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Focus Challenge Day 1: Creating Time to Focus

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

(Update: Day 2 is now available)

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. Before you can really start making progress and dive into how to develop your focus muscle, you first need to make time for it. If you don’t create time on your calendar to focus, there’s a good chance you’ll never do it as you get sucked into the business of the day and the routine things that derail you. 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”, last minute emergencies 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 following matrix, known as The 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 neither important nor urgent
  • Things that are urgent but not important

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 something that is 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 you want to do is make a mindset shift and start living your 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.

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.

Last week I shared with you that I was struggling with reaching my goals and Thanh,  the founder and CEO of Asian Efficiency, gave me a life-altering tip. He suggested that I needed to stop what I was doing and approach my goals differently. I needed to stop focusing on the outcome and instead, on an activity that I could do every day for 60 minutes. He said that if I can focus for 60 minutes – without interruption – every day on my goal, I will accomplish it

This was what I added to my calendar, 60 minutes of uninterrupted time to just run so I can accomplish my goal of running a half marathon (and I have never run in my life before!).


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!

(Update: Day 2 is now available)

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Posted by Morgan  | April 14, 2019 at 9:23PM | Reply

Done! Always a good refresher

Posted by Ingrid  | April 12, 2019 at 10:56AM | Reply

Done! I’m late to the challenge, but will still tanke time to focus the neX-ray four days.

Posted by Stephen Hall  | April 12, 2019 at 7:28AM | Reply

I added a time block each morning for the next week to go through and online course I am committed to mastering.
“5:15 – 7am Watch training course and take notes”

Posted by Christian Davis  | April 11, 2019 at 11:51AM | Reply

I put aside all my work, exercise, business, and meditation time into my Google calender with reminders 😊🙏 thank you so much for the lessons

Posted by Marian Phillips  | April 11, 2019 at 10:26AM | Reply

Life got away from me… I did this challenge about a year ago but fell off the wagon. Refresher course here! Sort of resetting life after too many major events.

Posted by Amratansh  | April 10, 2019 at 6:09PM | Reply

I did this challenge 17 months back and it was phenomenal. Now reading it over again still makes so much of sense. Often, I fill my jar without ensuring that the big rocks are put in first. Therefore, I need to again re-focus and get back at making time for the most important things in my life.

Blocked 30 mins for the coming days!

Posted by Abhishek Thakur  | April 10, 2019 at 5:06PM | Reply

I have Fixed my 30 mins focus schedule, early morning around 7:30 after waking up. First planning for my photography business then learning about few areas in it.

Posted by Barb  | April 10, 2019 at 4:06AM | Reply

Done! I have a task at work that requires a lot of focus for the rest of the week so I am on it!

Posted by Janeson  | April 10, 2019 at 12:21AM | Reply

I finally have a goal I’m excited about – writing a book. I spend an hour on it and an hour scheduled for it each day this week. I can do this!

Posted by Jess  | April 9, 2019 at 10:32PM | Reply

Done… my best time is in the evening when I have shed the stresses of the workday and the others in my house have gone to sleep. That’s my Me Time and when I have my best focus for thinking.

Posted by Isaak  | April 9, 2019 at 9:33PM | Reply

Created a couple of focus blocks for work- and personal-related things that I want done by the end of the month.

Posted by Mindy  | April 9, 2019 at 5:02PM | Reply

I have added Focus blocks and several other recurring projects to my calendar with pop up notifications. I LOVE this idea, I have shared this idea with my coworkers! However, I find myself not sticking to it-any tips? I have tried different time frames. I am the front line for our Director, so I have a constant flow of traffic standing at my desk and across my phone and email-how do I figure out a focus period when part of my job is to respond immediately?

Posted by Bethel Nathan  | April 9, 2019 at 3:27PM | Reply

I created a focus block each day for the rest of the week, and varied when based on what was already planned for that day.

Posted by Dojo Katie  | April 9, 2019 at 3:23PM | Reply

Locked & Loaded!

Posted by Danielle  | April 9, 2019 at 1:59PM | Reply

A little late to comment but I’ve added my focus blocks for the week!

Posted by Obed Matus  | April 9, 2019 at 1:20PM | Reply

I created a block for days 2-5. Some days in the morning and others in the evening.

Posted by Cindi  | April 9, 2019 at 10:57AM | Reply

Done! A great exercise

Posted by Keith Weng  | April 9, 2019 at 9:32AM | Reply

I’ve had a daily “AE” block in my calendar for several months, so can use that time for this exercise.

Posted by Tony  | April 9, 2019 at 8:34AM | Reply

Added my focus blocks yesterday for this week but just now coming back to post. I am travelling some for work this week so it was a little tough to make sure I did my focus blocks the same time each day, but I made it happen. Might be a little uncomfortable as for the time, but maybe that will help get me going.

Posted by Christine  | April 9, 2019 at 8:34AM | Reply

I needed this. I’ve had focus time blocked in the morning since the last challenge but along the way it has devolved into my “get stuff done at the last minute” block. Renewed energy and, well, focus around having this time be only for the truly important and not for a mad dash before the work day begins.

Posted by Danielle Stephenson  | April 9, 2019 at 7:30AM | Reply

Not that long ago I made a list of tasks that were important to me, but not urgent. Tasks that caused me stress and anxiety and I’d constantly put off despite how much they meant to me and my future goals. These were my personal ‘frogs’. Reading this post I realised I have 30min when I get back from work before I go to the gym etc. that’s constantly being filled with those ‘urgent’ but ‘unimportant’ tasks. This post is going to help me change that! Now, that 30min time block, is changing into my focus zone, time to get through these tasks. After all, I eat a frog first thing in the morning at work, why not add a personal one in the evening too?!

Posted by Danielle  | April 9, 2019 at 7:23AM | Reply

I made a list the other day, writing down all the goals and tasks I wanted to accomplish but were causing me anxiety/stress. I often put them off despite most of them being important to my life and longterm goals. They’re my ‘frogs’. Important, and urgent (well, the longer I leave it, the longer I put off the benefits!). So this week, after I get home from work I tend to have 30min before I head off to the gym which I spend ‘filling in’ with those urgent but necessary tasks. This is going to change. This is now my evening focus period towards this ‘frogs’. Why just eat one in the morning too for work, when you can kick a personal one off in the evening too?

Posted by Andrew  | April 9, 2019 at 6:01AM | Reply

In I am … I plan 30 mins at the coffee shop before I head up to my desk every (well, most) mornings. I’m using my Bullet Journal to review the key focus for the week, and what tasks I’m committed to that day.

Posted by Margaretha  | April 9, 2019 at 5:30AM | Reply

My daily Chi Gong is fallen by the Monsoon Wayside. Great opportunity to reinstate. Have put it on my personal and work calendar.

Posted by migue  | April 9, 2019 at 5:30AM | Reply

Added 1 hour focus block for full week

Posted by Jakub  | April 9, 2019 at 3:46AM | Reply

Running task landed in my calendar 8.30-9.00

Posted by Jakub  | April 9, 2019 at 3:43AM | Reply

A running task landed in my calendar 8.30-9.00

Posted by Tor  | April 9, 2019 at 2:26AM | Reply

Blocked 30 minutes each day for the rest if the week for the challenge

Posted by Mark  | April 9, 2019 at 1:49AM | Reply

Done – booked 1 hour time block 7:30 – 8:30 AM for writing the business plan for a record label and non-profit. I can see moving this block to after 5PM to use more creative time next week.

Posted by Bob  | April 9, 2019 at 1:29AM | Reply

Just scheduled my focus blocks for the rest of the week. Looking forward to more focus and clarity ar the end of the week.

Posted by Bob  | April 9, 2019 at 1:25AM | Reply

Have scheduled my 30-minute block times this week. Looking forward to some focus and clarity on my work by the end of the week!

Posted by Monika  | April 9, 2019 at 1:14AM | Reply

Created Focus blocks for entire week to work on my workshop material preparation

Posted by Karin  | April 9, 2019 at 1:13AM | Reply

Done :) – allthough it was not so easy to find the time in my work calender.
I’ve laid it in the afternoon (after I receive your mails as I’m in Europe) and at a time with as little interruptions as possible. I’m a manager in a production factory and hence a lot of the action takes place in the morning.
I do hope I will have energy left when the time is up. Looking forward to this challenge.

Posted by Emilie  | April 9, 2019 at 1:11AM | Reply

Calendar appointments set!

Posted by Sophie  | April 9, 2019 at 12:50AM | Reply

I’ve scheduled an hour of focus block for each workday of this week. They are at different times depending on my work schedule. But I’ve tried to put them as early as possible so that I will have enough energy for it.

Posted by Noah  | April 9, 2019 at 12:41AM | Reply

Getting a late start to this today but looking forward to tomorrow and the week ahead.

Posted by Milan  | April 8, 2019 at 11:47PM | Reply


Posted by Em  | April 8, 2019 at 11:39PM | Reply

Alright! I think this will be fun :)

Posted by Sarah  | April 8, 2019 at 11:31PM | Reply

Great timing: just this morning I was helping my son pack his backpack and reminded him “Big rocks first” so everything would fit. I really should practice applying that to my life more often, and not just to the dishwasher or my purse! OK, I blocked off 30 minutes in the evenings this week that I usually spend veging out in front of the TV. Let’s do this!

Posted by Tammie  | April 8, 2019 at 11:15PM | Reply

Blocked my time. On a one-day plane business trip tomorrow so will use focus time on the plane ride home. Then blocked time earlier the rest of the week. Thank you for the challenge!

Posted by Giancarlo  | April 8, 2019 at 11:12PM | Reply

Time blocked to prepare for a plantinha meeting with my team on Friday

Posted by Caleb  | April 8, 2019 at 10:52PM | Reply

Done. Looking forward to trying it out this time.

Posted by Daichi  | April 8, 2019 at 10:41PM | Reply

Done! I scheduled a focus block of an hour for the next 4 evenings.

Posted by Bill  | April 8, 2019 at 10:31PM | Reply

My focus blocks have been scheduled . I look forward to next steps. Thanks for the push.

Posted by Rachelle  | April 8, 2019 at 10:28PM | Reply

I have added 30 minute time block every morning at 10:00 to go to a Yoga class.

Posted by Boukjan  | April 8, 2019 at 10:07PM | Reply

Blocked 30 minutes every workday first thing at work to work on important things. Instead of the flood of issues coming every day

Posted by Joshua  | April 8, 2019 at 9:50PM | Reply

Thanks a lot.
I resonated with: focusing on an activity, not the outcome. I’ll start learning how to do that.

I’ve created my focus blocks, twice a day. Bring it on!

Posted by Melissa  | April 8, 2019 at 9:15PM | Reply

This is great timing. I’m traveling for work and never manage to keep a schedule beyond time with customers. Focus is difficult when I’m in different time zones and feel like I’m working sun-up to sun-down.

Posted by Kathy  | April 8, 2019 at 8:29PM | Reply

I’ve scheduled a 30 min block early each morning to work on launching my website and my writing business.

If time permits, or should I say, I carve out time in the evenings, I’ll work on it some more.

My best work is in the morning when I get to bed earlier.

Posted by Claudine  | April 8, 2019 at 7:50PM | Reply

I had a three-hour block for vague ‘research and writing’ in my calendar every morning. This was too vague and too big so I would often end up doing unproductive ‘research’ on the web instead. I have now made this a more realistic one-hour block that I can actually commit to.

Posted by Kerri  | April 8, 2019 at 7:37PM | Reply

Time block set! Here we goooooooooo!

Posted by Matt  | April 8, 2019 at 7:37PM | Reply

Done! 1 hour blocked out (2 30 min blocks) for focused work.

Posted by Carmen  | April 8, 2019 at 7:29PM | Reply

Magnífica oportunidad, fijé una hora de trabajo enfocado en mi calendario para este reto 10 – 11 A.M. Gracias por el reto.
Saludos desde Venezuela

Posted by Todd  | April 8, 2019 at 7:18PM | Reply

Done. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to incorporate the Eisenhower method into my life for too long. Duh, schedule a Focus Block for the big rocks. Thanks

Posted by Dennis  | April 8, 2019 at 7:10PM | Reply

I already workout 3-4 times per week running. I need more time to focus, so this was perfect for me. I scheduled time to get some real big picture work completed for the rest of the week

Posted by Ian  | April 8, 2019 at 7:02PM | Reply

Done. I am trying to get better/learn how to analyze sequencing data and will use the block to spend some time doing focused programming practice.

Posted by Joe  | April 8, 2019 at 6:32PM | Reply

Thanks for the reminder. This is a good start.

Posted by Lee Z  | April 8, 2019 at 6:28PM | Reply

Blocked off time for focus blocks for the remaining days of this week.

Posted by Iva  | April 8, 2019 at 6:04PM | Reply

I’ve blocked off an hour each morning for Bible study and reading. I’ve blocked off an hour in the afternoons for writing and working on my blog. These times are not set in stone (especially this week – Saturday is prom for my daughter), but I really like the idea of focused blocks. Never have I put them in my planner before (I know – it sounds ridiculous as I type this out). Thanks so much for the kick in the pants!

Posted by Jesse  | April 8, 2019 at 5:34PM | Reply

Done! Blocked 1st hour of every workday.

Posted by Ann  | April 8, 2019 at 5:16PM | Reply

I’m in, and my Focus Blocks are on my calendar.

Posted by Jackie  | April 8, 2019 at 5:15PM | Reply

30-60 minutes blocked each day in apple calendar. It needs to be early morning as I have young kids!

Posted by Alice  | April 8, 2019 at 4:50PM | Reply

I had focus blocks as a recurring item in my calendar from the last focus challenge, but I’ve become really horrible at protecting that time! The last couple months have been decidedly terrible for me honoring that block. So–refreshing the schedule and I’m determined to go back to keeping this sacred!

Posted by Eric  | April 8, 2019 at 4:37PM | Reply

Focus Blocks in, wish i could do it the same time everyday but had to move it around.

Posted by Mark  | April 8, 2019 at 4:31PM | Reply

30 min in the evening blocked every day this week

Posted by Lee Z  | April 8, 2019 at 4:23PM | Reply

Added focus blocks for the remainder of the week. Feels good to lock in time for myself.

Posted by Keren  | April 8, 2019 at 4:14PM | Reply

Done 🙂

Posted by Paulo Roldan  | April 8, 2019 at 3:52PM | Reply

Done! 60 minutes blocked every day for meditation and planning.

Posted by Rob  | April 8, 2019 at 3:39PM | Reply

For the coming days I have blocked 1 hour (2 x 30 minutes) per day in my agenda for focused work and alternating 30 to 60 minutes per day for fitness.

Posted by Jan Martens  | April 8, 2019 at 3:13PM | Reply


Posted by Gert  | April 8, 2019 at 2:59PM | Reply

Done, time blocked in Outlook.

Posted by Chris  | April 8, 2019 at 2:44PM | Reply


Posted by Aneev  | April 8, 2019 at 2:27PM | Reply

Focus blocks are in!

Posted by Dillon  | April 8, 2019 at 2:26PM | Reply

Done. Added focused block each morning this week

Posted by Emily  | April 8, 2019 at 2:03PM | Reply

Done! Blocked off 30 minutes each morning to work on my 12-week goals.

Posted by Andy  | April 8, 2019 at 2:02PM | Reply

Done for the rest of week. Focus blocks to focus on long term horizon.

Posted by Eric  | April 8, 2019 at 2:01PM | Reply

A time honored idea, and one that’s good to be reminded of – a couple focus blocks already in place (and more to come!).

Posted by Alexa K  | April 8, 2019 at 1:55PM | Reply

Done! Focus blocks are in my planner.

Posted by Allison  | April 8, 2019 at 1:51PM | Reply

Done. I do find it difficult to delegate the unimportant urgent tasks as no-one else takes them on.

Posted by Phil  | April 8, 2019 at 1:28PM | Reply

Done – part of my morning routine (including a workaround for a live-call class)

Posted by Gizem  | April 8, 2019 at 1:04PM | Reply

I set up 10 am-11 am as my focus time every week day except Friday, and on Fridays I will wake up early for a half-hour session. This might even be sustainable for the foreseeable future… We will see… Thanks for the opportunity to take on this focus challenge!

Posted by Donna  | April 8, 2019 at 12:49PM | Reply

Completed my first focus block and adding them for the rest of the week.

Posted by Bill  | April 8, 2019 at 12:49PM | Reply

30 minutes each morning to plan my ministry strategy for the rest of the year.

Posted by Joe  | April 8, 2019 at 12:36PM | Reply


Posted by Steve  | April 8, 2019 at 12:31PM | Reply

I created my focus blocks.

Posted by Lelia Stephens  | April 8, 2019 at 12:31PM | Reply


Posted by David Hillam  | April 8, 2019 at 12:26PM | Reply

I’m in. Blocked 60 minutes reading time

Posted by Deleone  | April 8, 2019 at 12:25PM | Reply

I’m in! I created 90-minute spots in my calendar starting today and for the rest of the week to focus on tackling both books and other reading material on my reading list.

Posted by Adam  | April 8, 2019 at 12:13PM | Reply


Posted by KC  | April 8, 2019 at 12:13PM | Reply

I’ve added this new focus block to my calendar this week, and have looked ahead to see where a longer block could be added in upcoming days/weeks depending on next steps of this challenge!

Posted by Stacey  | April 8, 2019 at 12:11PM | Reply

Focused for 55 minutes on math study – got through a difficult patch. Feels great!

Posted by Josh  | April 8, 2019 at 12:08PM | Reply


Posted by Brad  | April 8, 2019 at 11:46AM | Reply


Posted by Lesley  | April 8, 2019 at 11:45AM | Reply

I created my focus blocks for the rest of the week, 60 minutes a day at the same time each day.

Posted by Jay  | April 8, 2019 at 11:41AM | Reply

I’ve blocked out 1 hour from 7:30am-8:30am to focus on working on my training program that I have been putting off to the side because of other things that come in.

Posted by Michel  | April 8, 2019 at 11:34AM | Reply

Created focus blocks for today and the rest of the week; 9 AM each morning.

Posted by Amy  | April 8, 2019 at 11:25AM | Reply


Posted by Gloria Thomas  | April 8, 2019 at 11:24AM | Reply

I’m in! I’m creating my focus time appointments in my calendar for this week right now!

Posted by Philipp  | April 8, 2019 at 11:19AM | Reply

I am in. Just created the Focus Blocks for the upcoming days.

Posted by elizabeth  | April 8, 2019 at 11:13AM | Reply

focus blocks outside the house where I can concentrate on reading and researching for a project… :)

Posted by Maarten  | April 8, 2019 at 11:09AM | Reply

Done! 90 minutes :-) per day!

Posted by Lisa  | April 8, 2019 at 11:08AM | Reply

Time blocked, and going to try using the Eisenhower chart to organize my running to do list in my bullet journal.

Posted by Batman  | April 8, 2019 at 11:05AM | Reply

Alright, stole back the 30 minutes I’ve been mindlessly scrolling social media when I first get up to instead be a dedicated focus block for myself (way better use of my time). Fingers crossed I stick to it! ;)

Posted by Jean-Luc  | April 8, 2019 at 10:58AM | Reply

I’m in! Created 6 block time for the upcoming days.

Posted by Craig  | April 8, 2019 at 10:55AM | Reply

30 minutes per day scheduled in as per the challenge. Looking forward to the next step.

Posted by a  | April 8, 2019 at 10:54AM | Reply

blocked off time all week for the big rock i never get to for me — writing. thank you for this challenge!

Posted by Craig  | April 8, 2019 at 10:54AM | Reply

30 minutes per day scheduled in as per the challenge

Posted by Janice  | April 8, 2019 at 10:54AM | Reply

Done. Writing in an appointment will make it happen.

Posted by Brian Laskey  | April 8, 2019 at 10:46AM | Reply

Done. I’m in

Posted by Erica  | April 8, 2019 at 10:44AM | Reply

Chiseled in 30 min. Focus Blocks for 7 am each morning. Looking forward to it!

Posted by Julie  | April 8, 2019 at 10:37AM | Reply

Finding my focused time first thing in the morning to make sure I’m on track for the day with the startup business I’ll be launching.

Posted by David  | April 8, 2019 at 10:33AM | Reply

I setup my todo list to include 3 focus items for today and then put everything else below the 3 focus items. I separated the everything else into two buckets – should do & if can. However, I stopped at adding no more than 10 items to the list (including my 3 focus items). I think this will help with focus for the day. Thanks for your help!

Posted by Paul  | April 8, 2019 at 10:30AM | Reply

Done! Looking forward to implementing better processes.

Posted by Jordan  | April 8, 2019 at 10:29AM | Reply

Just created focus blocks for the rest of the week. I am looking forward to them so that I can finish a project that keeps dragging on.

Posted by Patrick  | April 8, 2019 at 10:22AM | Reply

I’m in. Starting a bit late into the morning but blocking out time at lunch to refocus.

Posted by Amy  | April 8, 2019 at 10:22AM | Reply

Calendar has been blocked for the week. This should be interesting as I’ll be on vacation for the second half of the week with no normalcy to my schedule.

Posted by Lisa  | April 8, 2019 at 10:17AM | Reply

I scheduled 1 hour in the morning for exercise and 30 minutes for focus time shortly thereafter.

Posted by Sharon  | April 8, 2019 at 10:15AM | Reply

I have scheduled 30 minutes each evening during the week and 1 hour in the morning on Saturday and Sunday. I already had 30 minutes blocked out 5 mornings per week that is my exercise time.

Choosing the evening time pushes me to leave work on time. I have been working 60 to 70 hours per week for over two years. I need to stop doing that. If all these projects I get assigned are so important then they need to hire another person to take over some of my work or they can just wait. For the last few weeks I have cut my hours down to 40-50 and feel so much better even though I’m now playing catch up at home and in my business.

Posted by djk  | April 8, 2019 at 10:14AM | Reply


Posted by Sander  | April 8, 2019 at 9:58AM | Reply

Blocked time (partially commuting time).

Posted by Ralph Hershkowitz  | April 8, 2019 at 9:56AM | Reply

Normally my calendar gets booked with work related meetings automatically. As a result I find myself attending meetings that are not always the best use of my time. I have taken a very passive approach to my calendar which has basically given over the power of my time to others.
Booking a half hour everyday for focus has given me back some of that power and a sense of control. I see this is going to be a real paradigm shift!

Posted by Ben  | April 8, 2019 at 9:46AM | Reply

Recurring appointment set up on weekdays but I always struggle with weekends and actually sticking to my calendar. Let’s see if we can change that!

Posted by Cathy Moody  | April 8, 2019 at 9:43AM | Reply

Created a mini-quadrant to remind myself to make a quick decision about where the action falls, and more importantly, what time block to assign it to.

Posted by Tomasz  | April 8, 2019 at 9:42AM | Reply

I am in. Time blocks set for each day in the evening.

Posted by Kim Gray  | April 8, 2019 at 9:40AM | Reply

Blocking off an hour each morning for: coffee/gratitude/meditation/stretch and or exercises before dealing with 1 year old triplets as a 5 year old ;)

Posted by Umair  | April 8, 2019 at 9:35AM | Reply


Posted by Jo  | April 8, 2019 at 9:32AM | Reply

Dedicated 30 minutes each morning as a Focus Block for the next 5 days! Once it’s in my agenda, it has to be followed!

Posted by Elaine  | April 8, 2019 at 9:22AM | Reply

I work for a boss who creates constant chaos, and that’s why I am in for this challenge. Last week I actually asked his permission to not answer emails immediately upon receipt. That was a wake-up call!

I just blocked off an hour each morning on my calendar. He may have a fit at first but I have got to get control of the situation. I also blocked off another 30 minutes, but it is before he usually arrives so he probably won’t even notice ;-)

Posted by Jeremy Brown  | April 8, 2019 at 9:15AM | Reply

I have created focus blocks for the remaining exercises, and scheduled out time to work on the project that I am currently working on.

Posted by Jayne  | April 8, 2019 at 9:12AM | Reply


Posted by Jayne  | April 8, 2019 at 9:10AM | Reply

I am the worst at getting up mindfully and slowly 😂 I’m going to spend my focus block on reading a book I’ve been trying to finish for years (Viktorl Frankl’s ‘Man’s search for meaning’) – I just get so involved in the story that I need to take a breather. Here we go!

Posted by Marichris Sap  | April 8, 2019 at 9:04AM | Reply

I have set up my morning ritual which consisted of me exercising for at least an hour and dedicate 30 minutes in the evening cleaning out my “inbox” at my desk and/or phone.

Posted by Katie  | April 8, 2019 at 9:01AM | Reply

Done and done! (:

Posted by Mascha  | April 8, 2019 at 9:01AM | Reply

I created a 30 min. focus block for each morning during the rest of this week. Looking forward to this challenge! Let’s do this :-)

Posted by Carol  | April 8, 2019 at 9:00AM | Reply

Well, 1 hr focus blocks added as a recurring appointment, plus 30 min blocks for swimming before work. Unfortunately today I was really late for work so not a great start, but I will try to get on track

Posted by Bart  | April 8, 2019 at 8:58AM | Reply

I identified what I want to accomplish and blocked time every morning for 60 minutes. I called it FOCUS: to be reminded to Focus, but also to be reminded what my objective is each time I review my calendar.

I find the Big Rocks so true. Never thought about it in this context. In my OmniFocus I use the Eisenhower to determine what I need to work on, but to focus on those big rocks first it makes it much easier, once that’s out of the way your day is open to chip away smaller tasks, without the burden of that big rock hanging above your head :)

Great post, love it.

Posted by Megan  | April 8, 2019 at 8:52AM | Reply

I set up 30 minutes for myself to complete an online training I signed up for 3 months ago and haven’t started yet!

Posted by Deirdre  | April 8, 2019 at 8:50AM | Reply


Posted by Megan  | April 8, 2019 at 8:50AM | Reply

I just scheduled my focus block so I can make time for this online training I enrolled in 3 months ago but haven’t started yet!

Posted by Jonathan  | April 8, 2019 at 8:45AM | Reply

Focus blocks created. Slightly different times due to flying.

Posted by Corey  | April 8, 2019 at 8:45AM | Reply

I’ve added focus blocks to my calendar

Posted by Markus  | April 8, 2019 at 8:40AM | Reply

created focus blocks in my calendar for the next days and assigned tasks for tomorrows block

Posted by Crystal  | April 8, 2019 at 8:31AM | Reply

I calendared one hour of focus time in the morning for exercise, and 30 minutes in the evening for organizing.

Posted by Crystal  | April 8, 2019 at 8:28AM | Reply

I’ve calendared time focus blocks for the rest of this week, with one hour in the morning for exercise and 30 minutes in the evening for organizing.

Posted by Aneesh Ghosh  | April 8, 2019 at 8:20AM | Reply

Made 1 hour time Block in the evening for my most important tasks. I have heard of this quadrant concept before – excited to really implement in practice.

Posted by Mark  | April 8, 2019 at 8:19AM | Reply

Done and looking forward to a focused week

Posted by JT  | April 8, 2019 at 8:14AM | Reply

I created the focus blocks for the rest of the week at the same time each day. I’m already excited to fill them.

Posted by Aneesh Ghosh  | April 8, 2019 at 8:11AM | Reply

Created 1 hour time Block in the evening for my most important take and marked in the calendar.

I heard about this quadrant concept before – excited to implement this in practice.

Posted by Kay Rodriguez  | April 8, 2019 at 8:08AM | Reply

Just created my time blocks for the week first thing after my morning routing. Looking forward to the rest of the challenges!

Posted by Eric  | April 8, 2019 at 8:08AM | Reply

I created time tomorrow from 3-5pm. This is in addition to my regular block labelled ‘DW’ (for Deep Work) every Friday morning from 9am-12pm. That’s my standing appointment with myself to get focused work done (usually writing papers, grants, etc.)

Posted by Peter  | April 8, 2019 at 8:03AM | Reply

Time Block set for each day of the rest of the week, right after finishing my Morning Ritual.

Posted by Joe Leondike  | April 8, 2019 at 8:03AM | Reply

I have time blocked tomorrow for cleaning up/prep work. I am a doctoral student and our semester has ended. So now I am filing what is no longer needed, and preparing for the next semester. Plus take a bit of personal time to ‘sharpen my saw’.

Posted by Chris  | April 8, 2019 at 8:00AM | Reply

I added the focus blocks! My big goal this week is preparing for a company conference that’s in a month.

Posted by Babysteps  | April 8, 2019 at 7:59AM | Reply


Posted by Tamara  | April 8, 2019 at 7:55AM | Reply

Blocked in my focus time – used a different colour to the usual appointment one to make it stand out!

Posted by Greg Woodard  | April 8, 2019 at 7:55AM | Reply

I’ve put three focus blocks on my calendar. One in the morning, one in the mid afternoon and one in the mid evening, I also put an hour of exercise on three days this week.

Posted by Michael  | April 8, 2019 at 7:55AM | Reply

I set aside time tomorrow morning to cleanup my digital files and passwords.

I changed jobs recently and want to have a clear path going forward.

Posted by Karusha  | April 8, 2019 at 7:48AM | Reply

I am in. I am booking out time in the evening as the thing I want to work on is not business related.

Posted by Carmen  | April 8, 2019 at 7:45AM | Reply

Just created focus blocks for days 3, 4, and 5. I’m away at a conference but will be getting up a little earlier so I can do that first thing in the morning and not have to worry about fitting the time in later. Looking forward to using them!

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