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The 5-Day Focus Challenge – Are You In?

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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)

Bose QC35

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)

AirPods

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)

Esington Timer

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)

Deep Work book

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.

My wife is pretty excited about my book being published.

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:

  1. Help you identify the things that will provide the most traction towards creating the future you want
  2. 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.

Exercise

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:

Tweet: I'm starting my #AsianEfficient 5-day focus challenge! Join me here: https://ctt.ec/zhlUR+

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:

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82 Comments

Posted by Samir  | November 3, 2017 at 8:59AM | Reply

I’m in the challenge. Looking forward to it Mike.

Posted by Troy  | November 3, 2017 at 10:23AM | Reply

I’m in…looking forward to the challenge.

Posted by Advani  | November 3, 2017 at 10:26AM | Reply

I’m in! Excited to learn what I can change in 5 days.

Posted by Saju  | November 3, 2017 at 10:29AM | Reply

Lets Go

Posted by Kristen Smith  | November 3, 2017 at 10:32AM | Reply

I’m in. I’m about half-way through reading “Deep Work,” and I’m hoping this challenge will be the motivation I need to start implementing what I’ve been learning!

Posted by Shelley  | November 3, 2017 at 10:35AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Adrian Check  | November 3, 2017 at 10:41AM | Reply

I’m in. Looking forward to the accountability

Posted by Angela Smucker  | November 3, 2017 at 10:47AM | Reply

Gonna give it a go!

Posted by Phillip Imbesi  | November 3, 2017 at 10:49AM | Reply

I’m in, sounds like fun.

Posted by Myru  | November 3, 2017 at 10:57AM | Reply

An opportunity to improve productivity and an opportunity to win a prize. I won’t let this win-win opportunity to be missed! I’m in! :D

Posted by Andres Acosta  | November 3, 2017 at 11:00AM | Reply

Hey,I´m in…..Thanks.

Posted by Frank Murphy  | November 3, 2017 at 11:02AM | Reply

Any opportunity to take my productivity to the next level is a welcomed challenge. Looking forward to it!

Posted by Mark  | November 3, 2017 at 11:10AM | Reply

I’m in

Posted by Todd  | November 3, 2017 at 11:12AM | Reply

Count me in.

Posted by Zach Vickery  | November 3, 2017 at 11:21AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Steven  | November 3, 2017 at 11:22AM | Reply

I’m in, ready to improve my focus! 👀

Posted by Brian  | November 3, 2017 at 11:43AM | Reply

Let’s do this!

Posted by Steve  | November 3, 2017 at 11:51AM | Reply

Ready to ratchet up my focus!

Posted by TJ  | November 3, 2017 at 11:52AM | Reply

I’m in. Got a lot on my plate and looking forward to getting it done

Posted by Kacy  | November 3, 2017 at 11:55AM | Reply

I’m in! And I’m going to actually do it this time instead of dropping off on day 2 or 3 like I’ve done in the past because I get distracted/forget/don’t have time/blahblahblah :(

Posted by George  | November 3, 2017 at 12:03PM | Reply

Yup, I’m in.

Posted by TSuSe  | November 3, 2017 at 12:13PM | Reply

Was looking for something to improve my focus and here is this challenge! I am totally in.
Hoping you get my most important Test done in these 5 days of Focus.

Posted by Greg  | November 3, 2017 at 12:15PM | Reply

I’m in. I have tons of different areas that I’m trying to balance (work/home/bookkeeping for wife’s business/refereeing hockey/…), and it’s too easy to try to multitask and get multiple things done at once rather than work each job to the end.

Posted by Janeson  | November 3, 2017 at 12:48PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Joshua  | November 3, 2017 at 1:06PM | Reply

Let’s do this! ;-)

Posted by Jenny  | November 3, 2017 at 1:10PM | Reply

I’M. IN.

Posted by Teejay  | November 3, 2017 at 1:55PM | Reply

I’m in!

FYI, your post states this challenge will start Monday, May 22 … might want to fix that.

Posted by Ruben  | November 3, 2017 at 1:57PM | Reply

I don’ have many focus problems, but making it a priority fo five days won’t hurt

Posted by David  | November 3, 2017 at 1:59PM | Reply

I’m in…..but the real challenge is can AE get me to focus more? I sure hope so!!!… and I’m up to working on it!

Posted by Joyce  | November 3, 2017 at 2:20PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Ron  | November 3, 2017 at 2:56PM | Reply

I’m In!

Posted by Gemma  | November 3, 2017 at 3:17PM | Reply

I’m in. Had great results last time.

Posted by Tim  | November 3, 2017 at 4:08PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Vince  | November 3, 2017 at 4:18PM | Reply

In. Let’s do this.

Posted by Simon  | November 3, 2017 at 4:25PM | Reply

BOOM! Am so in.

Posted by Chloe  | November 3, 2017 at 4:32PM | Reply

I’m in and excited!

Posted by Don Pavlik  | November 3, 2017 at 4:35PM | Reply

I’m in.

Posted by Don Pavlik  | November 3, 2017 at 4:36PM | Reply

The date is off in the article:

starting Monday, May 22

I believe it should say starting Monday, November 6

Posted by Pauline  | November 3, 2017 at 5:33PM | Reply

I am so in. I need help. #drowning

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

I’m in

Posted by Samuel  | November 3, 2017 at 7:07PM | Reply

I’m in. I think it was someone famous who said something like “small steps add up to big results.” :) Really looking forward to this!

Posted by Rena  | November 3, 2017 at 8:25PM | Reply

I’m so in! My focus is in desperate need of help!

Posted by Mary Joy Reelyn  | November 3, 2017 at 8:52PM | Reply

I’m in.

Posted by Michael  | November 3, 2017 at 9:20PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Joe  | November 4, 2017 at 12:06AM | Reply

I love a good AE challenge. Let’s get focused!

Posted by Ibrahim Afghan  | November 4, 2017 at 1:21AM | Reply

I am in

Posted by Kim  | November 4, 2017 at 3:04AM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Ella  | November 4, 2017 at 5:06AM | Reply

As a medical student who just cannot get the study done that I want to, I am so in.

Posted by Paul Serrin  | November 4, 2017 at 5:09AM | Reply

I’m in

Posted by Britta  | November 4, 2017 at 5:19AM | Reply

I’m in. Sounds like a great challenge.

Posted by Karusha  | November 4, 2017 at 7:29AM | Reply

Count me in!

Posted by Gabriel  | November 4, 2017 at 9:56AM | Reply

I’m in! Looking forward to this!

Posted by Tomas  | November 4, 2017 at 10:03AM | Reply

Thank you AE for this challenge. This could not come at a better time. Lately and specially this past week, I have really struggled to get ahead on my goals both personal and professional. I’m very excited to take on the challenge and really enjoy all the material you put out.

Posted by Daniel  | November 4, 2017 at 10:11AM | Reply

Let’s do this!!

Posted by Nandi Keir  | November 4, 2017 at 10:11AM | Reply

I’m in! Looking forward to it.

Posted by Richard  | November 4, 2017 at 11:38AM | Reply

This challenge is perfect right now as midterms and finals begin to approach

Posted by Richard  | November 4, 2017 at 11:39AM | Reply

This challenge is perfect right now as I am beginning to have trouble doing deep work for some reason.

Posted by Johanna Granlund  | November 4, 2017 at 12:41PM | Reply

Wohoo, I’m in!

Posted by Gayle  | November 4, 2017 at 1:12PM | Reply

Sounds good. I’m in!

Posted by Ellen  | November 4, 2017 at 1:14PM | Reply

Looking forward to focusing and being super productive!

Posted by Qianhua  | November 4, 2017 at 1:17PM | Reply

I am innnnnnnnnnnnnnn!! looking forward to learning something that might help me improve! challenge accepted!

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

I’m in!!

Posted by Christine  | November 4, 2017 at 9:03PM | Reply

I need this right now. I’m in!

Posted by Wesley  | November 4, 2017 at 10:39PM | Reply

Challenge accepted! I’ve implemented a lot of what I’ve learned from the podcast recently with great effect and I’m ready for the next step.

Posted by David  | November 5, 2017 at 3:08AM | Reply

I’m so in! Let’s get focus!!

Posted by Erzsebet  | November 5, 2017 at 6:04AM | Reply

I’m in…and looking forward to the challenge! Ready to start. :)

Posted by Simona  | November 5, 2017 at 7:07AM | Reply

I’m in! Ready to improve my focus!

Posted by Jan  | November 5, 2017 at 10:53AM | Reply

I’m in. My ability to focus has decreased dramatically. I am hoping that some of your tips can help reverse this frustrating trend.

Posted by Jaz  | November 5, 2017 at 1:20PM | Reply

Cool challenge – I’m in!

Posted by Susan  | November 5, 2017 at 1:33PM | Reply

I’m in! Just in time for Week 2 of NaNoWriMo!

Posted by Kat  | November 5, 2017 at 4:48PM | Reply

Will probably be half-asleep and buried in schoolwork the whole time, but I’m in. Been trying for years to get my life in order and this seems like a great place to start.

Posted by Lisa Young  | November 5, 2017 at 9:30PM | Reply

I am in!

Posted by Michael Breen  | November 5, 2017 at 11:32PM | Reply

I’m in! Looking forward to conquering my focus issues, a month before my wife and I welcome our first child!

Posted by Marco  | November 6, 2017 at 4:30AM | Reply

Great. Improvement is the needed goal. I’m in.

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

I’m in!

Posted by jana  | November 6, 2017 at 8:52AM | Reply

Is it too late to join?

Posted by Joshua Feierman  | November 6, 2017 at 10:12AM | Reply

I’m in! The story you included could well describe me almost every day of the week.

Posted by Alex  | November 6, 2017 at 12:05PM | Reply

I’m in!

Posted by Shez Patel  | November 6, 2017 at 3:48PM | Reply

I’m in and ready to get more productive

Posted by Neil  | November 7, 2017 at 12:27PM | Reply

I’m in. Looking forward to building on the results of the inbox challenge.

Posted by Lesa  | November 16, 2017 at 9:01AM | Reply

I know I’m well past the start date, but I’d still love to get the information for this challenge!

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