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Focus Challenge Day 5: Creating Momentum

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Focus Challenge Day 5

Welcome to Day 5 of the 5-day Focus Challenge. If you haven’t yet, make sure to complete Day 4 before attempting today’s challenge. Today’s challenge is all about taking action on your one thing, which you identified during yesterday’s exercise.

Let’s get started.

Now that you’ve identified the one thing that will provide the greatest movement towards creating the future you’ve always dreamed of, it’s time to take action.

This step can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s an old saying that says in order to eat an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time. You don’t have to write the whole book, you just have to write one page and then do that enough times (trust me, I know). The secret to your success is in the consistency of your action. It doesn’t matter how big your action is, what matters is that you do it every day.

The Compound Effect

There’s a story about the man who invented the game of chess. The story goes that the man who invented this amazing game was asked by the king of the country where he lived what he wanted as a reward. The man reportedly asked for one grain of rice doubled for each square on the chess board, which is 64 squares in title (8 squares by 8 squares). That’s 1 grain of rice for the first square, 2 for the second, 4 for the third, 8 for the fourth, 16 for the fifth, and so on.

The compound effect

The king reportedly initially laughed off what he considered be a meager reward for such an incredible invention. But the story goes that after a week he asked the treasurer if the man had been paid and he said no because there wasn’t enough in the royal treasury. You see, that one, insignificant, grain of rice doubled for every square on the chess board is actually 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 grains of rice!

I love this story because it shows the power of compound effect and the dramatic impact it can have in helping you achieve your goals. It shows that it doesn’t matter what you start with, what matters is that you consistently do the right things the right way. When you do this, the compound effect kicks in and makes success inevitable for you.

So how do you make sure that you consistently do the right things? By doing them first thing. In other words, by eating your frog.

Eating Your Frog

The term comes from the Brian Tracy book called “Eat That Frog!” based on a famous quote:

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.” – Mark Twain

From a productivity perspective, the beginning of the day is the best time to focus on your most important task (MIT). You have the most cognitive resources and willpower to devote to something at the beginning of your day, so it is the perfect time to take action on the one thing that will provide the most movement towards achieving your ideal future.

By prioritizing your one thing from the challenge yesterday and doing it first thing, you can go through the rest of your day feeling like you’ve accomplished something great. And the truth is, you have! Just stick with it, and before long the compound effect will kick in and you’ll start to see some major progress being made towards achieving your ideal future.


Look back at the thing you identified as making the biggest impact in achieving your ideal future from Day 4. This is what you are going to work on in your focus blocks going forward, staring today. Do something to take action on this, RIGHT NOW!

When you’re done, look at the time slots you set aside for your Focus blocks this week and put them on your calendar going forward. If they are not at the beginning of your day, move them there. You might have to get up a little bit earlier to eat your frog before you start your day, but the satisfaction that you get from doing so is worth the inconvenience.

Extra credit: Take your focus blocks and DOUBLE the duration. That means that if you had a 30 minute focus block, set aside 1 hour. This will exponentially accelerate the rate at which you are able to achieve your ideal future by leveraging the compound effect. Just make sure to be consistent and don’t bite off more than you can chew when eating your frog.

Congratulations! You’ve completed the 5-day focus challenge. Now tune in tomorrow to find out how you can win one of the awesome prizes we mentioned in the kickoff.

(And if you want more actionable information, we have a new presentation coming up where we dive deeper into creating your ideal future…faster. Here’s the link to check it out.)

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Posted by Deanne  | May 26, 2017 at 8:02AM | Reply

This has been a great week! I’ve had several “ah ha” moments, and have seen a significant improvement in my productivity, both at home at at work. Thanks!

Posted by Amanda Watson  | May 26, 2017 at 10:21AM | Reply

Agreed! A lot of “a-ha” moments!

I set my blocks for next week/going forward. Next week I have set aside an additional 30 minutes at the end of my day. So, two 30 minute blocks. After next week I increased to an hour!

Thanks for the great week!

Posted by Jason  | May 26, 2017 at 10:33AM | Reply

Amazing practices! Helpful advice!! I’ve doubled my daily time slot and can’t wait to see the exponential development! Thank you.

Posted by Christopher Williams  | May 26, 2017 at 10:36AM | Reply

Focused blocks identified for the next week.

Thanks for putting this challenge out there for us. It has been helpful and has given me several insights!

Posted by Marti  | May 26, 2017 at 10:42AM | Reply

Thank you for the chance to get refocused on my goals! Or, I should say ONE GOAL – the most important one right now.

Posted by Kaity  | May 26, 2017 at 10:50AM | Reply

Great! I have scheduled in time at 6 AM every morning to do what I decided I need to yesterday. I’m looking forward to a more focused and peaceful future.

Posted by Kendal  | May 26, 2017 at 10:50AM | Reply

Great week! Finally getting the Ideal Future nailed down. Helped to get the conversation started with my husband and find out we are both ready for some big changes

Posted by Katie  | May 26, 2017 at 10:55AM | Reply

Thanks for an awesome week. I too had several ah-ha moments where things that I have read before have suddenly clicked. I’m excited to keep this momentum going in the following weeks.

Posted by Justin  | May 26, 2017 at 10:58AM | Reply

This is great I just finished Eat That Frog yesterday. Now I have moved my training blocks from night to morning and better than that my wife is in agreement with me on all this too!

Posted by Ranier  | May 26, 2017 at 11:04AM | Reply

Thank you again guys!

Posted by Audrey  | May 26, 2017 at 11:05AM | Reply

Done scheduling my blocks every morning. This week has made me realize that I need to get stuff done, I need to focus, I just need to do the things I’ve been postponing indefinitely. I just can’t carry on like this or my goals will never be achieved. Thank you for this week and that reminder.

Posted by Tanner G  | May 26, 2017 at 11:22AM | Reply

Thank you so much for this challenge. Sometimes you just need a focus challenge to….. uh… focus! Appreciate you walking me through this, time to go eat some frogs post night shift!

Posted by Alice  | May 26, 2017 at 11:51AM | Reply

Scheduling these blocks has been helpful, thanks!

Posted by Jens  | May 26, 2017 at 12:06PM | Reply

Thank you for this challenge, I also had some ah-ha moments and feel like some things clicked inside me. I will try to do the one thing from yesterday every day in my focus block. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going.

Posted by Brandon  | May 26, 2017 at 12:20PM | Reply

And Go! Thanks for the program this week, been good to read the daily tips.

Posted by Johann Smit  | May 26, 2017 at 12:23PM | Reply

Focus session doubled – and changed to 1st thing in the mornings – great 5 days mini course

Posted by Kim  | May 26, 2017 at 12:27PM | Reply

The best part of this was giving myself “permission” to ignore (well, defer) emails that trigger that Pavlovian reaction to respond. There’s almost nothing that can’t wait.

Posted by Lindsay  | May 26, 2017 at 12:42PM | Reply

My “one thing” really was just *one* thing: I took action today by drafting an email once I found the email address I assigned myself yesterday to look for today. I guess sending the email and following up on it can happen during future focus blocks, but otherwise, I’m done. Did I do something wrong?

As far as scheduling my focus blocks going forward, I’m anticipating a big change to my schedule starting Monday. I scheduled all the blocks anyway, but I am almost certain I’ll have to reschedule. I’ve found that *re*-scheduling is a lot more effective than *not* scheduling, though! If nothing else, I guess can use a focus block to identify my next “one thing.”

Posted by Jon Kindel  | May 26, 2017 at 12:49PM | Reply

Great article and series, a perfect example of how the ability to focus is nearly gone in today’s world. Thanks for doing this! :-)

Posted by Mary Lynn  | May 26, 2017 at 12:52PM | Reply

Setting alarm for 1 hour earlier and adding focus blocks in that time slot. Off and running as of this morning. Thanks for the challenge!!

Posted by André  | May 26, 2017 at 12:59PM | Reply

Glad I took part in the challenge!
This is an exercise I’ll do again in a 6 to 12-month timeframe.

Posted by Luis Matos  | May 26, 2017 at 1:31PM | Reply

Thank you so much for this. It has been beyond helpful and life changing.

Posted by Kate D  | May 26, 2017 at 2:01PM | Reply

Thanks for the nudge to move towards my dreams. Today I applied to a school to take a “Street Photography” workshop this summer. It’s like the moving sidewalk at the airport — just one easy step to get on, and you get carried a long way towards your goal.

Posted by Brian Shin  | May 26, 2017 at 2:02PM | Reply

Doubled focus blocks and tackled my MIT first. Wasn’t easy to fight the urge to send emails and do the easy stuff but I feel such a burden off my shoulders now!

Thanks for an insightful five days.

Posted by Yasin Najib  | May 26, 2017 at 2:54PM | Reply

Doubling focus time would mean waking up earlier.
Will definitely try this for a week.

Posted by Kaloyan  | May 26, 2017 at 2:54PM | Reply

Thank you, AE for very actionable tips trough the entire week.

I realised i had my hands full, but with the wrong “weights”. Better smaller weights but daily and more repetitions, than big weights and consistently.

Your fan,

Posted by Elmer Thomas  | May 26, 2017 at 3:01PM | Reply

I’ve made the necessary changes to my calendar. In the past, this has been a difficult habit to develop (I tried the Golden Hour method from Tony Robbins) as I tend to easily blow off that meeting with myself for other seemly more urgent/important items. I hope this 5 day practice will help cement this habit once and for all.

Posted by Julian  | May 26, 2017 at 3:02PM | Reply

This has been incredibly helpful. Keep up the good work!
I not only scheduled to take massive action on my todos but actually moved forward with them already!

Posted by Abdul  | May 26, 2017 at 3:03PM | Reply

I am really thankful you for giving me wonderful training from important things to roadmap of future I have clarified all things that were doubtful thank you very much

Posted by Michael Peay  | May 26, 2017 at 3:31PM | Reply

I’m going to keep going with the focus blocks. It’s something that I haven’t been doing even though I know I should. Have some set time aside from the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ will ensure I’m keeping my priority clear.

Posted by Rachel Schmitz  | May 26, 2017 at 3:37PM | Reply

The 5 day Focus challenge proved to be effective as I spent 30 minutes writing today (680 words). It was the kick in the pants that I needed to start taking action on my most important task. I added a focus block daily in the morning, so this will help me to go to bed earlier as well. I have encouraged several people that I know to take the challenge as I saw such great improvements personally from going through the 5 day challenge! Keep up the great work, I look forward to future challenges to kick productivity into high gear.

Posted by Jackie  | May 26, 2017 at 4:07PM | Reply

This week has been an extremely productive week! I started off every morning with 30 min exercising + 30 min Focus Block. It felt great to get two things checked off my list within less than a couple hours of waking up! Now that I see that 30 min of drawing (my Focus block and “one thing”) is doable in the morning, I have continued to schedule this on my calendar. Weekends will be easier to extend this time to 1 hour (maybe 2 for painting!), but I will definitely give it a shot over the weekdays. If not, even 30 minutes to start of my day with my Focus Block is absolutely amazing.

Posted by Tracy  | May 26, 2017 at 4:13PM | Reply

Thanks! Big help!

Posted by Neil  | May 26, 2017 at 4:22PM | Reply

Thanks Mike and AE Team! Congratulations on a well designed challenge, packed with excellent choices of transformative methodologies with encouraging and supportive language. Good typos too! Namaste and onwards…


“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Posted by Eric S  | May 26, 2017 at 4:47PM | Reply

Well my focus is on eating better and decided yesterday the one big thing to do was to cut as much sugar as poss so bit difficult to focus on that in the focus time as that is an all day thing. I put together a little story picture above my desk to help me focus on my ideal and had set my focus time early so a bit of a fail with today’s challenge in a way. But I can just reflect for a few minutes on my ideal in my early morning focus time to set me up for the day and may determine a second thing to also focus on with the rest of the time.

Anyway enjoyed the challenge for the last 5 days so thanks and good luck to all in setting your ideal futures into practice.

Posted by Don Schulte  | May 26, 2017 at 4:47PM | Reply

Thank you very much for this week’s Focus Challenge. My biggest takeaway is just scheduling time for this. Will continue the practice!

Posted by Oren  | May 26, 2017 at 4:49PM | Reply

Glad to have done this this week since next week my free time increases greatly and will be better able to start working on this and implementing it!

Posted by Torsten  | May 26, 2017 at 5:21PM | Reply

Day 5 completed … great week 👍🏻

Posted by Ola  | May 26, 2017 at 5:22PM | Reply

Thanks for an inspirational minicourse. Looking forward to next week with scheduled blocks. Will try 1 hour blocks the week after that.

Posted by Evelyn Georgieva  | May 26, 2017 at 5:31PM | Reply

Thank you for putting together this great and thoughtful challenge – it has been a very insightful and action-oriented week for me. The challenge was an excellent reminder for all the big valuable and really important things for me along with prioritizing them and connecting my goals with actions. I have to say, this definitely resulted into me gaining momentum and staying on top of my game on a daily basis. I’m determined to continue putting the knowledge into practice and achieve goals through purposeful and consistent actions!
Thank you AE!

Posted by Karen  | May 26, 2017 at 5:32PM | Reply

Have my original focus time for @work on my schedule forever.
Have added anther for my before work time.
Thanks for helping to make focus an action, not just the word of the year

Posted by Joyce  | May 26, 2017 at 5:50PM | Reply

taking action right now!

Posted by Ben Phi  | May 26, 2017 at 5:55PM | Reply

This exercise is PERFECT for me because I’ve had several side-projects as well as other planned projects pertaining to my interest of computer science that I have pushed off constantly and only worked on in my own accord, whether it was lazily at the end of the day or during brief lunchtimes. Now, I have morning and night focus blocks during my open leisure time slots, each an hour long, for solely working on my projects, whether it is researching, learning, doing, etc. I will be putting in the time every day and night and I have Asian Efficiency to thank.

I thought that this 5 day challenge was very powerful, because it integrates two things that are essential to moving towards the future: a goal in mind and a way to attain that goal. Two basic things that I never thought could be such a life-changer, especially in such a short amount of time when considering 5 simple daily tips, but this has greatly changed the way I work and the mindset in which I work. Thank you.

Posted by Jessie  | May 26, 2017 at 6:10PM | Reply

Thank you for this thoughtful series! Not only did this series teach my better-half what a corn maze is, we made headway on our family and business goals. Here’s to being more productive!

Posted by Ken Choat  | May 26, 2017 at 6:13PM | Reply

These simple but strategic steps give me hope for making progress with what is really important in my and my families life!!

Posted by Barb  | May 26, 2017 at 6:16PM | Reply

I did an hour on my MIT this morning. I got heaps done. It’s motivating me to want to continue :-)

Posted by Jason Stone  | May 26, 2017 at 6:17PM | Reply

Thank you for hosting this Focus Challenge, Mike! I had no idea just how critical it would be to my success. I thought at the end of the week I might end up being able to focus a little better in general and hopefully would win a fun prize. I had no way of knowing that I’d end up being clear headed, well rested, well organized, laser focused, goal oriented, and Asian Efficient!

In less than 12 hours total time this week I have created a work schedule, figured out what I want in life, set my goals, created a plan to achieve my goals, rolled up my sleeves and really focused on working my plan, and actually produced the results I’ve been dreaming, thinking, and talking about for many years. That’s amazing!

I wasn’t really sure at this point that I would actually take the action to do what I had to do to change my life. I can assure you that I now know I wouldn’t have done so, if not for this Focus Challenge. I have finally published my business website and it didn’t take anywhere as long as it would have normally, because I gave myself a deadline to publish it (even if I wasn’t ready to publish yet), so I didn’t waste time tweaking and re-tweaking everything, like I used to do. I included the link to my new website in the header above, but I will list it here too if links are able to be displayed in the text here. I was able to create and publish this website in less that 3 and a half hours. That’s incredible!

I did the Productivity Quiz before I started the Focus Challenge, so I thought it would be fun to do it again now that I’m actually productive. My Productivity Score went from 33/100 before the Focus Challenge to 95/100 after the Focus Challenge! Awesome!!!! :)

When I become a great success, I will remember Mike, the Asian Efficiency Team, and the week I took the Focus Challenge!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Amazing!

Posted by Michael  | May 26, 2017 at 6:28PM | Reply

I’ve just doubled the amount of time I allocated to my morning focus blocks. This could really produce great results!

Posted by SEW  | May 26, 2017 at 7:05PM | Reply

Excellent challenge. Thanks for the eye-opening last five days.

Posted by Michael  | May 26, 2017 at 7:48PM | Reply

Waking up earlier every morning to set aside time for my priority. Will start with increments of 30 minutes. I think setting up a short block of time promotes focus, organized thoughts and consistency without the feeling of overcommitment. I will work up to 1 hour as I gain momentum.

Posted by Dale  | May 26, 2017 at 7:58PM | Reply

Eating my frog sounds gross but really works! I get up between 4:30 and 5 so am able to get a lot done after morning ritual. Thanks for this brief course!

Posted by Susi  | May 26, 2017 at 8:25PM | Reply

I’ve added the focus blocks to my calendar for next week. Looking forward to getting results!

Posted by Luciano Rizzi  | May 26, 2017 at 8:42PM | Reply

I blocked 1 hour each day for the next week to work on my most important project and I intend to keep this routine until it is complete and launched!

Posted by Kenneth  | May 26, 2017 at 9:01PM | Reply

I thought it was a little disappointing. This is about giving focus to getting to your dreams but not so much to giving you focus in your daily work.

Posted by Kimi  | May 26, 2017 at 10:55PM | Reply

What an awesome week! Thank you, Mike and the Asian Efficiency Team for a well put together mini-course.

The course gave me ideas I have heard elsewhere (including in other Asian Efficiency courses and blogs), but even if I tried some of them, I did not really integrate them into my routine. For me, having the ideas presented in small doses along with impactful stories, kept me from feeling overwhelmed and I found I could then fit them into my day without a lot of mental arguments.

I also found that taking the Challenge with other committed people (community) who shared their daily thoughts and experiences has made a big difference in how I was able to easily accept each day’s offering as part of how I will do things. Other people’s shared ah ha’s often echoed with me thereby helping to further seat the methodology into my routine.

I was surprised at how productive I suddenly became from Day 1, simply by adding a Focus Block to my calendar. I have used Focus Blocks before, but when the time came, I would often have some excuse to ignore it. Because of the community, I didn’t ignore the Focus Blocks this time and was amazed at the difference working the MIT made in the outcome of my day. I could also concentrate more on it because I knew I had set aside the time for this task and it had a time limit (if I needed it). I could, therefore, put aside interruptions until the time slot was up.

Thank You, again! This 5-Day Focus Challenge has positively impacted my life. With such an experience under my belt, it will be a lot easier to continue the practices instead of ignoring them.

Posted by Teresa  | May 26, 2017 at 11:16PM | Reply

thanks for the help. the blocks get bigger next week

Posted by Laurie  | May 26, 2017 at 11:29PM | Reply

So awesome. Spent my focus block planning my 12-week year this morning, and will complete that process over the weekend. I am making sure to identify what I will do with my focus blocks within my 12-week year plan. So ready to kick some tail!

Posted by Michelle  | May 27, 2017 at 12:03AM | Reply

This was hard to narrow down but I think I know what to schedule in

Posted by Brock  | May 27, 2017 at 1:10AM | Reply

Completed!! Thanks Mike and the Team from AE! Feel so motivated and focused after my productive week! Can’t wait for the next week to begin!

Posted by Joe  | May 27, 2017 at 5:45AM | Reply

Thanks guys for another amazing challenge!

Posted by Jl  | May 27, 2017 at 6:36AM | Reply

Thanks for helping me to have a clear idea on what to focus on and how!

Posted by Andrew  | May 27, 2017 at 8:23AM | Reply

I can’t get over how simple these principles have been. I love it! Thank you for the wake up call.

Posted by Cathy von Hassel-Davies  | May 27, 2017 at 12:16PM | Reply

Today was very poignant-as I listener and try-to-be adherer of Floyd Wickham. He says to sit and make that phone call, make those 50 calls and then when you are done go ahead and make 10 more, just for the heck of it. You will find that doing that little extra will make a big difference.

So hearing you say to take that block and double it, hits home.

I’ve learned a lot from these five days. Thank you for doing this!

Posted by chris  | May 27, 2017 at 1:43PM | Reply

very good week and looking forward to compounding my grains of rice.

Posted by Jay  | May 27, 2017 at 2:19PM | Reply

The biggest thing I have got from the challenges is to have that focus hour. I think I will have to redo this challenge in a months time. Thanks AE Team.

Posted by Tom S  | May 28, 2017 at 2:40AM | Reply

It was good to have spent the time this week isolating the most important thing I need to be doing. The time is all blocked in, it already requires 1.5 to 2 hours per day though, so I’m not going to double that!

Posted by Dan Brocklebank  | May 28, 2017 at 4:06AM | Reply

I’ve loved the approach of ‘eating your frog’ before you move on with the rest of your day since hearing the concept on the podcast. I so often find myself avoiding the biggest or most daunting task, much to my detriment. I may not be a morning person but I have seen the value in getting started early. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen into the habit of sleeping in instead. This was the perfect reminder to get into high gear by taking full advantage of my time, especially in the mornings. I am looking forward to the coming week where I can have a full week of implementing this new habit and reaping the rewards of basically adding hours to my day, especially in the morning time when I know I will be super productive. :)

Posted by SBC  | May 29, 2017 at 9:16PM | Reply

This challenge really encouraged me
to go deeper in trying to find the right life balance and habits that will help me live my purpose. I have felt overwhelmed and discouraged always trying to reorganize my life properly, often to no great or consistent result. Some progress has been made and there is hope that I can move from largely “responding” and putting out fires, at the last minute with sporadic energy bursts to intention consistent focus on MIT material. Thank you for your help!

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