017 at 12:04PM | Reply

Blocked myself off for 30 minutes Tuesday through Friday and even reserved a meeting room for myself so that I’m not at my desk where interruptions often occur. I’m already looking forward to this time!

Posted by Jason  | November 6, 2017 at 12:04PM | Reply

My focus blocks are set from 9-9:30 AM for the rest of this week. This means I won’t be checking email, I’ll be closing the door to my office and focusing. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll know what to focus on!

Posted by Melissa  | November 6, 2017 at 12:02PM | Reply

I actually started this morning before reading this email because I wanted to start “eating my frog” before everything else! For me, that is working on my senior physics capstone project. I ended up doing 1.5 hours instead of 30 minutes! Which was much needed progress!

Amazing what you can do if you just start, and if you get those things that need to get done but don’t feel urgent (my project isn’t due until the end of the semester) before those things that pull you with due dates!

Posted by Jon  | November 6, 2017 at 12:01PM | Reply

Done. Blocked out 30 min tomorrow and 1 hr rest of week.

Posted by Johanna G  | November 6, 2017 at 11:58AM | Reply

Just blocked out focus time at 9 every day to work on my design portfolio.

Posted by Dan  | November 6, 2017 at 11:55AM | Reply

I’m adding 30 minutes every morning after my wife leaves for work. It’s a good time to start the day on-track. This will come right after I do my daily Dojo lessons!

Posted by Briana  | November 6, 2017 at 11:49AM | Reply

Done. I blocked out time today as well. ;)

Posted by Saju K  | November 6, 2017 at 11:48AM | Reply

Every day same time have blocked 30 minutes of my time to do exercise. Using the time I spend browsing the net to spend on making a healthier me :-)

Posted by Christine  | November 6, 2017 at 11:48AM | Reply

I’ve blocked 30-90 minute blocks for the rest of the week, and I tried to block them during my biological prime time in the early morning or late afternoon. I also used the Eisenhower Matrix to decide on what tasks from my big to-do list I should focus on during my “free” afternoon today (i.e., no meetings scheduled) – that was helpful! Thanks!

Posted by Jessica  | November 6, 2017 at 11:48AM | Reply

Ready, set, focus. 30 minutes blocked out of today and tomorrow. I’m ready to go.

Posted by Tomas  | November 6, 2017 at 11:45AM | Reply

I did this challenge a few months ago and it was really helpful. But lately I’ve been unable to focus. This challenge couldn’t come at a better time for me. Already set up my focus time for tomorrow and will tackle a review of my goals. I’ve told everyone that I’m doing this challenge and they’re interested in the results I’ll get.

Posted by e.e.  | November 6, 2017 at 11:41AM | Reply

done! just blocked time tomorrow morning for pure focus. definitely going to hide my personal phone in a drawer during that time, too!

Posted by Blake  | November 6, 2017 at 11:40AM | Reply

Just blocked off 30 minutes at the start of my day before everyone gets up.

Posted by Thomas  | November 6, 2017 at 11:35AM | Reply

Placed 2 Focus Blocks on my calendar: one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. Both precede flurries of activity so having that calmness before will hopefully focus myself on the here and now.

Posted by Fiammi  | November 6, 2017 at 11:35AM | Reply

I have blocked off my 30 minutes focus time every morning for this week – I badly need it to work on my next steps in a productive way!

Posted by Jeremy Greenawalt  | November 6, 2017 at 11:35AM | Reply

I’m blocking off the first hour after coffee and before training in the morning.

Posted by Doug Bales  | November 6, 2017 at 11:33AM | Reply

There are a lot of loose ends that could use tying up, so I will make an hour each morning to deal with these.
Goal: Start next week with no loose ends or open loops.
Starting NOW, clear desktops and pollution in the In-Box.

Posted by Kristen Smith  | November 6, 2017 at 11:30AM | Reply

I have two tasks that I always complete first thing every morning (editing a column and sending out a report), so I already have a small morning ritual.

I’ve added a one-hour focus block right after these tasks for the rest of the week. During that time, I want to work on my weekly editing. I’m a copy editor, so editing is a pretty major aspect of my job—but somehow it still manages to get pushed back every week. My goal is not to even look at my email or Slack until after that focus block is over.

Posted by Michael Breen  | November 6, 2017 at 11:29AM | Reply

My daily schedule can very extremely unpredictable (HVAC Industry), so I’ve found trying to use time blocks during the day very frustrating. The time I do have control over (for now) is first thing in the morning. I have scheduled my 30 minute focus time right after my normal morning routine and leaving for the office.

Posted by Pat  | November 6, 2017 at 11:29AM | Reply

I have blocked off 30 minutes at 8 am each morning to focus. I’m best early in the day. Looking forward to it.

Posted by Tamika Sykes  | November 6, 2017 at 11:20AM | Reply

Ready, set, focus..I have my focus block scheduled

Posted by Mary Benson  | November 6, 2017 at 11:19AM | Reply

I have blocked off my focus time for this week and added it to my 12-week year goals for this newly starting 12-week period.

Posted by Bob Hannon  | November 6, 2017 at 11:12AM | Reply

I’ve blocked off an hour for each of the next 4 days. Hopefully that gives me the time to finish a project that’s been in progress for way too long due to lack of time.

Posted by Chelsea  | November 6, 2017 at 11:07AM | Reply

I just blocked off 30 minutes every morning, on my google calendar, for the rest of the week to focus. Initially, I carved out 30 minutes after work each day, but realized I am most productive in the mornings. This is my first time participating in this challenge, but I am looking forward to seeing the ways in which my productivity/focus improves!

Posted by Árpád  | November 6, 2017 at 11:05AM | Reply

I blocked two times 30 minutes per day, one in the morning from 6:30 and another one from 13:00 just after lunch.
As I learned my daily rhythm, the first one is perfect for deep activity and the afternoon for learning. My sleepy period is only coming around 14:30/15:00 :)

Posted by Virginia Gerde  | November 6, 2017 at 11:02AM | Reply

I decided to take 30 minutes on the porch, by myself, to think about my day. I’ll do it at 5:30, and I put it on my phone calendar.

Posted by David  | November 6, 2017 at 11:01AM | Reply

I blocked off 30 minutes early in the day for this week. I’ll even give it a try today!

Posted by randy  | November 6, 2017 at 11:00AM | Reply

Have already blocked work out time for tonight as well as “focus” time with Webex calls each day this week to add depth to knowledge… THANKS!
Plus more work out time this week…

Posted by Tom  | November 6, 2017 at 11:00AM | Reply

I blocked off 30 minutes first thing in the morning to exercise at the gym at work.

We have this great gym provided and I always “plan” to get down there but once I am at my desk, this becomes a pipe dream. So I will go to the gym first and then to my desk.

Posted by Margaret  | November 6, 2017 at 11:00AM | Reply

Okay, so i’m reading this at work…..Important, but not urgent?!?!? This is hard! Tomorrow my Focus will have to be in the evening. Not my best time, but that’s what I’ve got to give. Hopefully, in the future, I will have better opportunity to schedule this at a more optimum time!

Posted by Todd  | November 6, 2017 at 10:54AM | Reply

I’m blocking time off in the am. If I don’t do it then it won’t happen the rest of the day.

Posted by Frank  | November 6, 2017 at 10:50AM | Reply

I have added an additional 30 minutes as part of my morning ritual as a focus block.
I typically utilize the end of the day for some reflection (mindfulness) time. Now I’ll focus for the day and be able to reflect on what important items that I set out to accomplish.

Posted by Linda  | November 6, 2017 at 10:49AM | Reply

done. I’ve spent 40 years working at night but I am now trying to switch to mornings. I have a short immediacy list that is usually made before bed or in the middle of the night…,

Posted by Oliver Saunders  | November 6, 2017 at 10:49AM | Reply

I am going to use the 30 minutes I have on the train going home. Everything urgent for the day is done so that is a good time to focus on something important without worrying about ‘urgent’ distractions.

Posted by Kacy  | November 6, 2017 at 10:47AM | Reply

I blocked off 30 min at 5:30pm for the rest of the week in my google calendar and bullet journal!

Posted by Bernd  | November 6, 2017 at 10:46AM | Reply

I’ve blocked 30min right in the morning.

Posted by Russ Fellows  | November 6, 2017 at 10:45AM | Reply

Block set for the second half hour of my morning. After cleaning out the email box.

Posted by Shashank  | November 6, 2017 at 10:45AM | Reply

I’ve gone through my OmniFocus list of items and flagged important vs urgent items first. Then, moved only 3 important items in the calendar with a dedicated block of time.

Posted by Carmen  | November 6, 2017 at 10:44AM | Reply

I participated in the challenge a few months ago and got the AirPods! I am taking it again just for fun, though my focus is SO MUCH BETTER than it used to be.

I block at least two sesiones of focused time (thirty minutes each) every day of the workweek. This year I am also making it my AcWriMo time, so I am expecting to be productive in something that is really important but often gets pushed back by urgent things.

Posted by Eike  | November 6, 2017 at 10:42AM | Reply

I have blocked half an hour at the end of each work-day. Since I have a lot of client meetings throughout the day, that seems to be the best time to focus on my important work.

Posted by Jeremy Brown  | November 6, 2017 at 10:42AM | Reply

I have added focus blocks in the early morning for the remainder of the week.

Posted by Simon Westmann  | November 6, 2017 at 10:38AM | Reply

Focus blocked time at work for project planning work, and after hours for reading and exercise

Posted by Alex  | November 6, 2017 at 10:37AM | Reply

I forgot all about this “big rock” strategy. Just set up a recurring @ritual task in Omni to work on coding exercises and algorithms that I have been putting off. Thanks for the challenge!

Posted by Don  | November 6, 2017 at 10:34AM | Reply

I’ve got a healthy block of time set aside for this morning and after lunch tomorrow. Looking forward to upping my focus game!

Posted by Phillip Imbesi  | November 6, 2017 at 10:34AM | Reply

I’ve got 30 minutes blocked out right after lunch each day. It’ll help me clear my decks and stay productive in the afternoon.

Posted by Ken  | November 6, 2017 at 10:33AM | Reply

I block my time though out the based on the tasks I have identified as my priorities, while also blocking time for the ‘less’ important. I usually try to book 30 minutes before lunch and end of day for the less important, but always book my most important first.

And then I track effectiveness at the end of the day and week.

Posted by Bill  | November 6, 2017 at 10:31AM | Reply

One hour blocked for some extra focus.

Posted by Zach Vickery  | November 6, 2017 at 10:29AM | Reply

I’ve scheduled my focus block for the first part of my day. I tend to focus much better early in the morning than in the afternoons.

Posted by Anantha Subramanya  | November 6, 2017 at 10:23AM | Reply

I am planning to write Microsoft Dynamics Navision 2017 exam in December. I will block at least 2 hours a day, early in the morning and focus [eat that frog!].

Posted by Linda  | November 6, 2017 at 10:21AM | Reply

I’m a bullet journaler, so I added Focus to my list of essential things to do today. I gave Focus its own designation–a diamond rather than a box that I can fill in when completed.

Posted by Michael  | November 6, 2017 at 10:19AM | Reply

I scheduled 30 min to focus on writing for my blog. I find writing the hardest for me, I have moderate dyslexia. But I want to be known for my skills and writing about it is one key way to get where I am heading.

Posted by Joshua Feierman  | November 6, 2017 at 10:17AM | Reply

Done! I will be working on documentation to help systematize the work my team needs to complete, so we can: 1. Delegate more work to other less experienced teams, 2. Ensure the work is done in the same correct way each time, 3. Make the onboarding process easier for new members of the team, as we expect to grow soon.

Posted by Samir  | November 6, 2017 at 9:46AM | Reply

I’m on a train tomorrow and I’ve blocked 30 minutes to focus. I really want to catchup on some webinars….but are they the one thing to get me where I want go? I’ll consider it.

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