Join the Focus Challenge
Get a tip each day to get focused:
Smartphones. Email. Social Media. Connected wearables. We truly live in an age of distraction. I heard recently that the average American unlocks their smartphone 180 times per day. Sometimes we even pull our phone out of our pocket because we felt a phantom vibration and are disappointed when we don’t see the notification we were expecting.
We have a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and are we constantly on edge. But all of these distractions and interruptions have a a very real cost, even if we can’t physically see it. The effects have been minuscule – so tiny we usually don’t even notice. But looking back, we can see they’ve added up to result in our current condition:
We have lost the ability to focus.
The inability to focus is a major problem. Recent research shows that 47% of the time peoples minds are wandering, and only 1 in 5 people can focus on any one thing for any length of time. But you don’t have to be included in this statistic. You don’t have to live your life going from one fire that must be put out to the next. In this 5-day focus challenge, we’re going to show you how to develop your focus muscle and use it to create the future you’ve always dreamed of. Plus, if you hang around until the end of the challenge, we’re going to be giving out some awesome prizes:
Grand Prize: Bose QC35 Headphones – 1 ($350 value)
These are our favorite headphones, bar none. Noise cancelling headphones are very important for creating the mental space to focus, and the noise cancellation of the Bose QC35 is second to none. As a bonus, these are Bluetooth-enabled so you can use them on multiple devices without wires.
First Prize – Apple AirPods – 1 ($159 value)
The hype is real – AirPods are great! While they don’t provide the same noise cancellation as the Bose QC35s, they’re extremely portable and surprisingly comfortable. I even use them when working out at the gym! Great for remote workers who have a lot of Skype calls.
Second Prize – Esington Glass Pomodoro Timer – 1 ($80 value)
We’re big fans of the Pomodoro method, and the Esington Timer is the most beautiful pomodoro timer we’ve ever seen. This is a great support tool for helping you focus on your important tasks.
Third Prize – Hardcover copy of Deep Work by Cal Newport (5)
The definitive book on focus. Cal Newport does an incredible job explaining the value of being able to focus and gives practical tips on how to develop your focus muscle even further. We’re big fans of this book.
We did this same challenge about 6 months ago and the results that came in were crazy! Here’s what some of the AE readers had to say….
“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.” – Jens
“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! “ – Evelyn
“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!” – SBC
Here are some of the winners of our previous challenge
Our First Winner of the Bose QC35 Headphones was Tanner, a physician from Columbus Ohio.
Next, we gave out some Apple Airpods to Carmen, a professor of American Studies in Madrid, Spain.
Then we gifted the Esington Glass Pomodoro Timer to a software engineer named Elmer.
And we sent copies of Deep Work to Cathy, a real estate agent in Raleigh, North Carolina and Tuvshinzaya, a PHD student from Mongolia.
And we want to give you a chance to win these awesome prizes too!
To enter, just follow along every day and follow the instructions in the Exercises. Winner will be selected and announced on the blog after the challenge has been completed.
Let’s get started!
A “Fictional” Tale of Woe
But first, let’s identify the problem we’re trying to solve. Tell me if this story sounds familiar…
You wake up to the alarm clock on Monday morning. You have your to-do list, and you’re ready to get started. You’re actually anxious to get started because you know you need to get these things done since there is a big project coming up at work.
But it doesn’t take long until your phone rings. And once you get off the phone, your coworker walks in and asks you for your help putting together a report. Before you know it, you’re checking your email, maybe your social media accounts, and responding to a few text messages that have come in. Then you look up and realize that it’s already 4pm and your work day is almost over.
Now you’re freaking out because the big project is coming up soon and you end up staying at the office late just to get your daily tasks done. Once you do finally get home, you’re completely exhausted and you’re dreading having to do the same exact thing again tomorrow.
If you find yourself in a situation similar to this, you probably didn’t do anything intentional to get here – it just happened. Order and focus are not the default, unfortunately. This may not be your fault, but there is something you can do about it. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And this five day focus challenge is designed to help you not only see the light but help you reach it faster than you ever thought possible.
If I Can Do It, Anyone Can Do It
What I’m going to show you over the next couple days is exactly the process I used to accomplish one of my big goals: write and publish my first book.
As is always the case, my book started off as just an idea. But having an idea to write a book is not necessarily unique – in fact, a recent survey revealed that 81% of Americans felt that they had a book in them and that they should write it. What is unique is the fact that I actually finished it.
At the time of the survey mentioned above was done, the numbers come out to around 200 million people who believe they should write a book. But only about 80,000 get published every year. If you’re doing the math, that means only about .4% actually take action on their goal of writing a book every year. Not 4%, but .4%!
So what helps the .4% actually achieve their goal? It’s 1) the ability of focus on their most important tasks, and 2) the ability to take consistent action on them.
When I got the idea to write my book, I knew nothing about the process. I never considered myself a writer. But because I had the vision for the book, I knew what I needed to do – I needed to get good at writing! I figured that just like anything else, I could get good at writing if practiced consistently. So, I created time on my calendar every single day to make sure I could write for at least 1 hour.
I was married and had 3 kids at the time so that meant the only quiet time I had to consistently write was early in the morning. Now I am naturally a night owl, but as my dad always says: when pain is sufficient, change will come. I can tell you that when you have a strong vision, thinking about not being able to achieve it hurts. It hurts enough to compel even a night owl like me to get up at 5am every morning so I could write before heading to the office.
I showed up every day, whether I felt like it or not. And although I initially expected it would take a year or two to finally finish, only eight months I had finished and published my first book. That is the power of vision-directed habits – small things that done consistently result in massive action being taken towards your goals.
You may not finish your book or big project by the end of this challenge, but you will be well on your way. You’ll also have some momentum that can keep you going as you continue to chip away at it. This 5-day challenge is designed to put you on the same path I used to publish my book faster than I ever thought possible. If you follow along with this 5-day focus challenge, you can follow in my footsteps and join the super-exclusive .4% who don’t just talk about their goals but actually do something about it.
Maybe your dream isn’t a book, but a business. It doesn’t matter what your destination is, the process is the same. All you have to do is show up every day and do the right things, just like I did. I’m not special – if I can do it, literally anyone can do it. All you have to do is start intentionally taking consistent action on your goals. And this 5-day focus challenge will show you how.
What to expect
Jim Rohn once said that control and focus are mental currencies, and in this challenge we’re going to help you develop a wealth of both. This challenge is here to do 2 things for you:
- Help you identify the things that will provide the most traction towards creating the future you want
- Provide some sustainable momentum for you to continue making progress after the challenge is over
There are thousands of fellow AE fans across the world taking this challenge, and we are looking forward to sharing this journey with you. Here’s how it will work:
During the week, we will be posting ONE new tip each day, starting Monday, November 6. These tips are designed to help you develop your focus muscle and create the future you’ve always dreamed of. By the end of the challenge, you’ll know what things you need to focus on in order to achieve your ideal future and you’ll have a plan you can follow to help make it happen.
Your homework for this first lesson is simple – just comment below to let us know you’re in and click this button to share that you are taking the 5 Day Focus challenge:
The reason for sharing this is simple, but important – you are more likely to follow through on something when you write it down. Research done by the British Journal of Health & Psychology shows that you are 3 times more likely to achieve your goal when you write it down. And if you share it via social media, you’ve not only written it down but you’ve shared it with those who are closest to you. When you tell other people that you are going to do something, your follow through rate is even higher.
So don’t skip this step! If you’re serious about joining us for this 5 day focus challenge, show us (and your friends) that you mean business.
Join the Focus Challenge
Get a tip each day to get focused:
Discover the 1 Lifehack of Highly Successful People
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