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Stop Getting the Wrong Things Done

Free to Focus

THERE IS a counterintuitive mindset behind Michael Hyatt’s productivity system. Productivity is not about doing more faster. Rather it’s about achieving more by doing less as a result of focusing on getting the right things done. It’s about what you are not doing.

We undermine our potential when we try to do everything. The goal of productivity and the foundation of the Free to Focus system is to free you to pursue what’s most important to you. It’s about freedom. Freedom to focus, Freedom to be present. Freedom to be spontaneous. Freedom to do nothing.

To that end, Michael Hyatt presents in Free to Focus, 9 actions grouped into 3 steps.


To start, you must stop. Step back and ask yourself, “Should I be doing this at all?” Reflect on your objectives and why they matter.

Formulate: What do you want your life to look like? What matters to you most. “Productivity should ultimately give you back more time, not require more of you.” Freedom is the goal. What does that look like for you?

Evaluate: Where are you now? What should you be doing? It’s time to separate the valuable activities from your busy work. Evaluate what you do and could do based on two key criteria: passion and proficiency. You’re happiest doing things that you are good at, and you love doing. There are four zones of productivity that we typically operate in: the Drudgery Zone, Disinterest Zone, Distraction Zone, and the Desire Zone.

Freedom Compass

The desire zone is where your passion and proficiency intersect and where you can make the greatest contribution. Obviously, this is where you want to be functioning most of the time. Hyatt adds a fifth zone called the Development Zone. This is an area where you are passionate about and developing a proficiency, or passionate about but not yet proficient. We need to evaluate all of our tasks and place them in the appropriate zone.

Rejuvenate: Make time to rejuvenate. We can increase the energy we direct at our why when we sleep, eat right, move, connect, play, reflect, and unplug.


Eliminate: Every yes contains a no. Time is a zero-sum game. Ask yourself, “What will I have to give up in order to say yes to this opportunity? or Will saying no to this allow me to say yes to something better?” “By cutting away the nonessentials, you create space, for the things that really matter to flourish.”

Automate: This step is not just about using technology more effectively; it’s about creating routines that you don’t need to think about, creating templates and processes. “If you ever find yourself thinking, There has got to be an easier way to do this, you should always assume there is. Then go find it.”

Delegate: Should I be doing this job at all? Tasks in your Drudgery and Disinterest Zones should be delegated. The items in your Distraction Zone may be harder to let loose of since you enjoy them even though you are not the most proficient at them. Better to give them over to someone who can do them much better. If you have more than you can handle in your Desire Zone, you should look at delegating some of those too. Sometimes it is faster just to do it yourself, but “most tasks are not one-time occasions. So, while delegation does, in fact, take more time on the front end, it will save you an enormous amount of time every instance after that.”


Consolidate: Harness the power of MegaBatching. “MegaBatching enables me to focus for an extended period on a single project or type of activity, churning out a ton of work quickly and with much higher quality because I’m less distracted. In those dedicated blocks of time, I truly am free to focus on the thing that matters most at that moment.”

Designate: Decide what needs to be done now and what can be done later. It’s a matter of designing your week, and Hyatt outlines six steps to make that happen. Plan your ideal week. Designate the what and when of your week and day.

Activate: Anything that takes our attention away “subtracts value from us and gives it to someone else—e.g., a coworker or an advertiser. Limit instant communications by turning off your notifications. Set boundaries by letting people know in advance that you are going offline for a period of time to focus. Use technology to block technology. Listen to the right background music. Take charge of your day.

Free to Focus is one of the best books you will read in order to take control of your life. You will find downloadable tools for each step of the process.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:59 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Personal Development



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