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Focus Challenge Day 5: Creating Momentum

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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. 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

Would you choose to receive $3 million now or would you choose a dime that doubles each day and you receive the total amount in 31 days? Unless you know how much the dime is going to be worth in 31 days, you’d probably pick the $3 million.

The amount of the dime is going to be $107,374,182.40. You might have to wait for 31 days but it’s still a whole lot more than $3 million. Here’s the computation:

Penny Compound Effect

I love this analogy because it shows the power of the 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.

Exercise

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, starting 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.

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65 Comments

Posted by Marian Phillips  | April 15, 2019 at 12:54PM | Reply

Done and moving ahead with two projects,

Posted by Morgan  | April 14, 2019 at 9:49PM | Reply

Thanks for the focus!

Posted by Dojo Katie  | April 13, 2019 at 7:27PM | Reply

Done & dusted! Early morning writing blocks reinstated!

Posted by Kathy  | April 13, 2019 at 1:29PM | Reply

Done. Added journaling to record what I’m gleaning from these sessions to get more out of it.

Posted by Mark  | April 13, 2019 at 10:31AM | Reply

Done. Focus blocked booked and MIT completed for today.

Posted by Rob  | April 13, 2019 at 7:08AM | Reply

Planned. I start daily with journaling. This immediately gives structure to the day. Thank your for the challenge.

Posted by Isaak  | April 13, 2019 at 4:37AM | Reply

Done. Thanks for the 5-day focus challenge. Helped me re-focus on what is important to me.

Posted by Boukjan  | April 13, 2019 at 2:27AM | Reply

Done. Thanks for the focus challenge! A great way to reflect on your own behaviour and make changes.
Looking forwards to see the results on my changes in a few month.

Posted by Todd  | April 13, 2019 at 12:30AM | Reply

Done. Thanks.

Posted by Sophie  | April 13, 2019 at 12:11AM | Reply

Thank you! I’ve scheduled a 1-hour focus block 7:30-8:30 am every day next week.

Posted by Gloria Thomas  | April 13, 2019 at 12:00AM | Reply

I’m going to get in earlier to have more time for the deep work in the mornings.

Thanks for this week!

Posted by Joe  | April 12, 2019 at 10:36PM | Reply

Done.
Thanks.

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

Done! They are now an hour each day. But, I disagree with you as to when. First thing is absolutely *not* my most focused time of the day nor when I should take on the most important things for my business. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, trying different things, etc, and all I do is increase my frustration level (and beating myself up, adding more resistance, not less) if I try to force it for the morning. Instead, my best focused time is midday, through the afternoon, into the evening. My mornings, on the other hand, are spent doing more admin and organizational things, or reading or prof dev stuff. So, my focus block is not set for early afternoon every day. Thanks for this challenge this week and some eye-opening exercises!

Posted by Amy  | April 12, 2019 at 7:53PM | Reply

Thank you for this week of exercises. I’d certainly be interested in doing another one sometime.

Posted by Matt  | April 12, 2019 at 7:40PM | Reply

Done. I really have enjoyed the exercises this week. Valuable tools

Posted by Ann  | April 12, 2019 at 6:45PM | Reply

Thanks for these five days. Tomorrow will be review to see if I’ve done things correctly and this month promises to be progressive with this process.

Posted by Julie  | April 12, 2019 at 6:15PM | Reply

What a great week. Thank you!

Posted by Adam Hill  | April 12, 2019 at 5:57PM | Reply

Done – thanks!

Posted by Ian  | April 12, 2019 at 5:16PM | Reply

Done. I am doubling down on my commitment and going to spend an hour each day first thing at work focusing on my most important task!

Posted by Tomasz  | April 12, 2019 at 5:07PM | Reply

Done! It’s time to start real work :)

Posted by Eric  | April 12, 2019 at 4:53PM | Reply

Done – mostly. It’s really hard for me to repeat the focus block in the same place, due to conflicting meetings and other activities in that time. I had already blocked 9am-12pm on Fridays for my focused work (writing). I tried to find an additional 3 hours per week going forward, and block them in my calendar. I was able to do it on most weeks…

Posted by Lelia  | April 12, 2019 at 4:47PM | Reply

I have a 30 minute focus block built into my morning ritual that I will use to work towards my certifications. Then I have another 1 hour focus block scheduled either for later in the morning or in the afternoon depending on my work schedule for my MITs. I already get up at 4:00am so cannot push that back any further. My work hours vary so I cannot really set a consistent time each day. Thank you for this challenge-it has helped me!

Posted by Tor  | April 12, 2019 at 4:34PM | Reply

Thank you 🙏🏻

Posted by Andy  | April 12, 2019 at 4:12PM | Reply

Done. Thanks Marmel for leading the focus exercises this week!

Posted by Abhishek Thakur  | April 12, 2019 at 4:11PM | Reply

Blocked 1 hour 7-8 in the morning for working on some creative themes for photoshoots(40 mins) + Contacting creative artists & socialisation(20 mins). All for ONE thing, my photography business.

Posted by MIchael  | April 12, 2019 at 4:01PM | Reply

Thanks.
All week I’ve been doing my number one goal for the first 2.5 hours of the day.

Posted by a  | April 12, 2019 at 3:58PM | Reply

my most important thing, my frog eating moment, is daily 1hr of focused writing 8:30-9:30am. thank you for the week’s worth of exercises — they actually get to changing one’s personal outlook and help root the new habits more firmly. i also liked how these ideas were fresh compared to most productivity articles i read. thanks, AE!!

Posted by Rachelle  | April 12, 2019 at 3:48PM | Reply

I love to eat the frog every morning. I will add a time block at 8:00 sharp with nothing else getting my attention above that item! Thanks for this focus week!

Posted by Christian  | April 12, 2019 at 3:46PM | Reply

This is tremendously helpful. Might I also recommend the Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Small but consistent effort every day trumps short strong bursts of work. I will remember this while I schedule in extra time to work on my business alongside my day job.

Posted by Raymond Perez  | April 12, 2019 at 2:15PM | Reply

This is just what i needed.

Eating that Frog
I have to get this down.

Prioritizing the night before to make this happen.

Posted by Jayne  | April 12, 2019 at 1:52PM | Reply

I’m going to follow through on yesterday’s comment!

Posted by Alice  | April 12, 2019 at 1:38PM | Reply

This was kind of a challenging week to participate in the focus challenge, as I was running a week long fundraising campaign for a public radio station. But I fit it in! I’m adding my blocks for next week, and scheduling thinking time for this weekend.

Posted by Carmen  | April 12, 2019 at 1:37PM | Reply

So it turns out I am starting a book, thanks to the challenge!

All the blocks are in place, starting tomorrow, early in the morning.

I’ve been getting everything ready today right after reading this last challenge, so I have no excuses to just sit down and write tomorrow.

This is exciting!

Posted by Keith Weng  | April 12, 2019 at 1:30PM | Reply

Haha, already had standing 9am eat frog appt in calendar. Had a call I had to make to free to the future. Was scary but Delicious today!

Posted by Danielle W.  | April 12, 2019 at 1:14PM | Reply

Thank you for this 5 day Focus challenge. This was my first time doing anything like this and I really appreciate the quality of the content here!

Posted by Josh Matthews  | April 12, 2019 at 12:39PM | Reply

Handled! Looking forward to what this month will produce. THanks.

Posted by Michael J. Sweeney  | April 12, 2019 at 12:19PM | Reply

Marmel,

Great stuff. I look forward to following your work.

Have a nice weekend.

-mjs

Posted by Stacey Morris  | April 12, 2019 at 11:55AM | Reply

Done. Whew, focus blocks of one hour are REALLY productive and REALLY challenging for me.

Posted by Jean-Luc  | April 12, 2019 at 11:52AM | Reply

Done! next week is planned!

Posted by Steven Brown  | April 12, 2019 at 11:47AM | Reply

I love the message, and I love the point, but a penny is $0.01, and a dime is $0.10. So the math is off. (I am demonstrating why I never get a lot of projects off the ground. I wish I could not see math, spelling, or grammar errors in the world. That would save me a lot of time and preparation!)

Posted by Joe  | April 12, 2019 at 11:46AM | Reply

Done.

Just FYI, the “Compound Effect” section talks about starting with a penny ($0.01) but the table starts with a dime ($0.10) which is an order of magnitude difference.

Posted by Gizem  | April 12, 2019 at 11:39AM | Reply

I love the idea of eating my frog first thing in the morning but this round it is different. For many years my frog involved one work related project or another. Eating my frog when health is the top priority? This will be interesting!

Ok, I decided to use today’s focus time on meal planning and exercise planning for the week. DONE! And does it feel good!!

Thanks again!

Posted by Mark  | April 12, 2019 at 11:33AM | Reply

Done. Great exercise(s) and very useful week of challenges.

Posted by Deirdre  | April 12, 2019 at 11:00AM | Reply

I know this will work, I believe in eating the frog!

Posted by Aneesh Ghosh  | April 12, 2019 at 10:52AM | Reply

Done, loved this exercise. Thanks AE team for the weekly challenge!!

Posted by Noah  | April 12, 2019 at 10:04AM | Reply

I’m doubling my efforts and going to go through these exercises again to see what I can tackle next. I’ve got a plan in place to take care of my wellness and once I’m in a rhythm again I’ll look to see what else I can focus on. My “priority” is still my wellness and it will not take a backseat to anything else, but I’ll need something else to work on once this habit picks up momentum and starts compounding.

Posted by Joe L.  | April 12, 2019 at 9:55AM | Reply

This was great and helped me focus. Being intentional during this week has helped me focus. Thank you.

Posted by Alicia Ann Berberich  | April 12, 2019 at 9:52AM | Reply

Hi! Love all this! Check your example of the money. You started with ten cents and not a penny. Makes very small difference monetarily just did a double take looking at it!

Posted by PeterS  | April 12, 2019 at 9:42AM | Reply

Thank you for this 5 Days Focus Challenge.

I hope to get as far with these advices as in the 1 penny example. That would be “Focus at Warp Speed”.

All the best and good luck.

Posted by Katie  | April 12, 2019 at 9:36AM | Reply

Well it definitely means moving my wake up time, but I agree doing things in the morning is best!

Posted by Ben  | April 12, 2019 at 9:31AM | Reply

Looks like it’s a 5:45am wakeup then!

Posted by Dennis  | April 12, 2019 at 9:31AM | Reply

Also done. I blocked off an hour initially 5x per week, so it’s already making a difference. Thanks for these exercises.

Posted by Sanjay  | April 12, 2019 at 9:14AM | Reply

Done. Added a half hour block in the morning on weekdays and 1 hour on the weekends for the next 4 weeks.

Posted by Emily  | April 12, 2019 at 9:11AM | Reply

Done! This challenge has provided me with clarity on what I should be working on to get where I want to be, instead of dividing my efforts among too many things. Thank you for running this challenge! Much appreciated.

Posted by Michael Porter  | April 12, 2019 at 8:45AM | Reply

Done, upped my focus block to 1 hour each weekday

Posted by Tony  | April 12, 2019 at 8:37AM | Reply

Done! I love it. I’m moving on my most important task and I’ve been putting it off and putting it off because it seemed to overwhelming. Thank you for the push!

Posted by Steve Hall  | April 12, 2019 at 8:35AM | Reply

Awesome timing. I was in the process of thinking about what to focus on for my next 12 Week Year and this has helped massively!

Thank you :)

Posted by PeterS  | April 12, 2019 at 8:33AM | Reply

Thank you for this 5 Day Focus Challenge.

I am very curious where I will get in the next 31 days. I hope it gets me as far as the 1 penny example. Would be just great!!!

Posted by Erica  | April 12, 2019 at 8:33AM | Reply

Done. Thank you.

Posted by Markus  | April 12, 2019 at 8:29AM | Reply

Done. This has been a Great challenge. Thanks!

Posted by Kay R  | April 12, 2019 at 8:25AM | Reply

Done! I am already doing this for the most part, but I am moving it earlier in the day so I have more time to work on my research writing.

Posted by Brian Webb  | April 12, 2019 at 8:12AM | Reply

Done. This has been an awesome 5 days of focus training. Thank you!

Posted by Mascha  | April 12, 2019 at 8:05AM | Reply

Yes. I got started! I created a list of subjects for the online course that I want to develop. It makes me quite eager to get started on each of these subjects. So I planned 1 hour timeblocks each morning to work on them. Let’s do this!💪🏻

Posted by Sharon  | April 12, 2019 at 7:50AM | Reply

This has really helped me focus on what my next step is. I often have so much to do that I have trouble prioritizing my tasks and will instead do a little of this and a little of that. I eventually get everything done but it is frustrating because I often take a long time to finish something.

Posted by KC  | April 12, 2019 at 7:45AM | Reply

Done! Added these blocks to each morning — 2x week 1 hour, 3x week 2 hours. That fits best with my other time blocks and commitments. Good luck everyone!

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